What if one quick trick made your writing process much easier?
Blogging is one of the most rewarding kinds of writing. It allows you to write about what you are passionate about and reach audiences all over the world.
At the same time, it can be difficult to just “wing it” while you write. The best blog post, then, is built on top of a good blog post outline.
Wondering how to create such an outline? Keep reading to discover our comprehensive guide!
A Working Title
Before you can go any further, you need some kind of title. Specifically, you need a working title.
The working title generally defines what the whole thing is about. It may be a little rough at this point. However, you’ll have time to revise it later to make it more attention-getting and SEO optimized.
Part of why the working title is so important is that it helps you work out the value proposition of your article. Because there are so many blog articles out there, it’s important to understand what makes your different, relevant, and valuable before you start writing.
For some writers, this part of the outline starts much earlier. By writing down good ideas whenever you think of them, you can quickly amass a notebook full of good working titles.
The next step in the outline process is arguably the most important. Unfortunately, it is also the most misunderstood.
That’s because plenty of bloggers think back to their schooldays and the kinds of outlines their teachers wanted. However, those methods are usually a bit more complex for the brainstorming stage.
For example, some teachers taught an outline method where you wrote down an idea in a little circle and then wrote down supporting ideas extending from those circles. Other teachers preferred a formal outline of Roman numerals that clearly outlined your main points, subpoints, and so on.
You’ll quickly discover two key problems when you try to brainstorm like this for blogs. The first is that you may end up with too much content spread across very long sections. Remember, what works well to help you write a 10-page paper may be way too much to help you write a 500-word blog post.
The other problem is that both of these methods force you to organize while you brainstorm. Organization should be a separate step. For initial brainstorming, you just need to write down all of the questions you want to answer and all of the main arguments you wish to make.
Organize Into Sections
Pure brainstorming often looks pretty chaotic on paper. You’ll have a bunch of different ideas in no particular order on the page. That’s why the next step involves organizing them.
Let’s say you’re writing a post about “How to Improve SEO Today.” Your brainstorming might have several ideas, including using alt tags, naming images, and adding captions.
Instead of treating those as separate sections, you can organize them all under a subheader entitled “Images and SEO.” This is the basis of all blog outline organization: gathering your assorted ideas and creating the distinct subheaders that will organize all of them.
Flesh Out Those Sections
Once you’ve organized everything, you’ll probably notice a problem. Some of your subheader sections have more than others.
That’s why the next step involves fleshing out certain sections. This is like a focused brainstorming session where you come up with more ideas for a handful of otherwise undeveloped sections.
Remember, there is no rule that says that every section has to contain the same number of ideas. At the same time, though, your blog will flow better if sections have a similar length.
Before fleshing out sections, you’ll need to make the call about how substantial these ideas are. If you have as much to say about one point under this subheader as you do about three points under another subheader, then you may not need to flesh anything out.
The Revision Process
Your next step is the revision process. We’ll be honest: many bloggers skip this step, and it shows in the poor quality of their work.
The revision process is your chance to be brutally honest as well. Take a look at your sections and identify if any of them are weak, redundant, and/or off-topic.
It’s possible to go back to the drawing board and flesh out something that still seems weak. But it’s perfectly acceptable to cut out a weak point and focus on your stronger ones.
The reason many bloggers struggle with this is that it means being honest about your ideas. And the honest truth is that some ideas are better than others. Figure out what won’t resonate with your audience and remove it.
Back That Point Up
If you didn’t already do so in the brainstorming or organizing stage, you should find some research and links to support what you are saying in your blog. There are two main reasons you should do this.
The first is that your readers will develop more trust for what you have to say. The research shows the world that you’ve done your homework and aren’t just spouting off opinions.
The second is that authoritative links actually help the SEO of your blogs. So if you really want new readers to discover your work, adding authoritative links is a must!
Add Some Tips for “Future You”
Our last tip is simple, and you can skip it if you go right from outline to writing. But if you’re writing an outline for a future blog, you should add some final tips to make writing easier for “future you.”
Maybe you want to pencil in some reminders about jokes you’d like to make. Or maybe you want to put in links for other articles that served as inspiration for your ideas.
Basically, jot down anything now that will help you write the best possible article later.
Blog Post Outline: The Final Word
Now you know how to craft a blog post outline. But do you know how to share your thoughts with the world?
At iWriter, we empower writers to get paid while doing what they do best. To get started, come complete the Writer Application today!