You’ve got a great blog topic and a pretty clear idea of the angle you’ll take on it. That means you’re ready to write, right? Not so say the Weidert Group Content Queens! Determine flow first and you’ll spend a lot less time staring at a blank page. It’s easier than you think when you follow these three principles of an effective blog outline.
Effective Outline Principle 1: Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
It all starts with a thesis statement and an introduction built around it.
This may sound all scholarly and serious, but a thesis statement is just a very refined idea that keeps you on message so you’re not chasing every shiny object that shows up in your research.
The more clarity you have around what you want to accomplish with your post makes it easier to set expectations for your audience — to tell them what you’re going to tell them.
Effective Outline Principle 2: Tell them.
Research is at the heart of a quality blog post. Let’s face it. A Google search will bring you nearly everything you need to make your argument — statistics, facts, talking heads, pros and cons, etc.
That research has never been easier is good and bad news. It’s good because a breadth of research allows you to dig into your topic. It’s bad because you’ll be tempted to include every little thing in your post.
More is not always better. Take the shortest route to telling your audience what you want to tell them by remaining disciplined in your research:
- Narrow your results into meaningful sources, and group them according to how they relate to your thesis. Start with broadest coverage first and become more detailed to create a logical flow.
- Use your newly created top-down outline to divide your content into points and subpoints that support your thesis. If you come across some relevant anecdotes, consider adding one or two to give your post some flair. Just don’t get too carried away, or you’ll risk losing your flow.
- Let the writing begin! Keep the copy punchy, engaging and relatively short. 600-800 words is usually a good target.
Effective Outline Principle 3: Tell them what you told them.
All good things must come to an end, and your conclusion is important. It’s your chance to connect all the dots — your thesis, research, witty banter and a reminder about why your post is so valuable to your audience. Simply put: tell them what you told them.
There it is. An outline about outlines, straight from the Weidert Group Content Queens. Got some go-to secrets for effective blogging you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!