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How to Write a Blog with an Outline

How to Write a Blog with an Outline

When baking a cake, you follow the recipe in a logical sequence to ensure that your confection rises and tastes delicious. The same goes for a blog. Our recipe begins with a BLOG OUTLINE. By following the steps of the outline, your ingredients for the blog are added in sensible order making the result palatable to your readers.
 
Writing with an outline establishes structure, a segue into the blog for the writer, and builds confidence. The process of blogging is demystified.
It’s not as complicated as you might think, if you have a guideline to follow.
When baking a cake, you follow the recipe in a logical sequence to ensure that your confection rises and tastes delicious. The same goes for a blog. Our recipe begins with a BLOG OUTLINE. By following the steps of the outline, your ingredients for the blog are added in sensible order making the result palatable to your readers.
 
Writing with an outline establishes structure, a segue into the blog for the writer, and builds confidence. The process of blogging is demystified.
It’s not as complicated as you might think, if you have a guideline to follow.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BLOGGING WITH AN OUTLINE

  1. Divide a blank piece of paper into thirds by printing with a black pen, INTRO at the top of the page, BODY in the middle and CONCLUSION toward the bottom.
  2. Highlight these headings.
  3. Print by hand the information listed below in the BLOG OUTLINE sample, under the appropriate headings.
  4. This is now the working template for your blog. After writing the outline by hand the first time, in the future you might want to scan and reuse the outline or type one.

Note:

  • Your finished blog will not be divided into intro, body and conclusion, but the reader will register the logic of planning that went into the writing of the blog.
  • Like any good story, there is a beginning, middle and end to your blog.
  • And yes, to you English majors, it does look suspiciously like an essay outline doesn’t it? Same concept but the overall look will be different. Breaking content into short paragraphs makes for easier reading on screens.
  • With so much competition for our attention, making content easily digestible, as well as interesting holds the reader.
How-to-Write-a-Blog-with-an-Outline-for-Spring-Creative-Blog
Download our Blog Outline HERE

PEN vs KEYBOARD FOR THE BLOG OUTLINE

Filling in your outline by hand means rereading the information as you start to write, which can lead you straight back to your first thoughts. Those first thoughts or ideas are the ones you want to expand upon.
Conceptually, you understand more by writing than typing; writing is slower, so you have to process and summarize as you write. By writing rather than typing your info into the BLOG OUTLINE, you will sort your thoughts as you write them. The resulting notes will make sense to you in a way that typed notes won’t.

TIPS FOR FILLING IN EACH SECTION

INTRO AND CONCLUSION TIPS

  • If you come up with more than one hook write them all down. You can pick the best one when you start writing. The other hooks might actually be points you can use in the body.
  • Like reading the first page of a good novel, the beginning of your blog must make the reader want to stay to find out what happens in your mini story of a blog. The hook needs to be compelling.
  • You also need a good ending that reiterates your hook and leaves the reader with inspiration and/or a CTA. It can be an offshoot of your original hook, but it can’t be a completely new idea that you haven’t already explored in the body of your blog.
How-to-Write-a-Blog-with-an-Outline-for-Spring-Creative-Blog

PEN vs KEYBOARD FOR THE BLOG OUTLINE

Filling in your outline by hand means rereading the information as you start to write, which can lead you straight back to your first thoughts. Those first thoughts or ideas are the ones you want to expand upon.
Conceptually, you understand more by writing than typing; writing is slower, so you have to process and summarize as you write. By writing rather than typing your info into the BLOG OUTLINE, you will sort your thoughts as you write them. The resulting notes will make sense to you in a way that typed notes won’t.

TIPS FOR FILLING IN EACH SECTION

INTRO AND CONCLUSION TIPS

  • If you come up with more than one hook write them all down. You can pick the best one when you start writing. The other hooks might actually be points you can use in the body.
  • Like reading the first page of a good novel, the beginning of your blog must make the reader want to stay to find out what happens in your mini story of a blog. The hook needs to be compelling.
  • You also need a good ending that reiterates your hook and leaves the reader with inspiration and/or a CTA. It can be an offshoot of your original hook, but it can’t be a completely new idea that you haven’t already explored in the body of your blog.

NOTE: If stuck, fill in the BLOG OUTLINE from your first draft—see, The Write Way section below.

BODY TIPS

  • You may already have a list of ideas for a blog before you draft the outline. If so, load by hand, this list into your blog outline.
  • If you haven’t written a list of points down already somewhere else, write them now into your blog outline by hand.
  • Remember that while the blog may focus on an aspect of your business, it’s really about what your target audience needs. Keyword searches may have brought your potential client to the blog, but solving their problem makes them stay.
  • Anecdotes relevant to your blog topic can be a great way to illustrate a point.

TITLE TIPS

  • A title may pop to mind at any point.
  • Write title ideas above BLOG OUTLINE in that blank space, as they come to you.
  • Make up a basic title for your blog and refine it once the bog is complete.
  • Titles: Be literal, specific and clear (https://www.janefriedman.com/blog/) as this is how people enter searches
  • Numbered lists work well in titles.

START TYPING

  • Don’t edit yourself as you write, worry about typos, spelling or grammar. You can fix those later.
  • Get those thoughts down and don’t sensor the flow.
  • I do this on a computer, as I can type faster than I can write by hand. Sometimes when I write my own articles, I start with writing first before I break off to fill in my outline. (See, The Write Way box.) Writing gets my ideas flowing if I’m feeling stuck, though I at least begin with a skeleton of an outline.
  • It can take years of writing to find the most efficient way that works for you.
  • Don’t judge yourself!
  • After your immediate and quick first draft, print it and get out your pen.

CIRCLE AND IDENTIFY ELEMENTS

  • Circle and label the hook in your first draft, which is often in the second or third paragraph. What you initially thought was the hook, may indeed, be a supporting point.
  • Number the supporting points, in logical sequence. Some rearranging of content is normal. Three or four points are sufficient.
  • Find your conclusion which might be at the beginning; circle it and draw an arrow down to the bottom of the draft to indicate it should go there.

NOTE: If I’m struggling with editing someone else’s blog, I ditch the rewrite and draw an outline.

The struggle means logical flow isn’t there, invariably, due to a lack of an outline. The need to re-order concepts/points is common after a first draft.

Your brain it may not be able to order concepts as you write them down, hence the need for an outline! It makes sense of everything, either before you start writing, or after you’ve done your first draft.

IF YOU GET STUCK

At any point if you are stuck or wonder about order, print out what you have written. Reordering is much easier this way, as you switch your brain from writing to editing by changing how you work. To properly proof work for all types of errors, you must print the document and edit it by hand.

THE WRITE WAY vs FILLING AN OUTLINE FIRST

  • If using an OUTLINE feels an impediment to your writing, go ahead and start writing first.
  • Often it takes a few sentences or a paragraph to hit your stride when writing, and the hook or lead thought can be excavated after you’ve written a chunk of your first draft.
  • You can create an outline from your first draft to restructure how and where you situate your information.

*HOWEVER, print the BLOG OUTLINE by hand as shown in the sample, before you start typing. This situates in your mind what your writing needs to contain. It’s handy to have a logical and simple structure to reference as you progress—a tried-and-true recipe for success.

Not everyone’s brain works the same way, so the order of 1) OUTLINE, 2) POINTS, 3) WRITE method may need to be juggled. The point is to relax your mind enough to be able to write.

This will work too:

1) WRITE, 2) POINTS, 3) OUTLINE 

1) POINTS, 2) WRITE, 3) OUTLINE

1) POINTS, 2) OUTLINE, 3) WRITE

NOTE: No matter which order you choose, use all three elements. The goal is to learn which method works for you and to practice that one. You need to become accomplished at one method, not be mediocre at three.

REVISION
  • When you have re-ordered your points and determined your hook and conclusion by hand on paper, restructure what you have written on the computer.
  • Consider breaking longer paragraphs into shorter ones, some one sentence long if the concept can stand on its own.
  • Print this revised draft out and edit by hand again. The ideal scenario is to let the first draft sit for at least a day or two before you revisit it.
  • Writing is at least 60% thinking and 40% writing. Returning with fresh eyes can solve a sticking point much faster than labouring over it.
  • Ask someone whose point of view you trust, to read the blog (printed on paper) and give you feedback. Does it make sense, have valuable information and flow logically?
  • Use your program’s spell check to proof for spelling and grammatical errors.

Post that baby and have a piece of cake to celebrate!

Kimberley Hyatt is the Content Coordinator for Spring Creative, a marketing strategy and promotional design agency based in Nelson, BC. She shares her wisdom and professional expertise through monthly blog posts and Organic Outreach workshops that she teaches online. Kimberley loves all things written and is passionate about helping her clients reach their goals. When she is not working she can be found in her favorite window seat where she sculpts her manuscript, pencil in hand, one line at a time.