When writing a blog post you can either start at the top and work your way down, risking that you go off on all sorts of tangents. Or you can be more strategic about it and outline your blog posts. Outlining will take your blogging to the next level.
Advantages of outlining
One of the advantages of outlining is that it speeds things up. Once you know what you are going to write about, the writing tends to flow more easily. You’re less likely to get stuck, because you have gone off on a tangent.
An outline can make it easier to stick to (or reach) a certain word count. If you know what your sections are in advance, you can keep them to a certain length, helping you to achieve the overall length you were aiming for.
If you’re outlining your work beforehand, you will also find it easier to reorganise your article to create the best possible flow of ideas.
A good way to outline your blog post
So, what’s a good way to outline your blog post? Here is my own favourite strategy:
- Start with a working title
I always recommend starting with a rough idea of your title. Its main purpose is to keep you on track. Craft your proper headline when you’re finished so you can create the perfect title for your article rather than shoehorning your article into a title.
- Come up with your main points
Next, decide what your main points are. Ideally, you’ll have 3 or 5 or 7 of them. A small, uneven number tends to work well as it is an easily digestible number of ideas to present and to understand.
- Write a compelling opening
Now that you know what you’re going to write about, you can craft a persuasive lead paragraph to get the reader drawn into your content.
- Fill in the gaps
Expand your section headings with content, explaining your steps and presenting your arguments. This is where you put the “meat onto the bones”.
- Write a strong conclusion
Finish off with a punchy conclusion and a compelling Call to Action (CTA). A CTA is anything you want the reader to do next. Do you want them to read another related article, share your post to social media, visit another page on your website? Pick only one. This makes it easier for your readers to do what you’re asking.
- Craft an attention-grabbing headline from your content
Now you’re ready to create that amazing headline. Make sure your article keeps the promise that your headline makes.
- Proof read
A key part of blogging is making sure that everything is correct. Facts, spelling and grammar – all must be spot on. Your reputation is at stake here.
Over to you
Are you outlining your writing? If not, give it a go and let me know in the comments whether it’s made a difference to your blog posts.
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