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Whenever I create a new blog post, I first draft it in outline form of exactly how I want the post to be structured. My mind runs a mile a minute most of the time, so trying to stay organized and on topic can be a challenge when creating new content.
In this post I am going to talk about the advantages of using an outline. We will touch on:
- What an outline is and why bloggers should use one
- Why it actually helps me save time when writing my content
- What tools are available for bloggers to use when creating an outline
At the end of this post, I’ve included a copy of the outline I used to create this post. It’s free for you to use to get started!
What is an outline? And why should a blogger use one?
An outline is a shortened version of your masterpiece of a blog post you are about to write. Think of it as a roadmap that tells you where you are and where you are going to end up when all is said and done. A skyscraper can’t stay standing without a solid framework. A well-written blog post is the same way.
An outline should not be written with much depth. You are not writing the full post at this point in the process. The purpose of the outline is to get our ideas out on paper and organize them. Include only brief sentences and keywords you want to mold into full sentences and paragraphs later on in the writing process.
Bloggers need to keep their readers interested throughout the entire post, and hopefully motivates them to share that content across social media. A well-written post starts with carefully constructed ideas and sentences. It keeps the temptation to ramble and go off point from creeping in at any time.
Outlines help writers generate writing when they have writer’s block. By having an outline ahead of time, you keep that perfect blog post idea safely written down, which can help lead you to more ideas down the road. Basically, the outline is Superman!
Check out my other posts on blogging (updated list as of 5/12/17)
- 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Blogger
- How to Start a Blog in 2017
- 5 Reasons Why No One Cares About Your Blog
- 8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic
- Making the Most Of Affiliate Links
- 5 Free Image Sites for your Blog
- How to Start a Blog in 8 Easy Steps
- 50 Blog Post Topics to Cure Writer’s Block
- 8 Things You Must Do to Every Blog Post
- How I Write and Publish Quality Blog Posts
Why not just write whatever comes to mind? Doesn’t writing an outline take more time?
I don’t know about you, but I am usually rushing myself to come up with a new blog post idea. With a full-time job and 4 kids, I often have small windows of time to crank out new content. It is very rare that I complete a post in one sitting. When I am coming back to a post hours, days, or even weeks later, 9 times out of 10 I have forgotten the meat of what I wanted to cover.
Taking a short 10-15 minutes ahead of time, I can jot down every idea I had at the beginning so that I never lose them. Ever. Yes, writing an outline is an extra step in the process, but in the end, it makes drafting the post so much easier.
What tools can bloggers use to create an outline?
Creating an outline doesn’t require sophisticated software or apps. While there are several applications out there that will do the job, I stick with Microsoft Word. Microsoft OneNote is also a good option as well. If you are looking for outline apps, there are two free simple apps that I use that also do the job – WorkFlowy and OutlineCreate.
As a thank you for reading (and hopefully sharing) this post, here is the outline I made to write this post. Take it and modify it to suit your needs. It’s free!
I hope that this post was helpful, and gave you enough information on why it’s important to use an outline for blogging. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.