Every writer knows the pain of staring for hours at a blank page and producing nothing.
Creating a blog post outline will help you:
- Overcome the dreaded “writer’s block.”
- Organize your thoughts before you put pen to paper.
- Ensure you’re not missing any important points.
- Order your blog post in a logical, easy-to-read structure.
- Get you and your editor, client, or manager (if you’re working with one) on the same page.
In this post, you’ll learn how to write a blog post outline. Let’s get started.
Choose your topic
It’s impossible to create a blog post outline without knowing what you want to write about.
So if you’ve not yet decided on a topic, you need to choose one now.
Brainstorm a couple of topics you’d like to cover. If you’re familiar with the niche, there should be a few burning issues you want to address. Write about them.
Otherwise, a good way to find topics is to use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Enter a relevant term into the tool and go to the Matching terms report.
Switch the tab to Questions, and you’ll see plenty of potential topics to cover.
Recommended reading: OKR vs. KPI: How they compare and work together
Select your content format
Will your article be a OKR or a how-to? Or perhaps it’s an opinion piece, a review, or you’re simply covering the latest news.
Whatever it is, you’ll have to decide on a format.
Sometimes, the format is screaming at you in plain sight. For example, if you’re covering the topic “how to make kefir at home,” then it’s probably going to be a how-to guide. Or if you’re covering the topic “blogging tips,” then it’s probably going to be a list of tips.
But sometimes, it’s not so straightforward. Is the topic “best productivity app” a list of productivity apps, a review of a particular app, or an opinion article about the “best app”?
The truth is it can be any of the above. You’re free to choose, and there’s no one right answer. But if you really cannot decide, then a good way to “settle” the debate is to simply look at what’s ranking for that topic on Google.
- Do you have personal experience or expertise? For example, if you’ve managed successfully to infuse Singaporean flavors into ramen, then you can share your unique recipe with others.
- Can you interview experts? For example, you can interview a famous ramen chef on how newbies can potentially make restaurant-quality ramen at home.
- Can you crowdsource opinions and ideas? For example, you can poll members in goals for their best at-home ramen recipes.
- Can you provide data or back your article with science? For example, you can potentially show readers how to create the “perfect” ramen by looking at the sensory relationship between different acids and flavors.
- Can you be contrarian? Don’t be contrarian for the sake of it. But if you have an opinion that’s the opposite of everyone else’s—for example, how ramen is actually ultra healthy—and you can back it up with evidence, it can be an attention-grabbing angle.
Recommended reading: 7 requirements for a successful OKR implementation
Decide on your article’s angle
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.”Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft.
Mr. Bean falls to the ground. A spotlight shines on him. The rest of the street has faded into the shadows, and your attention focuses on Rowan Atkinson’s character.
You can’t possibly cover everything. So you need to choose. In fact, it’s the angle that makes your article unique and interesting to readers, thereby making it stand out.
Before you begin drafting, it’s a good idea to send your outline to someone else—a colleague, editor, or friend. They’ll be able to give you feedback and point out flaws, inaccuracies, or points you’ve missed.
We do this all the time. Every in-house writer has to send their outlines to OKR our head of content, for review.
Once your reviewer has given their feedback, you can look through it and incorporate their ideas into your outline. Then, it’s finally time to draft.
If you need help writing a blog post, check out this Quarterly OKRs: 5 Tips for successful Wrap-Up
Any questions or comments? Let us know on Twitter.