Post Outlines: Do you Use Them On Your Blog?

Steven2 responsesBlogging

Everybody has their own way of writing blog posts, so there’s really no right or wrong.

When it comes to whether or not they use an outline I think most bloggers are like me.

I use an outline for some and others I just sit down and write and see where I end up.

I do generally use an outline for the following three types of posts:

Pillar Posts: Pillar posts are blog posts that build a strong foundation for your blog. They generally focus on your central theme or your main keywords. For example, if your blog is about baby care you might have several categories – newborn infant care, toddler care, and the Terrible Twos. Each of these would have its own pillar post which would provide general information about all the sub-categories your blog addresses under newborn, infant, or Terrible Twos with links to relevant content deeper in your blog.

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Because pillar posts are such an important part of your blog’s foundation and because they include so much information, it’s best to start with an outline so your page is coherent and all your key points are covered.

List Posts: I always outline lists posts. In fact, the post you’re reading right now is a list post and yes, I outlined it, before I started writing. It helps make it easier to remember all the key points you want to cover.

Series Posts: Sometimes I’ll write a long blog post and decide to break it down into multiple posts. But if I intentionally set out to write a series, I always sit down and write an outline first. I want to make sure I focus on one topic each day and fully explore that topic for my readers. Sometimes when I outline a series of posts it turns out to be a longer series than I originally planned just because I’m taking the time to fully cover the topic.

I’m sure every blogger writes plenty of posts without an outline. When you’re breaking news or if you’re just answering a question it typically isn’t necessary to sit down and sketch out what you’re going to say.

On the other hand, if you find your readers aren’t getting your message or your content isn’t sticky, it might help to outline every single blog post you write. An outline is like a road map for your post. You plot the major route you want to follow and then go back and fill in the scenery. If this helps you write clearer, more concise content, then by all means, do it. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: Nothing about blogging is carved in stone. Do whatever works best for you and your readers.

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2 Comments

  1. I also keep switching between the two methods. Whenever I sit for longer and grave posts, I start with outline method. But when jolly mood, wish to share something with my readers who are much more familiar with my blog, I go with conversational.

  2. Great tips, I’m just getting my blog up and running and your site is very useful. On a different topic, do you have favorite WordPress plugins every Brent should try (social media share buttons, backing up your site etc)

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