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how to write a blog post outline

How to Write a Blog Post Outline in 6 Steps

Do you want to write a compelling blog post that your target audience will read and search engines will rank? Start the task of blog post writing with an outline.Writing a blog post outline organizes your key points logically so your readers can follow. In addition, it ensures that you don’t leave out any important ideas.Not quite sure how to structure a blog post? This post is meant to help you get started by going through these topics:

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6 tips for writing a blog post outline

Before we go through the step-by-step process of writing a blog post outline, here’s a pro tip:

Keep in mind your intended audience, which is your ideal customer profile (ICP). Make sure your blog post is written for them and their needs.

Now, here are six tips for writing a blog post outline:

  1. Identify your audience’s intent for searching or reading your blog post topic
  2. Start with a working title
  3. Determine the main points or topics of your blog post
  4. Write your key takeaways for each main point
  5. Organize your topics and review the structure of your outline
  6. Add a call to action (CTA)

Let’s dive into the details.

1. Identify your audience’s intent for searching or reading your blog post topic

The first step is understanding your target audience’s intent for reading your blog post. Your content marketing manager may provide you with a background on the topic and why you need a blog post with the topic published on your website. Perhaps it’s a question that your prospects typically ask your sales reps.You can also turn to Google to understand your audience’s search intent. Search intent is the purpose of an online user for conducting their search, to find answers to their questions or solutions to their problems.For example, you’re the assigned blog post writer for your company, a yoga studio, and your topic is yoga vs. running. According to your customer-facing team members, your studio gets a lot of inquiries from prospects about how different yoga is from activities like running.You also conduct a quick Google search to check the ranking pages for the topic. Analyze these pages and find out the information they include — these are the insights and information your prospects are likely looking for.Based on the background information and your Google search, your blog post must compare yoga and running, the benefits of each, and how yoga can help runners.

2. Start with a working title

Now that you’ve nailed the intent of your audience, you can write a working title for your blog post. A headline must summarize the purpose of your blog post — without giving away too much. It must give your readers an idea of what to expect from your piece.Write an attention-grabbing headline that convinces your target audience to click by:

  • Using lists and numbers
  • Clearly stating what the blog post is about
  • Addressing your reader and their needs
  • Making your title SEO-friendly

Pro tip: Write multiple versions of your working title. You can then select the strongest one later on.

In our example earlier, some working title examples are:

  • Yoga vs. Running: Which One Is Right for You?
  • Which Activity Suits You: Yoga or Running?
  • Yoga vs. Running: Is One Better Than the Other?

3. Determine the main points or topics of your blog post

Now that you know the search intent of your target audience, you have an idea of the topics you’ll cover. Arrange your topics logically, following your working headline.You will likely have three to five topics within your blog post. This number will vary, though, depending on the scope of your topic and the intent of your audience.Using our earlier example of yoga vs. running, you might have the following as main points:

  • Introduction about yoga and running
  • Yoga’s benefits and disadvantages
  • Running’s benefits and disadvantages
  • Yoga and running: Which one suits your lifestyle?
  • How yoga can help runners

4. Write your key takeaways for each main point

Now that you have your main points, list the important takeaways from each one. You can write down bullet points for each topic.Will you cite studies or market research under a specific topic? Note it down as a bullet point in your topic. If you’re interviewing an expert for a particular topic, you can also add that in.An example outline might look like this:

  1. Introduction
    • Yoga and running are two popular exercises to get fit.
    • The benefits of yoga are increased flexibility and muscle strength.
    • The benefits of running are strong bones and improved cardiovascular fitness.
  2. Yoga’s benefits and disadvantages
    • Yoga is a full-body workout that can calm your mind.
    • Yoga burns fewer calories than running.
  3. Running’s benefits and disadvantages
    • Running burns more calories quickly.
    • The disadvantages of running are joint pain and injury.
  4. Yoga and running: Which one suits your lifestyle?
    • Consider yoga if you wish to improve your flexibility.
    • Consider running if you want to burn more calories.
    • Consider doing both to reap the benefits of improved flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.
  5. How yoga can help runners
    • Yoga can stretch the muscles surrounding hips, knees, and ankles to avoid injury.
    • Yoga can increase a runner’s mobility.

5. Organize your topics and review the structure of your outline

With your topics filled in with key takeaways, do you see a need to change the sequence of your topics? Once you’ve reviewed your topics and key points under each one, feel free to revise the structure of your outline.You may need to bump up a topic to introduce a section. Or perhaps you need to immediately answer your audience’s intent, so you must front-load your blog post with the information your prospect is searching for.In our example, consider sorting the main topics to ensure that you immediately answer your prospect’s intent. In the revised outline, we bumped up the topic “Yoga and running: Which one suits your lifestyle?” so we can quickly answer the reader’s question of which exercise suits them better.

Initial blog post outline Revised blog post outline
1. Introduction
2. Yoga’s benefits and disadvantages
3. Running’s benefits and disadvantages
4. Yoga and running: Which one suits your lifestyle?
5. How yoga can help runners
1. Introduction
2. Yoga and running: Which one suits your lifestyle?
3. Yoga’s benefits and disadvantages
4. Running’s benefits and disadvantages
5. How yoga can help runners

6. Add a call to action (CTA)

Conclude your blog post outline with a call to action (CTA). Different businesses may use different CTAs. For example, software companies may invite blog post readers to sign up for a free trial. On the other hand, an automotive dealer can invite their online audience to visit the showroom to check out or test-drive their cars.CTAs may also vary depending on your audience’s intent. If your blog post is about your latest promo, the readers are likely close to purchasing. A CTA that invites them to purchase is a logical next step for them.Is your blog post informational? Lead your audience to relevant content that they may need after reading your blog post. If you have a newsletter they can subscribe to for further information, you can link to the sign-up form.

Frequently asked questions

We’ve gone through how you can structure a blog post. Now, let’s go through some frequently asked questions about writing blog post outlines:

What is a blog post outline?

A blog post outline is a writer’s roadmap for writing a blog post. It lists the sections, key points, and working titles of the blog post so that the writer can stay focused on the topic.

Why do you need a blog post outline?

A blog post outline can help you organize your thoughts and give your blog post a structure that your readers can easily follow. It can also help you stay on track to write your key points with a logical flow.

Bonus Read: How to Write for the Web

What are the four elements of a blog post?

A blog post has the following elements:

  1. Headline: Your headline must be compelling to make readers click on your blog post.
  2. Subheads: Subheads guide your readers on your main topics.
  3. Multimedia: Make it easy for your readers to understand your key points with images and videos.
  4. Body: The blog post’s body text provides the content that answers your target audience’s intent. It also links to relevant other pages that will be helpful to your audience. That practice is called internal linking, and it helps you optimize your blog post for search engines.

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Ready to write blog post outlines?

Publishing blog posts for your business can improve your reputation and increase your brand awareness. If you need help with your content marketing efforts, including writing blog post outlines, consider teaming up with WebFX.A full-service digital marketing agency, WebFX has a team of 500+ digital marketing experts who is pumped to learn about your business, industry, and needs. They’ll craft a content marketing strategy and write blog post outlines that will deliver results that grow your bottom line.Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our content marketing services!

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