Bad blog posts are definitely not far and few between. We’ve all opened up an Odyssey post or two and noticed that the writer didn’t even take a spare minute to review their work.
Luckily, I’m here to give you the end all be all of tips: write an outline.
I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been asked to write an outline, nor the last. I have to admit that they can be a little bit annoying and a lotta bit tedious, but you’ve just got to put your head down and do it. That little bit of time up front will definitely pay off in the long run.
#1) Find a place and time to outline
Pictured above is my absolute favorite coffee shop from back home in Texas called Redefined. Finding a great place to work is a key step that is so often overlooked! Everyone is different. While some writers find that staying up late and sitting in their bed works for them, others couldn’t spend a single second working this way. In this case, perhaps spending the morning at a coffee shop would be better. Figure out what works for you, then do it.
#2) Come up with a great title
Before you do anything, you need to decide what you’re writing about. You can always revisit the title later, but it is vital to have a clear idea of what your piece is going to be about.
Coming up with what to write about can be quite the struggle. You need to come up with a topic that you care about that will also appeal to the target audience you have in mind. Brainstorming with a friend can be a great way to start this process. When brainstorming, come up with broad topics like “How to Make Money on Social Media,” then think about the goal of the post, then think about what would look great on social media! Change it to something like “5 Tips for Solopreneurs to Make Money on Pinterest.” You got this!
#3) Write down takeaways
The next step is to start writing. Get down all your jumbled thoughts and ideas onto paper. These should be all of things that you want your reader to know by the end of your post. This does not have to be organized! Just get your ideas down on the paper – don’t worry about them being all over the place right now. This should just be a working document – try making a bullet point list!
If you wanted to write a blog post about tips for making money on Pinterest, you could say:
- What social media should they have
- What kind of camera should they use
- How long should the articles be
- Can you use Pinterest on a computer and phone
- How often should you post
- Do you connect social media
- What results should they expect
- How many pictures should be in a post
It is okay if they are all over the place!
#4) Start to fill in holes
Your next step is to think about your list and place each idea into sections. Ginny Soskey compares this to sorting laundry. You should come up with a few big themes and place the bullets under each overarching theme. When sorting, you might realize that you have some gaps under each theme. This will remind you that you need to start developing each idea that you have. You can also add reminders at this stage so you don’t forget anything!
At this point, all you have is a messy list. Start thinking about what you missed and add reminders about things you don’t want to forget.
- How to create a Pinterest account and start getting attention
- Crafting the perfect posts
- What camera to use
- How many pictures to use
- How long should the article be
- Measuring your Success
- What results should they expect
- How to find them in analytics
- How to adjust to get better results
Basically, just organize further and go a bit more detailed.
#5) Edit + Final Details
Now it comes down to the nitty gritty – the editing process. Consider having someone look over your work and analyze how it will look with the rest of your content before you publish it.
Remember final details like links you want to include, pictures you took on your trip, or puns that you’ve thought of!
You’re finally ready to get going! Now, the process should be a breeze.
Soskey, Ginny. “How to Write a Blog Post Outline: A Simple Formula to Follow.” How to Write a Blog Post Outline: A Simple Formula to Follow. 5 May 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.