How to Write a Blog Post Outline: A Simple Formula to Follow

October 05, 2020

By gsoskey@hubspot.com (Ginny Mineo)

What makes a blog post bad?

There are lots of reasons a blog post could be less-than-perfect. Poor formatting. Poor grammar. Poor word choice. Poor shareability.

The most pervasive problem? Poor flow. The post jumps from one idea to the next to the next and then circles around again for a split second to the first idea, then back to the fourth, and so on. Or the post reads like a stream of consciousness — but it wasn’t a stylistic choice.

Luckily, you have a simple solution. Before diving headfirst into writing your post, you can create an outline.

I’m not talking about jotting down a few quick bullet points — even experienced writers can go astray with just a few talking points. I’m talking a fully fleshed-out outline with enough details that make it virtually impossible for your writing to go off the deep end. And it’s pretty easy to do.

Below is my method for outlining posts and organizing my thoughts. You may prefer to switch up some of the steps depending on your writing style, but your end goal should always be to get an outline detailed enough that its result is a cohesive, logical piece. Here’s one way you can do that.

1. Nail your working title.

This is the most important step of this entire process. You want to have a clear understanding of what you’re going to write before you start outlining.

My colleague Corey wrote an awesome post about how to pick a great working title. Go read it, now. I won’t go too much into the weeds here (that’s why you should read her post), but a great working title is specific. It’s “How to Use Images to Generate Leads on Twitter,” not ” Twitter lead generation.”

Spend time getting your working title to something specific and easy to tackle in a blog post format — but don’t waste time getting nitpicky. You can refine your title later. The goal here is to have a title that gives you a very clear idea of what the whole piece is about. You can make it sound catchy later.

2. Write down as many distinct takeaways from the article as you can.

Next, you get to brain dump. Write down all the things you want your readers to get out of the article. These won’t always be the main sections of your article — it’s just all the things you want your readers to know by the end of reading your post.

This is the only time in the whole process you’re not worried about organization — just let your ideas flow naturally. You need to get out all of your wild and crazy ideas now so they won’t muck up your post later in the process.

Let’s use the previous example to show you what I mean. If my working title was “How to Use Images to Generate Leads on Twitter,” I’d probably …read more

Source:: HubSpot Blog

      

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