written by Bonnie Chomica
How to Create a Blog Outline to Write Easier, Faster, Better
Most people are challenged by writing. How about you?
You can’t find the time. You think it’s too difficult. Or, maybe you’re not sure how to go about it.
Marketing is all about using the right words in the right place at the right time. So, writing has to be an essential part of your marketing efforts. It’s how you represent your business, your brand, yourself.
Today, you’ll discover how using an Outline can help you to organize your thoughts, and narrow your focus on what you need to write.
When you sit down to write without a plan, there is a good chance that your random thoughts will not present a cohesive message. Having an outline helps organize your thoughts so that you have a logical flow to your content. It will keep you on track so that you can write with focus.
With an outline, it’s easier to write because now you have a plan to follow. Although you have to take time to create the outline, it actually helps you to write faster, because you’ll know what you’re writing about. And, with a focus on your message, you will become a better writer, too.
Following is the basic structure for a Blog Post Outline. I will use a blog post format as an example, but writing of any kind can benefit from this process. e.g. emails, brochures, website content, speeches, slide packs, reports, etc.
Steps to Create a Blog Outline
We’ll start with the various components:
- Intro to Main Topic
- Sub Headlines & sub ideas
- Call to Action
- Supporting Information
Now let’s break down each section with a simple explanation.
A good headline is what attracts people to read your stuff and by creating a headline first, it will give you focus for your writing. Both a science and pure magic, headline writing takes lots of practice. Don’t sweat it if you’re just starting out. Write what seems logical or compelling to you.
Consider using benefits, creating curiosity, is there a limited time, is this a list of some sort. Headlines and Subject Lines (for emails) are something you should continually study.
There are endless books and blog posts and free downloads to help you learn the various techniques.
It’s a good idea to keep a Swipe File of headlines that attract your attention. What makes you click to read something further? Keep a list and note the language that attracted you. Start to study the secret techniques of headline creation and implement them as you grow your blog readership.
Although a headline can be the attention grabber, in our social media lives it is often the compelling image that attracts us to read the post. This is particularly true on mobile devices.
Be careful to use images free of copyright. Use sites like Pixabay, Pexels, or Unsplash to search for interesting photos that will complement your written content. These sites all have free images with no copyright restrictions.
3. Introduction to Main Topic
Each blog post should be about one main topic and then sub ideas to support the main topic. Besides being easier to write about just one clear idea, it makes it much easier for your reader to stick with your post to the end, and absorb your message.
For example, this blog post’s main topic is about how to create a blog outline. It does not explain what content to write about, or how to write subject lines, or where to distribute your blog. We are focused on ‘the blog outline structure’.
Consider if you are answering a common question, or providing a solution to a problem. You don’t need to write out the whole introduction at this stage of the writing process, but be completely clear of what your Main Blog Topic is.
4. SubTopics and SubHeadlines
To make it easy for your reader to scan your post (most won’t read word for word), you create white space to break up all those words you’re writing. Subheadings can do that and your subtopics expand on and reinforce what you are writing about.
- Determine 3 sub ideas that complement your main topic. Is there a process to define? Are there different categories that need to be explained? You can use more than 3 but 3 is often the maximum for people’s attention span.
- These sub ideas help to organize your message into bite-size pieces that are easier to read.
- If your post is quite long (i.e. over 800-1000 words), it is a good idea to intersperse the text with more images. The images should fit the sub-topic they are inserted near.
After spelling out your main topic and subtopics, you need to wrap up what you’ve been writing about. This signals to the reader that they are near the end of the post. By summarizing what they just read reinforces your message and helps it to sink in more.
A great idea is to include a benefit statement – for example, if you’ve been providing some tips about something, tell them how they’ll benefit if they do all these tips/actions.
For purposes of your Blog Outline, just jot down the benefit. When you do the actual writing, you will provide a complete summary.
6. Call to Action
The final and most important section is the Call to Action. Based on the content of your post, what do you want your reader to do next?
Consider why you wrote this post. You are likely positioning yourself as an expert in a niche, topic, or certain area.
A Call to Action can be many things. Some examples:
- Contact us for help with this topic
- Book a free consult to get started with this topic
- Register for this workshop on this topic
- Get your free guide on this topic
Each Call to Action should have a link to take the reader to the next step. That could be your Contact Page on your website, event registration page, landing page for email collections, etc.
For your Blog Outline, you don’t need all the details, but putting a Call to Action can help you write with focus on what you want the outcome to be for someone reading.
TIP: Only have one call to action. If you provide too many choices, they won’t select any.
Take the opportunity to lead them closer to a sale with a well thought out call to action.
7. Supporting Info
Once your outline is done and before you are ready to write, you can also identify any other supporting material, images, links that will support your message. Gather them before writing, so it doesn’t interfere with your writing process.
- Resources links
- Videos explanations
- Articles or media coverage
And that’s how to write a blog outline to help you make your writing easier and faster. Your ideas will flow better with a plan for your post, email, or other writing projects.
Like anything, this will take some practice, and each outline will not be exactly as I’ve detailed in this post, but it is a great foundation from which to start. Each time you use it you will get better and so will your writing.
If you struggle with your writing, or would appreciate feedback and guidance on how to improve your marketing communications skills, I’d be happy to mentor you. Book a free 15-minute discovery call and we’ll discuss your options to grow your marketing and writing skills.