The process can seem like a black box if you’re starting out as a blogger. Staying ahead in blogging means learning the proper steps and knowing where to leverage specific tools.
In this article, I'll show you the step-by-step process with helpful tips on how to write a blog post outline that will make your writing easier.
You'll find out why writing a strong title and outlining is essential, what elements should go into your outline, and how to use AI tools effectively as part of your workflow.
Keep reading if you're ready to take control of your blog writing process, increase productivity, and have the perfect outline for your next blog post.
TL;DR: Blog Post Outline Steps
- Understand the Need for an Outline: Recognize why outlining is crucial before writing a blog post.
- Recognize Article Outline Benefits: Learn the advantages of an article outline.
- Keyword Research and Search Intent: Conduct thorough keyword research and understand search intent.
- Choose the Right Format: Select the most appropriate format for your blog post.
- Craft a Catchy Title: Write an engaging and relevant blog post title.
- Develop Heading Sections: Create clear and structured heading sections for your post.
- Generate Targeted FAQs: Include FAQs that resonate with your audience's queries.
- Add Calls to Action (CTAs): Incorporate effective CTAs to guide reader actions.
- Start the Rough Draft: Begin writing the initial draft of your blog post.
- Incorporate Relevant Images and Videos: Enhance your post with appropriate visual content.
- Highlight Key Takeaways: Summarize the main points for easy reader recall.
- Include Personal Experience: Add a personal touch to your blog outline.
- Bonus Step - Add Internal Links, Image, and Metadata: Optimize your post with internal links, a featured image, and accurate metadata
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Why I Talk About Blogging:
I have been a coach who has provided blogging tips to thousands of beginners for years. Through my experience, I've found that the most successful bloggers plan their posts in advance with an outline.
Why You Need A Blog Post Outline Before Writing
In today's digital world, it’s essential to understand the importance of writing an outline before you start your blog posts.
An outline helps with search engine optimization (SEO) and ensuring that all relevant points are included in your post. It also ensures your post is structured and organized so readers can easily follow along.
Writing a blog post outline will also simplify the writing process for you by giving you a clear direction on what needs to be discussed and the overall flow of the article.
This way, when you actually write the blog post, you don't find yourself stuck or uncertain about where to go next.
Additionally, having an outline allows you to add more detail if needed without losing track of your main point or argument.
All these factors make creating a blog post outline essential for any blogger who wants their posts to stand out.
The Benefits of An Article Outline
An outline lets you plan the topics and keyword research before hitting the keyboard. This saves much time as you can quickly reference your written points while drafting content.
Additionally, by outlining first, you can easily pre-plan your internal links within posts which aids in content optimization and help maximize readership potential.
The format of an article also matters when trying to capture and maintain the reader's attention.
Writing without structure can lead to a jumbled piece with sections lacking flow or cohesion.
But with an outline guiding your steps, each paragraph naturally transitions into the next one, allowing ideas to be clearly expressed and making it easier for your target audience to understand them.
By taking advantage of effective outlines, bloggers are better able to create focused content that increases engagement levels and drives growth.
Here Are The Exact Steps To Take When Creating Your Blog Post Outline
Don't worry. I'll also provide you with my free blog post template that you can copy and paste for your own workflow.
1. Do Keyword Research And Nail The Search Intent
Writing a blog post outline requires an effective keyword research process to ensure your content reaches its target audience. To do so, you must identify the search intent of each keyword and optimize your posts accordingly.
This will help boost organic traffic to your post from users looking for specific information related to their queries.
You can also use a keyword clustering tool to help with this process. These tools can help you identify related keywords, which you can use to create a well-structured and organized content outline.
For example, start off by trying to search “lemonade” in Google.
Now, look at the first page of the results. You may notice that Google has no idea what to do with this search query. Or, put another way, it doesn’t understand the search intent. This is because the word is too broad, and the intent is not obvious or predictable.
As a result, you likely see a mixture of recipes, restaurants, and even an insurance company called “Lemonade.”
Now try “best lemonade recipes.”
You likely saw a list of recipes because, more often than not, when we type this term, that’s what the intent of the search term is – recipes using lemonade. Google knows this from the millions of behavioral signals it receives.
To start off, brainstorm relevant topics that fit your niche and list all the associated keywords. Then, conduct thorough research into those keywords by checking how often they’re being searched online and what similar phrases people use when searching for them.
Once you have identified which words or phrases are most popular, it is time to analyze the searches further and determine their exact search intent.
Take note of any long-tail keywords, as these may be more fitting for readers since they usually contain more detail than shorter, broad terms (Hint: long-tail keywords are typically easier to rank for new blog posts).
2. Choose The Right Blog Post Format
Now that you have your keywords, it's time to start planning the format. A few options are available when deciding on a blog post format for your topic.
Consider the type of content you want to write and how much information you will convey to determine the best format for your blog post outline.
The Types Of Blog Post Formats
While there are endless styles of blogs, when you boil it down, there are typically three written types.
The first type is the informational or how-to blog post. This type of blog post typically answers a specific question like “how to screenshot on a Mac.”
These types of posts will usually get right to the point by answering the query and supplying some follow-up questions to round out the full experience. For example, writing about other useful shortcuts might make sense after learning how to take a screenshot on the Mac.
The next type is often referred to as round-ups or best-of articles. Round-up articles typically summarize many topics into shorter paragraphs as a list of items related to the article's title.
For example, a “best software for AI writing” article would talk about all of the AI writers out on the market now and provide a short description along with some pros and cons.
The last type of content format is referred to as a pillar article. These can either be extremely long round-ups, or they could turn into ultimate guides, depending on your style.
These articles provide a single content-heavy source to link out to other smaller articles like the informational or best of articles.
Something to note:
When writing long-form blog posts, the easiest to outline will be the following:
- How-to guide
- Round-up reviews
- Pillar Posts
3. Write A Catchy Blog Post Title
Now that you know the types of blog content, it's time to move on to crafting a catchy blog post title.
A great working blog title can be key in getting your post noticed by search engines and readers alike. An eye-catching headline will have people clicking through to read more, so it’s worth extra time to craft one that stands out.
Here's a great example of a blog post title that I optimized to rank higher on Google.
When writing an effective blog post title, remember how most users browse websites and search engine results—by scanning headlines quickly.
Your headline should grab their attention while being succinct enough for them to understand what they are about to read.
To do this, use strong action words or alliteration if possible and ensure the length is appropriate; ideally less than 60 characters long. Ideally, include keywords related to your topic as well.
If you’re having difficulty crafting a good title, you can always recruit an AI assistant to help.
4. Write The Heading Sections For Your Blog Post
When writing a compelling blog post for your readers, it is essential to start off on the right foot by crafting clear and concise headings that will engage your audience.
Headings help break up long articles into manageable chunks and provide structure for readers searching or skimming through your entire article.
Starting with the headers first makes sense and is the most important part of the blog outlining process.
To simplify this task, try creating an outline in a Google Doc before you begin writing; list each heading and any subheadings you want to include in the blog post. Doing so allows you to organize your ideas before tackling the entire process.
5. Generate FAQs That Your Target Audience Searches For
To support the overall experience of the article, add Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) specific to what your target audience searches for in search engines.
Brainstorming questions can help spark ideas and create an outline for the content of your post. Asking yourself questions such as "What are my reader's main pain points?" or "What do they need more information on?" will give you a clear idea of what topics should be covered in the body of your post.
Additionally, you can get ideas from the People Also Ask section of any Google results page.
You can even use FAQs as a hack to avoid writer's block. It’s often easier to get your writing juices going by answering very targeted questions before going into the main part of your blog post.
If you're still stuck on this process, you can easily perform competitive research to get ideas. See what topics your competitors discuss, and use that to guide your content strategy. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and engage your readers with fresh content.
Moreover, ensuring these inquiries are answered within SEO principles ensures that more people discover and read your work, which ultimately helps grow brand awareness. Taking a few extra minutes now pays off exponentially later.
6. Add Your CTAs
Your key takeaway should be a call to action. Crafting CTAs that encourage readers to move further down the funnel is crucial in lead generation. Don’t forget to make sure your CTA stands out and has an impact on readers.
Knowing how to get a person to take action is one of the most important copywriting skills needed for your blogging business.
You allow your reader to take meaningful steps towards progressing toward their goals in their life or business.
A well-crafted message can help them find the solution they need, so make sure yours cuts through the noise and resonates with what they’re looking for.
Keep it simple, direct, and memorable. Zero fluff is important here.
7. Start Writing The Rough Draft
After you have created your CTAs and basic blog outline, it's time to start writing the rough draft. Before beginning, decide on a word count for your post. This will help keep you focused and ensure that everything is concise when editing later.
Start writing based on your article outline to get started in the right direction. Don’t stop to correct mistakes, and finish an entire first draft. This can help generate new ideas and get the writing momentum going.
After creating a solid outline and an overall structure, refine any language used while ensuring that transitions between sections are smooth and logical. With this process complete, move on to polishing the grammar and checking for typos and plagiarism before submitting it for publishing.
AI writing has grown in popularity over the past few years, and it's no wonder why. AI-based tools make long-form content creation easier than ever by helping writers quickly generate ideas, organize thoughts into key points, and craft engaging copy with fewer errors.
Using AI to write blog posts can save time for busy entrepreneurs who want to produce quality content without spending hours crafting each sentence.
AI-based tools are becoming more sophisticated at understanding user intent and suggesting relevant topics or keywords related to a particular topic.
8. Add Images and Videos That Are Relevant
As you develop the outline of your post, especially if you want to become a better writer, consider adding specific steps to incorporate visual elements into each section.
For example, if your post is about creating an ebook cover, include step-by-step instructions and helpful screenshots or videos. This will save time as readers don’t need to search elsewhere for information about the topic.
You can use an AI art generator to create relevant images for your blog post, which is just one idea out of many. Generative AI serves multiple purposes for your business and content creation process.
Or else, you can use stock photos from a website like Unsplash or Pexels for free, and if you want to create a video tutorial, then YouTube is the best place to search for helpful tutorials.
Ultimately, by making your content more accessible through visuals, you'll be able to reach wider audiences and grow engagement around your posts because the user experience will be optimized.
9. Write Key Takeaways
When writing your blog post outline, it's helpful to have key takeaways or important points for readers. These should be the main points you want them to remember from reading your blog post.
A great way to ensure these are clear and concise is using a blog post outline template. This will help ensure that all of the information in your post is organized and easily accessible when readers need it most.
Once you've written down all the major points for each section of your article, prioritize which ones are most important. Those should be highlighted at the end as part of a call-to-action or summary paragraph.
You can even put them as bulleted lists in each section or paragraph of your content. Many copywriters know this is important since people love skimming through the text.
Summarize those points into one powerful sentence so readers can quickly understand what they read. It helps if there's something actionable they can do based on this new knowledge.
For example, subscribing to an email list or visiting another page on your site. By providing actionable items while reminding readers why they were interested in the topic in the first place, you'll give them a reason to keep coming back.
10. Include Personal Experience In Every Blog Outline
Throughout your article, it’s a good idea to note personal experiences in every blog outline. This is a great way to add a unique touch and draw readers in.
Especially if you are using an AI copywriting tool that generates content for you, adding your personal experiences will make the content more relatable.
When writing about topics related to the blog post, consider how your own experience has shaped your opinion or knowledge on the subject. Try to include anecdotes from life events and emotional reactions.
The actual post should contain more details regarding these experiences, but make sure that each point made in the blog relates back directly to the main thesis of the blog post.
11. Bonus: Add Internal Links, A Featured Image, And Metadata
Creating a blog post outline in 2024 involves more than just writing and structuring your content. To ensure that the post is optimized for search engines, adding internal links, a featured image, and metadata to the final post is important.
Internal links not only help Google’s page crawlers, but they also support the user experience. At the natural moments in the blog, inserting a link that would logically advance the reader to more information will help them continue their journey.
I usually recommend a blogging tool called Link Whisper, which can help you automate the linking process.
For example, if you were writing about the state of blogging, you may want to include a statistic about email open rates, but you don’t want to include all of the statistics because that would be off-topic.
In this case, it would make sense to link to one of your other articles where you outlined all the statistics so the reader can dive deeper.
A featured image is important because it sets the article's tone and is a solid visual pairing with the title. Besides the title, it is arguably the next more critical aspect that convinces readers to click to read more. Select an image representing a visually appealing topic to make the most impact.
For all images, include tags such as alt text, captions where applicable, and description fields that incorporate some of those keywords from earlier - this also provides additional SEO benefits.
Lastly, don't forget to set up the meta title and description; they should accurately summarize the page's contents while incorporating targeted phrases where possible. Google often shows the meta title and description on the search results.
You can also use a meta description generator to generate one when it's finally time to publish your post.
The blog post outlines are incredibly important for any writer looking to create engaging and effective content.
When creating an outline, it’s essential to keep your target audience in mind so that you can craft a piece of writing that resonates with them.
Additionally, a call to action should be included throughout the blog post where appropriate, as they give readers or potential customers direction on what to do next after reading your blog.
You can also use AI copywriting tools to supplement your writing by giving you more topic ideas and general writing assistance.
I use Jasper AI to write all my blog articles and social media content. This AI writing tool lets you create a blog post in seconds with just the push of one button!
Ultimately, if you focus on crafting a practical and comprehensive outline for each blog post, you’ll have a greater chance of producing remarkable results.
With this approach, even novice bloggers can write high-quality pieces far more quickly than without one.
FAQs About How To Write A Blog Post Outline
How do you structure a blog post?
Similar to how we were taught in school, blogs should ideally be around one main topic – which becomes the basis for your Title or theme – and have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Then, each subtopic becomes your headers within. Consider going one or two layers deeper in the headers if your topic is in-depth. This is often referred to as H1 (the main title), H2 (major subheadings), and H3 (minor subheadings).
You also want to include bullet points and other questions related to your content in the structure of your content.
Do You Need A Blog Post Outline?
While you can certainly open a page and start writing, by having an outline, you gain the benefit of keeping on topic and organizing your thoughts from the start.
You can always go back and update your outline. Also, in the case where you aren’t ready to write the full blog post, having an outline can remind you where you left off if you have long breaks between writing sessions.
Where Can I Find A Free Blog Post Outline Template?
You can find blog post outline templates using a tool such as Surfer SEO. They have a free article outline generator that produces good results and does your hard work.
Here is an example of for your next blog post.
This should be able to help you go from a blank page to a decent blog topic that you can continue to add to and grow. So, next time you create a blog post outline, try using free tools like this one.