Skipping the outlining process can seriously damage the quality of your blog post. And no one wants that, right?
You see, when it comes to blogging, creating quality content is extremely important.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to write a blog post outline step by step. It’s a fairly detailed process because I believe that poor content quality is a result of poor preparation.
Let’s dive into it!
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I’ll receive a commission. For more information, visit my affiliate disclosure.
What is an outline?
Why do you need to outline your blog posts?
You might be wondering, why even bother writing an outline? Why can’t I just type up the blog post?
Well, you can! You can do whatever you want. But I highly recommend you outline your blog posts beforehand.
Well, a few reasons:
1. It makes blog writing much faster
Once you sit down to write your blog post and see the main points in front of you, you’ll know the exact structure and the points you want to get across.
2. It helps you beat writer’s block
If you regularly plan and outline your blog content in advance, the risk of hitting writer’s block will decrease significantly.
3. It makes finding your key point more efficient
Sometimes we write something, but then when reading through the piece, we actually find out that the post is missing a key point. Outlining your blog post in advance makes this easier as it allows you to see the piece from a bird’s eye perspective.
4. It makes structuring your blog post much easier
There’s nothing worse than writing up a massive blog post only to realize later that the structure is just off. It might even make sense in your mind, but for somebody else reading your blog post, it just feels like a pile of crap and like nothing makes sense.
How to write a blog post outline
Great! Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you that it genuinely is a good idea to create an outline for your blog post, let’s have a look at how to actually outline a blog post.
1. Write down the main information about your blog post
I’m a natural planner. I plan literally everything I can. And I believe you should do the same for your blog content.
That’s why before you start outlining the blog post, you need to write down some basic information about the piece.
The basic information is:
- What problem it solves
- Key point
- Who it’s for
- Word count
- Call to action
This is the very first step you need to take before you start creating. You need to know where you are going.
2. Pick a keyword and write the title
Now that you know the basics, you need to brainstorm the title. If you’ve read my step by step guide on writing a blog post, you know that I recommend picking a headline before you start writing.
Because if you choose a headline before writing, it will be much easier for you to stay on topic. You see, each headline has its own search intent that dictates the format of the blog post.
But before you do that, you need to first find the right keyword and craft your headline around it. In other words, you need to conduct keyword research.
So, how do you conduct keyword research?
I’m not an SEO expert by any means, but here’s my simplified process:
- I pick a topic
- I Google the topic and see what people are searching for
- You can also do the same on Pinterest. Alternatively, you can use Answer the Public to find all related search queries for you.
- I scan the results on the first page, pick a seed keyword as well as the secondary keywords
- I use KWFinder to check the search volume and difficulty of the seed keyword
- I decide on the format based on the search intent of the keyword
- Then, I craft a headline and outline the blog post
This video from Income School goes through the process:
RECOMMENDED READING: How to Write Clickable Blog Titles
3. Decide on the format
Carrying with the previous point, now it’s time to decide on the format of the blog post. Is it a step by step guide? A listicle? A checklist? Something else?
And how do you even know?
Someone typing “how to start a blog” into Google is most likely looking for a guide that will walk them through the process of starting a blog.
On the other hand, someone searching for “ways to monetize a blog” is probably looking for, well, ways to make money from their blog.
See the difference?
And how do you even know?
This is going to be a part of your keyword research. Once you’ve decided on the keyword and title, type it into Google and have a look at the results on the first page. Are they guides? List posts? Hybrids? Something else? You’ll most likely want to write something along the same lines.
This will dictate the format of your blog post.
Now that you know what your blog post is going to be about, it’s time to do some research! Blog writing is similar to writing essays. You need to back up your claims!
After all, everyone can publish anything on the internet. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you’re looking at it. While doing your research, bookmark any extra resources you want to link to.
Make sure to thoroughly research the topic, add your own ideas, and add any questions that need to be answered.
But how do you know what to include?
Have a look at the results on the first page of Google, read through them, and pay attention to the comments. Is there something the readers find missing?
Still on the first page of Google, have a look at the featured snippets and read through the questions people are asking. Then also scroll down and note the related queries at the very bottom of the page. Those will help you shape your blog post as well.
NOTE: Don’t forget to include links to related blog posts you’ve already written!
5. Write down your subheaders
After you’ve done your research, it’s time to write down your subheaders. Those are going to be the main points you want to get across. If you’re writing a guide, the steps will make up the main portion of your subheaders.
Write down your main points. Then think of the subpoints for each main point.
This way, you’ll create a subheading hierarchy. Subheading hierarchy is the structure of your blog post. It’s created by tags that go from H1 to H6. H1 is your main title, which means you’ll only use it once. Your main points will be H2s and each H2 will have H3 subpoints. Likewise, H3s will have H4 subpoints, and so on.
EXTRA TIP: When outlining your blog post, write a tag to each corresponding subheader.
6. Note your key points for each subheader
Now that you have your subheaders, write down your key points, or any other notes to each subheader. This will help you later when typing up the blog post. You’ll have a clear idea as to what the point is about, and as a result, when you finally start writing the blog post, it will pretty much write itself.
NOTE: I like to start my blog posts by introducing the topic and listing the importance of it. Just like I did in this article. Note that this won’t be applicable to everything you write, but it’s a good idea to implement this approach into your blog writing.
7. Outline the key points for your intro and conclusion
Once you have all your key points and notes written down for the main body of your blog post, it’s time to decide what you want to get across in your intro and conclusion.
I like to write those two sections last after I’ve written and reviewed the main body of my blog post. But it’s always good to know what these two will include.
You can decide now how you’re going to start your article and how you’re going to end it.
RECOMMENDED READING: 10 Action-Inspiring Ways to End Your Blog Post
So you’ve finished your outline! Congratulations! What now? You can start writing immediately, but I suggest you let it sit for a few hours or days and then revise your outline.
It’s just like writing. It’s a good idea to let it sit for a while and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. You might find you need to move some things around, and it’s definitely easier to do when you haven’t written the post yet.
Your outline is ready! Now you’re good to go and create your first draft! I don’t have any specific tips on drafting your blog post. I’m sure you already have that process in mind.
But if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on writing a blog post, here it is!
Blog Post Outline Example
Okay, but what does an outline look like?
I thought it would be a good idea to show you an example of a blog post outline. So, here is an outline I created for the article you’ve just read:
How to write a blog post outline (H1)
Talk about the importance of a good outline
What is an outline (H2)
Why it’s important to outline your blog posts (H2)
I. Makes writing faster (H3)
II. Helps you beat the writer’s block (H3)
III. Makes finding your key point more efficient (H3)
IV. Makes structuring your blog post easier (H3)
How to write a blog post outline (H2)
I. Write the main information (H3)
II. Pick a keyword and craft a title (H3)
III. Decide on the format (H3)
IV. Research (H3)
V. Write down subheaders (H3)
VI. Write down key points for the main body (H3)
VII. Outline key points for the intro and conclusion (H3)
VIII. Revise (H3)
IX. Draft (H3)
Blog post outline example (H2)
Summarize the importance of blog post outlines
See? It’s fairly simple!
Outlining your blog posts can seem like an unnecessary task and perhaps even a waste of time. But I believe that it has a lot of benefits. Creating an outline for your blog post will make the writing process a lot faster, it will help you avoid writer’s block, and it will also help you create better quality content for your blog.
How to Write a Blog Post Step-by-Step
How to Write Clickable Blog Post Titles
10 Action-Inspiring Ways to End Your Next Blog Post
20 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Blog Writing
How to Find Endless Blog Post Ideas