How to Write a Blog Post Outline for Superior Content [With Bonus Outline Example]

September 28, 2020

Every CMO wants to see measurable results from their content marketing efforts. And Bill Gates had very good reasons when he said that “content is king.”

High-quality content can increase your website traffic and bring you up to a 70% increase in website visibility.

That is if you know how to do it right.

If you don’t want to bury yourself in Google Search, you better polish up your content writing.

Yet, killer content needs a killer outline. When a writer creates an outline first, the article always comes out better.

Now, ready yourself! Here are some ideas on how to write a blog post outline so your content comes out nothing short of superior.

Identify the User Intent

When you’re outlining a blog post, remember to think about the user intent.

“User intent describes what a user is looking for when they conduct a search query.”

Crazyegg.com

Want to create content that converts? Think about the search query a user would type in to find your topic and understand the user intent behind it.

This will give you an insight into what subtopics to cover in a given article.

Consequently, you’ll be able to answer the searcher’s actual queries. This is huge! Because, it doubles the odds your article, once written, will drive conversion.

Narrow Down Your Blog Post Topic to One Big Idea

To write a blog post that makes sense, you need to whittle down the ideas you have for an article to one focal point. That’s your Big Idea.

It’s the glue that’s keeping your main ideas together. 

To come up with your Big Idea, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to make the main takeaway of the article?
  • Do I want to add some extra value to the article?
  • How can a product I’m selling help resolve the issues within the topic?

These questions can help you bring the message home to your readers clearly and concisely.

To illustrate, we’re sharing an example created by our in-house writers. Here’s our Big Idea for an article about the most popular LMS choices among companies today.

Big idea: Highlight top LMSs in the market today

Easy, right?

Come Up With Your Main and Supporting Ideas

What’s the first thing that pops to mind when you think about writing an outline? The all-familiar list of ideas arranged into sub-heads and supporting bullet points, right?

Frankly, that’s all there is to it.

A little bit of organization will help you move past the awkward ground zero phase. Everyone that’s ever laid eyes on it knows how scary the white paper can be.

So, come up with your main ideas for the article and then use supporting ideas to prove your point.

Let’s say you’re writing an article about workplace distractions. You might want to write your content around two major categories:

  • Why Employers Should Address Workplace Distractions
  • How to Reduce Workplace Distractions and Increase Overall Team Productivity

These are your main ideas, or your sections, if you will. Now, expanding on those ideas is next on your agenda. For your first section, you might want to touch upon the benefits of limiting distractions in the workplace:

  • Increased productivity
  • Higher engagement
  • Better talent retention
  • Emerging leaders

Now, moving on with your second section, you can choose to shortlist some strategies to help mitigate workplace distractions. For example:

  • Handle One Project at a Time
  • Introduce New Learning
  • Create a Corporate Culture of Purpose
  • Watch Those Emails
Blog post layout

Source: CoSchedule

Take Notes as You Write Your Blog Post Outline

The mere fact that writing an outline takes some time to do will put some writers off immediately. But that’s because they’re clueless about how useful they can be in helping them surface as writers with a distinctive voice.

Your unique writing voice often gets buried under the piles and piles of research work.

That’s exactly why you want to take notes when you’re outlining your post. It’s the sole effective way to end up with a piece of content with some character.

Jot down any fun anecdotes you came up with in the outlining phase. Anything that springs to mind and is too good to be lost in the nooks and crannies of your mind.

Review Your Outline

Okay, now you have an outline for your blog post, right? Well, not exactly.

You want to review the work you’ve done so far.

Edit anything that looks fishy. Look for any sequence inconsistencies, redundancies or knowledge gaps.

Your content should ooze credibility. So, look for relevant research to support your claims.

According to the Syracuse University study, people search for “insightful” content on blogs they find credible. Creating opinion pieces that include in-depth content and expert analysis will help you establish credibility for your blog.

Learn From Others: Your Blog Post Outline Example

Now, below is the example you can use as your blog post outline template. Dish it out to your team to help improve their content writing.

Target audience: Learning and development professionals, Business owners & HR

Big idea: Highlight top LMSs in the market today

Search intent: I’d like to know which LMSs have the best reviews and their features.

Introduction

Connect with the target audience. Highlight the many LMSs available today and how they make it difficult to choose the right LMS.

Answer the audience’s question – World Manager is the most popular LMS, here’s why:

  • It’s an award-winning platform that allows users to not only train their employees but to streamline communications and track compliance
  • Customizable
  • Engaging
  • Mobile friendly
  • SCORM compliant
  • Manages the employee’s life cycle

Highlight some of the companies whose businesses have been transformed since they’ve adopted World Manager.

Other Popular LMSs in the Market Today

SAP Litmos

  • Easy to use content creation tools that support multiple formats
  • eCommerce features allow you to integrate Shopify and create a storefront for your courses
  • Built-in survey tools for employee feedback

TalentLMS

  • Encourages file downloads and offline use due to native iOS and Android apps
  • Content interoperability allows for easy course management
  • Communication and admin tools such as video conferencing, discussion groups and calendar allow for blended learning

Docebo

  • Uses AI to personalize learning paths
  • Uses gamification to incentivize learning
  • Easy integration of third-party applications

Your Next Step

Now you know how to write a blog post outline that results in superior content. And there’s nothing that can boost your content marketing results more than that. Getting your content writers to mold their ideas into concise, persuasive pieces will add weight to your blog.

So, use the outlining tips above and make sure to share our blog post outline with your team. Watch them as they chisel away at their outlining skills. Because you’ll be watching your content evolve.

Photo by Uihere / CC BY

 

 
Author: Katrina McKinnon

We create and amplify content for SaaS, Enterprise, Startups and You. Attract and engage your audience with our content marketing service. Get in touch

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