Do you outline your posts before you start writing?
If yes, good for you! You’ve already discovered how helpful it is. If not, then it’s a good practise to start doing it. It offers you a lot of benefits.
Let me give you some details on it and tell you how to write a blog post outline and how you can benefit from it.
How Outlining Your Posts Helps You
Here is why I love outlining my posts:
1. Keeping the Flow Going
First of all, if you write the outline, you define the general flow of your article. You know already where you want to end up and how to get there. That helps your posts make more sense and not be a big mess of thoughts all over each other.
2. Staying on Point
Trying to write a post without having an outline can lead you to a lot of different outcomes. Just think of a conversation you have with a friend. You may start talking about a movie you watched yesterday and end up talking about the idiot who messed up your day today. Next time, you may start again talking about a movie again and end up talking about vacation next summer.
Blogging is a conversation. There may not be a second person around here, but you write your thoughts and you also try to respond to questions the other person has. So, if you don’t define every step on the way to the end, you never know when you’ll end up.
3. Writing Gets Easier
Since you have paved the way, you already know what to write in each part of your post. You can’t get stuck and don’t know what to write anymore. All you have to do is follow the outline.
This is why I believe that outlining is actually more difficult than the actual writing. And the good is that it’s like you have to write lots of smaller articles than a big one.
How To Make An Outline
Let’s see then how to make an outline for your next post:
1. Pick a Topic
First of all, you have to pick a topic for your post. If you have no idea what to write next, here are some ideas.
2. Create an Awesome Title
Now, it’s time to find a great title for your post. Don’t forget that if you want people to choose your post between 10 others they see on the search results, you need an awesome title!
3. Decide the Questions
Now, it’s time to decide the questions you want to answer for your readers. Depending on the topic, sometimes you’ll have a lot of questions to answer, sometimes, not so many.
If you find it difficult to find some, try the 5W.
You’re allowed to add “How”, too – even if it doesn’t start with w. 😛
For example, let’s say you’ll be writing about growing an apple tree. Here are some possible questions you can answer for your readers:
- Who needs to grow an apple tree?
- What are the benefits of growing apple trees?
- Why eating apples from your own tree is better than buying from a grocery store?
- Where can you grow an apple tree?
- When can you plant apple seeds?
- How can you take care of an apple tree?
Try it! You’ll be amazed by how fast you’ll find questions with this little trick.
4. Decide the Sections
Now, it’s time to find the sections for your article.
Based on the questions you found, decide on the questions you’ll include in your article. Usually, it’ll be all of them, but sometimes, you can’t find a place for all of them, because they don’t fit well in the flow.
Then decide on the sections you want to break the article into. Make sure the flow is a good one so that it makes sense to move from one section to another.
Create a headline for each section and make sure it represents the section it describes. Either literally or figuratively.
5. Break the Sections into Parts/Steps
If necessary, break some of the sections into more pieces.
For example, if a section is about the reasons you should grow an apple tree, you can break this section into a list. If it’s a guide on how to plant an apple tree, you can break this section into steps.
Create a headline for each of these subsections, as well.
6. Put an Order
Make sure that the sections and the subsections are in an order that makes sense. This is an important step because it’ll make writing easier and the article more understandable for your readers.
7. Write the Conclusion
Write the conclusion or at least, write what you want to have on it. Don’t worry about details, just try to highlight what is the one thing you want your readers to remember from this article.
Also, if you know where you want to end up, it’s be easier to go there while you’re writing.
8. Start Writing!
And now, the next step: the writing!
As soon as you finish your outline, start writing. You get a lot of ideas about how you want your article to be while writing the outline. Don’t leave these ideas to get lost. Start filling the blanks of your outline as soon as you can. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect; you have time for editing later, after all.
Now, just try to write down everything you want to be in this article.
So this is my guide on outlining your blog posts. I hope you find it as useful as I do. It really helps me write better than before!
Let me know what you think about outlining and, if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer! Any suggestions are always welcome, so tell me about topics you’d like me to write.
And if you liked this, check out more tips you can use.
See you next time!