How to Write Quality Blog Posts Simply
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Blog posts can be excellent tools to boost your business’ visibility and authority. But they can be tricky to write.
Have you ever written a blog post only to realize you didn’t pick up steam until the tenth paragraph? Or have you reread your blog posts and thought, “It’s like I word vomited on the page.”
While there are many proven writing techniques, there is one simple strategy that helps you write clear and effective blog posts: outlines. Outlines can be easy-to-use tools that help you write better blogs and tighter copy.
Let’s dive into how you can start using outlines to plan your blog posts.
Prepping to Write Your Blog Post
Outlines are great brainstorming tools that allow you to list everything you want to include in your blog post. By outlining what you want to write about in your post, you take the pressure off yourself to remember every detail and example you want to include.
Taking the pressure off yourself to write a quality blog post will help you write a quality blog post.
To create your outline, first, take about 10-20 minutes to write everything that comes to mind related to your topic. Once you have written your key points, go back and fill them in with examples and supporting details. Outlines make it simple to build blog posts full of useful information.
By this time, you will have a list of what your blog post will address. Look over that list and make a note of any gaps in information or holes in your argument. This is a great time to research more before you write.
Planning Your Blog Post
Once you’ve listed all your ideas about what to talk about in your blog post, you’ll be able to see how (proportionately) long your blog post could be.
There is no official “sweet spot” for how long your blog post should be. Some say 500-600 words. Others say the ideal length is 1,600 words or a seven-minute read. My advice is to stop writing when your post gets boring or start repeating yourself. This ideal length will vary for every article. To help you plan how long you want your article to be, look at your outline.
If there are 10 ideas you want to talk about in the article, that article could easily become a 10-minute read.
This could be what you’re looking for, but if you know your readers like to read quicker posts, seriously cutting your outline in half (or thirds, or fourths) and create a series of blog posts.
Another visual benefit of outlines is you can visually see the narrative of your blog post. At first, your outline was jumbled, but you’ve rearranged your outline to be in the order you want to discuss your key points. Now, your blog post’s narrative and its theme will come to light. Your blog’s theme is a consistent message or lesson throughout the blog post. Your blog post’s theme and narrative help you write your introduction and headline.
This is also another point in the writing process where you can see any holes in your argument or knowledge. You’re (hopefully) not pushing against a deadline, so you still have time to research more.
Writing Your Blog Post
Now that you’re ready to write your blog post, you’re more than halfway there. You have outlined what you want to write about and how you’re going to support your points. You’ve done the heavy lifting.
When you write, make sure you stick to your outline. I suggest always having the outline pulled up next to your draft. You can do this by copying and pasting your outline to wherever you’re writing; having the hand-written version of your outline next to your computer screen; or displaying the outline on a second monitor.
It is ok if you think of new ideas to include in your article when you’re writing. You can either include those ideas in the blog post you’re writing, or you can save those ideas for later. Writing follow-up blog posts can be helpful for your readers.
When you’re done writing your blog post, take a break before you edit your writing. I also suggest looking into editing software to help you refine your blog posts. I discuss the importance of editing software in another blog post.
The Benefits of Outlines
One of the greatest benefits of writing an outline before writing a blog post is you no longer have to start a post staring at a blank document ever again. Ernest Hemingway nicknamed the blank page “the White Bull.” I know the stress that comes with staring down the White Bull. But since planning out my blog posts with outlines, that has not been a challenge.
Another benefit of using outlines is how they help you write with clarity and purpose. Because you’ve already organized your blog post with your outline, you can focus on expanding your thoughts and giving examples to strengthen your argument or share more information. Organizing your thoughts before writing is a proven way to write with clarity because you’re clear on your plan.
Outlines can also decrease deadline anxiety. If you always write blog posts at the last minute or if you underestimate how long it takes to write a quality blog post, outlines can be your best friend. By pre-planning your blog post, you give yourself time to think through your topic and what you want to write. It also helps you plan future blog posts, so that helps take the pressure off your content planning.
Outlining what you want to discuss in your blog post can also show you if you need to write about that topic. If you don’t know enough about a topic to fill out an outline, you need to find a new topic.
So, say goodbye to stressing about actually what you’re going to write about in your blog post. This will save you time and heartache. Plus, your blog posts will be more clear and effective.