Article

Katrina McKinnon
Katrina McKinnon 19 March 2020
Categories B2B, Content, Research

A Killer Outline Example for Writing Your Blog Posts

You have an a team of dedicated content writers who keep moving the needle. But, you settle for nothing but the best. You want your content marketing results to soar.

Now, if you’re skeptical about the benefits of writing blog post outlines, today we hope to change your mind. Because doing this simple step can help you create top-shelf content. And that, in turn, will make your SERP rankings go through the roof.    

This article will provide you with a killer outline example for writing your blog posts. 

What Do Industry Experts Say on Writing Outlines? 

As a content marketer or a CMO, you’re struggling to keep the ship afloat. You’re the one everyone turns to when there’s a need to handle a growing amount of work.

So, writing outlines is a great strategy if you want to streamline your content marketing process. Get your writers to sketch their articles before writing them, and you’ll fast-track your content creation. 

Now, let's see what industry experts say on the topic of writing outlines.

Katrina McKinnon, an ecommerce expert with over 20 years of experience in building online teams, shares her thoughts on outlines:

Over the last couple of years, I have learned that when a writer creates an outline first, the article always ends up being better. With an outline the writer has to think about user intent, audience, client CTA, points they'll make, etc. Planning your work first always leads to a better outcome.

Now let's conclude by picking Ryan Robinson's brain. He's a seasoned blogger, podcaster and side gig aficionado:

When it comes to writing a blog post that not only drives in new readers but also captivates their imaginations and leaves them craving more—you’ve got to start with a blog post outline to organise your thoughts, decide what’s critical to include and make certain you’re not missing any opportunities.

How Do You Write an Outline for a Blog?

Now, onto some nuts and bolts. You’ll get all the tools you need to teach your team the ropes of writing a good blog post outline. 

The good news is, this is not at all capital-intensive. You only need to deliver training and integrate writing outlines into your processes.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

Choose Your Story: Define One Big Idea

To write a decent blog post, you need to settle on no more than one Big Idea to write about. So first, figure out what you want your article to convey. 

At this point, think about both your audience and your client. Ask yourself, “How am I helping my audience?” “How can my client’s product or service resolve a pressing issue my readers might have?”

In this article, we’ll draw on one of the examples of our own work. The article is on the topic of an LMS - a learning management system as an L&D solution for large enterprises.

So, here’s our Big Idea for this article:

Big idea: Explain what LMS is and what it can do for brands. Link through to the client’s case studies.

Once you’ve placed the Big Idea as your focal point, you can resort to Google to help you develop it further. Specifically, look for authority sources in your niche. See what experts wrote on your topic and try to develop a unique angle of your own.  

Draft Your Outline: Come Up With Your Sections and Supporting Points

A good outline will help your writers organise their thoughts into topics, subtopics, and supporting details. It’s a great way to kick-start your writing and help you get past writer’s block.

Not sure how to start with your blog post outline? A good idea is to take your user persona and keep it in mind as you come up with your points. 

Think about any questions relevant to your audience. Aim at solving their problems. Then arrange your ideas into sections and bullet points. 

We’ll show you how we did this using our outline example about an LMS. 

Article Title: What Is an LMS?

POINTS

LMS - A definition

The LMS of the past from 1924-2012

What the LMS looks like today

  • Use the abbreviation to highlight the features:
  • Learning
  • Management
  • System

Advantages of LMS

  • 24/7 access 
  • Saves time and money
  • Data is secure
  • Advanced reporting

The LMS of the future. LMS will:

  • Focus on user experience
  • Be driven by Artificial intelligence
  • Incorporate VR and AR
  • Incorporate gaming features
  • Be a core business process in companies of all sizes

Now, everything’s in its place. You have your subtopics and their supporting points right where they fit in. Talk about that light at the end of the tunnel. 

And most important of all, with an outline like this, you'll make staring at the white paper a thing of the past. A much better idea than writing your article from scratch, don’t you agree?

Flesh out Your Blog Post Outline: Take a Few Notes 

​​More often than not, you’ll come back to your outlines after some time has passed. This is especially true if you create content in batches. You’ll typically write outlines for each article from the batch and then get back where you started to clear all articles from your plate.

This is where taking notes comes in useful. But remember, you’re not going after too many details. You’re simply delineating a few points here and there. 

You’re leaving clues to yourself so that you can decipher some of your initial ideas. 
Now, let’s show this step in our outline example. 

LMS - A definition

Use two definitions to capture different aspects of LMS. LMS is a software that documents, administrates, tracks, reports and delivers educational courses, and training programs.

LMS is a web-based technology that an instructor uses to plan, implement and assess a learning process.

The LMS of the past from 1924-2012

Highlight the transition of the LMS model from the education to the corporate sector.

What the LMS looks like today

  • Use the abbreviation to highlight the features:
  • Learning
  • Management
  • System

Advantages of LMS

  • 24/7 access 
  • Saves time and money
  • Data is secure
  • Advanced reporting

The LMS of the future. The LMS will:

  • Focus on user experience
    The LMS will embrace responsive design and prioritize mobile learning.

  • Be driven by Artificial intelligence
    Big data will enable the LMS of the future to personalize content at a more granular level. This will deliver more in-depth training in a way that’s customized specifically for you.

  • Incorporate VR and AR
    Visual aids are extremely important in the learning process. Virtual and augmented reality will take learning a step further. They will immerse the user into everyday scenarios created by the trainer.

  • Incorporate gaming features
    Mobile LMS will have more gaming features, allowing for friendly competition among participants. This will help improve learner engagement and knowledge retention.

  • Be a core business process in companies of all sizes
    Learning is an ongoing process and companies know this all too well. From employee onboarding to skills training, an LMS gives your business a competitive advantage.

Review Your Outline 

A blog post outline isn’t complete until you cross-check it for any redundancies or missing links. A quick review of your points will be adequate. 

Make sure you fill in the blanks and cover enough material so you end up with a comprehensive blog post. Leaving any loose ends unattended will make you come across as inauthentic or unprofessional.  

So, do your research and make sure you include relevant stats and data to support your claims. 

Also, this is where you do some severe self-editing and do away with any misplaced points.  

Take Our Outline Example and Use It to Create Killer Blog Posts

Now you have a practical outline example and a few simple steps to follow so your team can write killer outlines too.

Once you've created an outline, you’re not far off from a fully-developed, rounded off blog post. So, the time you put into it pays off.  

What’s more, each dime you invest in improving your content creation will bring the return of investment. Once you have a creative powerhouse of writers who know what they’re doing, your content will start producing desired results. 

So, make sure you put the word out and share this article with your content team!

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