What is a blog outline?
Imagine if Sarah gets a mandate to develop a 4000-word blog. This easily takes 10 to 12 hours to produce and deliver. It’s as good as two FTEs engaged fully for a day or one team member busy for almost two full days on this project.
Now if Sarah simply gets started and drafts the 4000 words, it might be a risky way of doing the work. Suppose the client drops a bomb and says that 60% of the blog wasn’t up to the expectation in terms of coverage.
As a writer, Sarah will be left stranded having to do re-do the blog. She is going to spend more time that could’ve otherwise been utilized on other projects.
Is there a way to prevent such re-work and get it right the first time as per client expectations?
A blog outline goes a long way in preventing such costly re-work.
An outline is simply like a table of content or index that we see at the beginning of a book. It lists down the flow of the narrative. It is a visual cue for the writer to stay on track at all times when writing the blog. Experts support the use of outlines to make blog writing process more efficient.
When should you prepare the outline?
A blog outline looks something like this
It shows many pointers –
- The flow of the topic from start to end
- An indication of what points will be covered
- Number of words allocated to each point (to meet overall wordcount goal)
- Reference URL to research more on a given point
It should be prepared at the research stage. In this stage, you collect the necessary intel to build your own blog. The outline will help you know what point to cover (and avoid duplication of coverage). It also serves as a constant reminder of how many words can the narrative cover for a particular point.
How a blog outline benefits the readers?
Readers can enjoy a well-written blog that flows from start to end in a natural and smooth way. Such blogs don’t abruptly jump from one idea to another. Also all sub-headings or ideas within the body of the content are given equal coverage.
This USP is possible because the writer had a visual cue in front of her. She knew that she had xxx words per section to total to yyy words overall. For a long form content writing, it becomes difficult for the content writer to track the progress if she doesn’t have such visual cues.
Hence, many content writing companies make it a point to integrate outline creation as a part of their research process.