The Key to a Great Blog Post: How to Write a Blog Outline

If you’ve found the time and motivation to write a blog post, you probably just want to sit down and plunk it out. And now I’m telling you how to write a blog outline, too? I know, I know . . . but hear me out. Outlines are good for more than just seventh-grade English class (which is probably the last time you really thought about them). A good outline will save you time because you’ll already know exactly what you’re going to cover when you sit down to write.

An outline will make sure that your blog post flows well, which is super important for keeping people reading. If your article doesn’t have good flow, people will stop reading because it’s just not worth the effort to decipher what you mean. Here’s how to write a blog outline that will turn into an awesome blog post every time.

Have a Working Title

First, you need a working title. Make it as specific as possible, because a good title will help you narrow down what you’re going to cover in your post. When you already know what your point is, it will be easy to write only things that fit within that topic.

Be specific about what you’re going to teach or tell your reader. Remember, a good blog post solves problems for its audience in a clear, concise way. You MUST deliver on what you’ve promised in your title.

This is not the time to worry about creating the perfect, catchy title for your piece. You can focus on creating a clever title after you’re finished writing.

Let’s say that I’m writing an article about using a licensed real estate agent to sell your home rather than trying to sell it on your own. A good working title could be as simple as “Why You Should Use a Licensed Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home Rather Than Selling It Yourself.” This is clearly a better title than “Why You Should Get a Real Estate Agent,” because it tells you exactly what problem I’m going to solve—the problem of you needing to sell your home.

Brainstorm

Warning: this step is going to be messy. Before you start writing, take the time to brainstorm and research what you want to tell your readers about the topic you chose. You’ll come up with way too many things, but you can (and should) refine this list later on.

For now, the bigger your list, the better—you want to have many things to choose from. Put down everything you can think of, even if you’re not sure how it would fit into your blog post. This mish-mash of thoughts and ideas will turn into a cohesive blog post, I promise.

Back to my example, here’s a list of possible things to talk about in my real estate agent article.

  • Agents have an intimate knowledge of neighborhood
  • Agents will put seller first
  • Agents have education and experience
  • Agents can keep you from undesirable potential customers
  • Agents can look at comparable sales in your area
  • Agents keep you from accepting too little money on your home
  • Agents can sell your home faster because they know current market conditions
  • Agents know other agents and can get you more exposure
  • Agents know how to negotiate and can get you the best price and the settlement details that you want
  • Agents can answer buyer’s questions after closing
  • Lots of paperwork, agents can deal with it
  • Get more money when you use an agent
  • Agent can show your home when you’re not available
  • Agent can help you with staging and minor repairs

Sort Ideas into Sections

Now that you’ve got a list of ideas, start sorting your ideas into headings and subheadings. This will help you see what your main points are going to be. Each main point should be clearly supported by the points underneath it. This is when the basic structure of your post should materialize.

You’ll probably realize you have some ideas that don’t seem to quite fit because they aren’t really relevant to the point you want to make. Don’t be afraid to take those ideas out, reorganize sections that don’t seem to flow well, or even add ideas as you create your outline.

Back to my example about real estate agents selling homes, here’s how I might craft an outline from my brainstormed list of potential talking points. Notice that I made some additions (in bold) and crossed out some ideas that didn’t fit.

Introduction

  1. Real Estate Agents Save Your Time
  • Agents can sell your home faster because they know current market conditions
  • Agents have education and experience and know how to sell your home as quickly as possible
  • Agents know other agents and can get you more exposure
  1. Real Estate Agents Save Your Money
  • Agents have an intimate knowledge of neighborhood and can price your home right
  • Agents can look at comparable sales in your area to price your home right
  • Agents keep you from accepting too little money on your home
  • Agents know how to negotiate and can get you the best price and the closing details you want
  1. Real Estate Agents Save Your Sanity
  • Agents vet potential buyers, keeping undesirable ones away
  • Agent can show your home when you’re not available
  • Agents can deal with all the paperwork
  • Agents can answer buyer’s questions after closing

Conclusion/Call to Action

  • Agents will put seller first
  • Agent can help you with staging and minor repairs
  • Get more money when you use an agent

Add Facts to Your Outline

It’s a great idea to add facts and data from other sources into your outline. Your writing will be so much faster if you don’t have to hunt those down later. If you need to do some additional research, this is the time to do it—before you start writing.

Adding facts to your outline can prevent writer’s block because you’ll know exactly where you’re headed and what you’re writing about before you ever get started. You won’t get halfway through writing your post and realize that you don’t have the facts to back up what you’re saying.

Draft Your Opening Paragraph

Your title may catch your readers’ eyes, but the opening paragraph is what should reel them in. Today’s readers get bored quickly, so you don’t have long to make a good impression. And much like a first date, first impressions are critically important to success. Make sure your first paragraph tells readers why they should make the effort to read the entire post.

The advice to draft your opening paragraph might seem like an odd fit in an article about how to write a blog post outline. But writing your opening paragraph before you start on the body of your post will keep you on track; a good opening paragraph means you’ve narrowed your focus enough to write a killer article. Like your working title, this opening paragraph can (and probably should be) tweaked once your article is fully written.

Once You Know How to Write a Blog Outline, Be Flexible

While it’s generally true that a good outline will help your writing flow better and help you write faster, everyone writes differently. So, make sure you know how to write a blog outline and that you give it a good shot. But if it doesn’t save you time or just makes you frustrated, pitch it! And if you want to do parts of the outline process and not others, that’s OK, too.

I know how frustrating it can be to stare at a blank screen for 30 minutes or to re-write paragraphs only to delete them later because they don’t fit. So give this method a try—I think it will make your blog post writing much smoother. Be sure to let me know how it worked for you (or leave a comment with your own tips on how to write a blog outline).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.