Writing your blog post outline is just as important as writing the content itself. Your outline serves as your blog’s structure and it will define your content direction.
But how do you determine what to fill in that structure? We’ll teach you how to create a stellar blog post outline based on just 2 pieces of info: a focus keyword and your working title.
Having to produce hundreds of blogs for our clients and partner agencies monthly, we at XYZ Advantage are experts not only in content creation, but optimizing it to rank for top search results.
These steps below will set you up for success to create an outline that outpaces your SEO competitors, resonates with customers, and boosts conversions.
What a Stellar Blog Outline needs to achieve
A well-crafted blog outline is the cornerstone of a successful and engaging piece of content. When writing one, you should keep in mind these two things:
- Win the SEO ranking
- Make GOOGLE happy
- Better outline so your content is better than competition
- Win your Customers
- Match their search intent
- Convince them to take action (not BOFU actions mostly, but still, you should think what actions make sense for that stage.)
Step 1: Search Result Matching
You’re putting out content on Google so when you publish one, might as well satisfy what the search engine is asking.
Most often than not, you can already find what you’re looking for when you look at the SERP. Say you’re topic is about room redecoration and your keyword is “room paint ideas”. Plug it into the search bar and see what people want to know.
Example 1.1 – Reading into Google search signal
As seen in the screenshot, aside from images, shopping, and videos being the main signal, the SERP also tells you that people ask suggestions about the best paint to keep a room cool and they want to know what paint color matches a certain mood.
Read into the signals carefully – if top result shows images, show users images of paint designs. When Google signals for shopping, it means users might be looking for tools and other paint needs. And finally videos to help with paint tutorials and techniques.
Reading into these signals you will already know what to include in your outline. You just need to narrow it down and align it with what you think will provide the most value to your readers.
Example 1.2 – How to outrank the competition?
What will add depth to your blog post outline are the things that are already available in Google. Take a closer look at the competition, what do the current top-ranking pages say and what can you do to make yours better?
From what we see, top pages give a bulk of examples, typically 40 to 50 paint ideas. This is telling you that people are looking for quite a lot of paint inspirations rather than a short, curated list. So in your outline, try to match these numbers or exceed them.
Aside from that, title tags have 2023 in it so obviously, you want to provide your readers with the latest trend for room paint ideas.
But don’t stop there, click on the pages one by one and examine what their content is about. Provide better information (or examples) and think of ways to set your blog apart.
Step 2: Answering the Important Questions
Now that you have the goal ahead, the next step is very familiar – think about the audience that you’re talking to and figure out what questions are they eager to find an answer about.
Communicate these “questions” in your header and make sure to provide a clear and direct answer in your copy.
Example 3.1 – Who would search “room paint ideas” and what are important to these people?
When you find yourself uncertain about whether or not a specific topic should be included in your blog post outline, go back to your topic and see if the two are related. You might find a lot of great suggestions from search intent but before deciding, make sure you check its relevancy to the topic that you’re writing.
The last few questions tell us that people also ask about “What is the better paint, eggshell or satin? What is the easiest paint to clean? What finish do professional painters use?” These points might be good to know but if your blog solely focuses on giving the readers room paint inspirations, these queries might not be necessary to include in your outline.
Step 3: Structure Your Blog Like an SEO Pro
Now that you know your customer intent, have taken a look at the search signal, identified the pain points to address, and have a unique angle to differentiate your content from currently ranking results, what’s left is to build it with more ideas to ensure a strong foundation.
So, how do you do that?
By customizing your content, this is the most important factor for SEO. You need to communicate in your outline how you want to sort out your ideas and present them in a way that will help the readers easily comprehend it.
Be direct with your H2s and make sure you get the point across clearly and concisely. Talking about room paint ideas as our example, outline can be sorted out by shades of paint or as seen in the search results, it can be categorized by suggesting paint colors for different moods.
Example 4.1 – What does a good outline look like
Room Paint Ideas (H1)
Choosing the Best Paint Color for Bedroom (H2)Sapphire Blue for Better Sleep (H2)Sunflower Yellow for a Happy Color (H2)Pale Green for a Cool Tone (H2)Earthy Brown for Rustic Mood (H2)
Room Paint Ideas (H1)
Choosing the Best Paint Color for Bedroom (H2)Better Sleep (H2)Sapphire Blue (H3)Sky Blue (H3)Happy Colors (H2)Sunflower Yellow (H3)Yellow Gold (H3)Cool Tones (H2)Pale Green (H3)Tea Green (H3)Rustic Mood (H2)Earthy Brown (H3)Chestnut Brown (H3)
The outline on the left clearly communicates the room paint ideas on its H2s (suggested color + mood). This way, Google can easily index the content because it can immediately recognize the main topics related to room paint ideas.
While the example on the right still offers a lot of options for paint colors, it didn’t give the paint suggestions until the H3s, the way it was structured is a bit confusing (at least for the bots who will index it).
Pro Tips to Make an Outline that Outshines your Competition
Following the three essential steps mentioned can get you a solid blog post outline, but wanna know some insider tips to make your content even better?
Additional tips for you: be the trendsetter and think ahead of the game.
Tip #1: Be the Industry Expert
Blog writing is not just about the length of your content, it’s about the substance that comes with it. The more informed you are, the more you can provide depth to your content.
If you’re trying to outrank big industry players, one way to go is to establish credibility in your blog post outline. A few tips to do that:
- Offer Comprehensive Insights: It’s not enough to merely point out problems; offer comprehensive insights and guide your readers toward actionable solutions that they can easily implement.
- Use Real-Life Examples: Incorporating real-life examples, case studies, or personal experiences can add depth to your content. These examples illustrate your points and make your blog more relatable to readers.
- Back it Up with Data: Statistics and data-driven insights lend credibility to your content. Whenever applicable, support your claims with relevant data and studies.
Tip #2: Communicate Visually
If you haven’t noticed, consumers nowadays highly rely on visuals. At times, they use visuals to point them to the exact content or information that they’re looking for within your write-up.
When outlining your blog, try to think of ways how to incorporate effective visuals, it definitely is essential for engaging and guiding readers through your content.
- Use Images to Enhance Readability: Your visuals essentially breaks your texts making your content more readable and digestible. Communicate using high-quality images and if needed, incorporate infographics and diagrams to illustrate your key points.
- Embed Videos and Multimedia: Videos, slideshows, and interactive elements can definitely fire up your content (specially if the SERP asks for such visuals). They not only provide valuable information but also keep readers engaged.
- Experiment with Layouts: Don’t be afraid to experiment with your blog’s layout, after all, it functions as your personal journal. Use different fonts, colors, and formatting to make your content visually interesting.
Tip #3: Consider the Future Trend of Short-Form Blogs
It’s pretty obvious that we’re living in the age of shortened attention spans, where short and quick cuts is becoming the norm. And surprise you not, this might be the case for blogs in the future too.
Bite-sized content but still packed with valuable information that speaks volume. Remember KISS? Keep it simple and specific.
- Stick With Your Key Message: Be clear on the message that you want to convey, stick with it, and focus on its key points throughout your blog.
- Trim the Fat: You might be a little enthusiastic to write but you need to review your content and eliminate unnecessary information or redundant points. Every word should serve a purpose.
- Use Clear and Simple Language: Avoid jargon or overly complex language. Opt for clear, concise, and easy-to-understand terms to get your ideas across.
Tip #4: Review and Revise
Your blog post outline is just the beginning of producing high quality content. This is where you map out your ideas, so don’t hesitate to revisit the structure and make revisions as needed.
Reviewing your outline not only keeps you on track but also helps you steer clear of unnecessary topics. When you take a look at it, try to see it from your audience’s perspective. This way, you can tell if your ideas flow smoothly and make sense to your readers.
But just as any planning, don’t take too long on this phase. The real deal will happen when you start writing the actual content. While outlining sets the stage, it is in the writing process that your ideas truly come to life and resonate with your readers.
5 Blog Outline Templates to Get Started With
If it’s your first time drafting a blog, using templates can help streamline the process. You’ll notice these templates share certain similarities and as you go with writing, you will discover your own format and eventually create your own template.
For now, take inspiration from these blog outline templates and use this as your starting point.
1. The Listicle Template
Listicles are popular because of their reader-friendly and easy-to-digest format. If your blog post revolves around presenting a series of tips, steps, or ideas, the Listicle Outline is an excellent choice. Each section within the listicle can stand alone, making it reader-friendly.
XYZ Pro Tip: Keep it scannable. Organize your list logically, placing the most compelling or important items at the beginning or end to maximize reader engagement.
|IntroductionBriefly introduce the topic of the listicle and its importance or relevance.|
Item #1Present a numbered list of key points or items related to your topic.Include a concise description or explanation for each list item.
Item #2 Follow the same format for the rest of the items you’re discussing in your listicle
ConclusionSummarize the main takeaways or benefits of the listicle and encourage readers to explore the list items further or take action.
Example: 5 Best Lead Capture Page Templates To Generate Conversions
Source: XYZ Advantage | 5 Best Lead Capture Page Templates To Generate Conversions
2. The Ultimate Guide Template
The Ultimate Guide template is perfect for in-depth, comprehensive blog posts. If you’re looking to provide your readers with an extensive resource on a particular topic, this template is your go-to.
XYZ Pro Tip: Since this is an ultimate guide, some info migt be too overwhelming. Break down complex topics into digestible sections with clear headings and subheadings.
|IntroductionProvide an overview of the topic and explain why a comprehensive guide is needed.|
Understanding the BasicsDefine key terms and concepts related to the topic and provide foundational knowledge.
In-Depth ExplorationDivide the topic into subtopics (with separate H2s for each)Provide detailed information, explanations, and examples for each subtopic.
Tips and Best PracticesOffer practical advice, tips, and strategies related to the topic.
Resources and Further ReadingList additional resources, books, websites, or tools for readers to explore.
ConclusionSummarize the main points and encourage readers to take action or share feedback.
Example: A Comprehensive Guide to Old Home Movie Formats and Their Preservation
Source: Capture | A Comprehensive Guide to Old Home Movie Formats and Their Preservation
3. The How-to Template
For blog posts that aim to instruct or guide readers through a process or series of steps, the How-to Outline is an ideal choice. This template helps you maintain a coherent and logical sequence, making it easy for readers to follow along the instructions.
XYZ Pro Tip: Reference real-life examples. Include case studies, actual screenshots, or any other resources that can help the readers easily follow your how-to steps.
|IntroductionPresent the problem or challenge that the blog will address.|
How to XXXXBreak down the process into clear, sequential steps.Use separate H2s for each step.
Step #1Explanation of how the steps can be doneInclude relevant images, diagrams, or real life examples if applicable.
Step #2Follow the same format for the rest of the steps you’re discussing in your how-to guide
Tips and TroubleshootingProvide tips to make the process easier or more efficient.Offer advice on potential pitfalls or challenges.
ConclusionSummarize the key steps and encourage readers to try the how-to guide.
Example: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Transition to Barefoot Shoes
Source: Correct Toes | A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Transition to Barefoot Shoes
4. The What-is Template
If your blog post aims to teach readers about a specific concept, term, or topic, the ‘What-is Outline’ is a great choice. It helps you explain the main idea thoroughly and precisely.
XYZ Pro Tip: Expert opinions. What else can reader expect on your what-is blog but industry insights from field experts or relevant quotes that support your explanation about the topic.
|IntroductionDefine the topic and explain its significance or relevance.|
What Is XXXXDiscuss the core conceptsExplore the fundamental aspects, components, or characteristics of the topic.
Examples and ApplicationsProvide real-world examples or use cases to illustrate the concept.
Benefits and ImportanceExplain why the topic matters and its potential benefits.
ConclusionSummarize the key takeaways and invite readers to learn more or share their thoughts.
Example: What Does An Auto Body Shop Do And Why You Might Need One
Source: StormWise | What Does An Auto Body Shop Do And Why You Might Need One
5. The Tips Template
The Tips Outline template is perfect when you want to share valuable tips, tricks, or hacks with your audience. It allows you to present actionable advice in order, making it easier for readers to navigate and understand.
XYZ Pro Tip: Make it personalized. Don’t just offer tips but advice as if you’re talking to a close friend. Provide options or alternatives whenever relevant.
|IntroductionIntroduce the problem or challenge that the tips will address.|
Tip 1: XXXPresent the first tip with a brief explanation.
Tip 2: XXXPresent the second tip with a brief explanation.
Tip 3: XXXRepeat for additional tips (typically 5-10 tips).
V. ConclusionSummarize all the tips and encourage readers to implement them.Offer a closing thought or call to action.
Example: What Makes A Website Bad – 15 Examples To Avoid
Source: Cyphon | What Makes A Website Bad – 15 Examples To Avoid
Set Those Words Free
It takes effort and tons of practice before you can master all aspects of blog writing. But hey, you’re off to a great start with these practical tips and templates for blog post outline.
Now what’s next is to try it yourself, start writing, and figure out how to set your words free. Your blog can be your personal journal and ultimately, a source of information for others.
Having second thoughts? We’re only a message away. Let’s get that blog writing done and bring those ideas to life.