I’ll let you in on a little secret. I just finished writing an outline for this article that your reading.
Let’s talk about how you can make the best outlines for your content.
I’m very particular about my outlines, mostly because I run a content marketing business and have a team of writers that need to produce a very specific, high quality content.
I’m so particular, that I actually don’t let anybody else do the outlines for me. Every single outline for my clients is done by me personally.
This way I am sure that my clients get an excellent piece of content. Because our expert team of writers follow this outline to a T, and everything that needs to be covered is taken care of.
That’s how you want to create your content outlines, get it to the point where you’re comfortable that even as you never saw the written article, you know the quality will still be high because you put so much detail into your outline.
5 Major Things to Include In Your Outlines
I’m a content marketer not a builder but even I know that to ensure quality you need a solid foundation. That is what creating outlines is all about – building a solid foundation. It’s better to take the time to put the work in on the frontend (creating an outline) rather than spending more time on the backend (editing the shit article your writer gave back because of a poor outline).
To avoid spending more time making edits to poor content, make sure all of your outlines include these 5 things every content outline should have.
1. Title & Topics to Cover
The first section in every article outline is the title. I like writing out the final title before my writer even begins. This is something we can always refer back to, and stay on topic. We can always change the title after the article is written so I like to create a title that makes it easy for the reader to understand the direction the article is going in.
After the title, I breakdown all of the topics that we want to cover in the post using bullets. I don’t do all of the research for the writer because I like them to do some research on their own. My main focus is giving the writer the different sections, headings, and subheadings that need to be included.
The best way is to find these topics to cover, is by referring back to the question that this article is answering.
Brainstorm/breakdown every version of this question that you can think of. Make sure you cover all angles, and go above and beyond.
The reason I try to answer every question is because Google wants to send the searcher to the best result possible.
I know if I answer every version of the search question, Google will want to recommend me, because most likely the searcher will be able to find his solution to his problem within my result.
For me, the topics we want covered section, represents the individual paragraphs and sections for the article.
2. People Also Ask Questions
The next section is the answer these people also asked questions.
It is also in a bulleted list, and these questions come from 4 places. The first place of these questions come from is when you Google the title of the article, you see on that first page people also ask questions.
These are taken right from here and if Google is suggesting them, it means that Google sees these as semantic questions, so if you’re also answering these in your article, Google will most likely send the searcher to you because you’ve more helpful.
If you use our outline tool, the questions also come from Yahoo answers, and Quora.
The fourth place these questions come from are competing articles. I always like to see what I’m going up against before creating my article. Oftentimes I can find questions I didn’t even think of in highly ranking articles that may not need their own section but should still be addressed. I include those questions in this section as well.
One more time, these questions are important because in Google’s eyes you are fully explaining the subject and you are seen as a complete answer for the searcher.
3. Information About the Reader
This section is crucial if you want your content to be more effective.
As a marketer you are always looking for ways to engage your audience. Speaking directly to your customer in their language is a great way to get your readers to take action. To do this, you need to give your writer information about the reader.
To create highly targeted content your writer will need the answers to the following questions:
- Which one of your customers is most likely reading this?
- How much do they already know about our company and solution when reading this article?
- Which 1 to 3 problems of theirs are we telling/showing them we solve?
- What stage of the buying process are they in?
Once you answer these questions in your outline you will find that you could write the article simply by having the title, keyword, and information about the reader. It makes that BIG of a difference.
Content becomes more engaging, higher quality, and speaks directly to your customer when you give the writer information about your target audience.
4. Storytelling Element
Every piece of content should be like a mini-movie. It should take the reader on a journey from where they currently are to where they want to be.
You NEED to include a storytelling element to each piece of content you create. How do you add a storytelling element to your content? Include my secret formula GSU – goals, stakes, and urgency.
- What is the purpose of this article?
- What action do you want readers to take?
You need to clearly define what action you want your readers to take. If you want to force readers to take action, the writer needs to know what exact action you want readers to take so they can reiterate that message throughout the reader’s journey.
- What are the stakes?
- What happens if the reader doesn’t reach the goal that your piece of content helps them get to?
By building the stakes into the plot of your story, readers will be able to put themselves in the hero’s shoes; pulling on their emotions. The higher the stakes the more engaged the reader will be to continue on the journey to reach the goal.
- What is the urgency?
- Why does the reader need to take action immediately?
- If they don’t fix the problem right now what can that lead to?
Creating a sense of urgency is how you get readers to take action. You want to build the sense of urgency so high that readers are violently searching for the call-to-action. Explain to the reader (and your writer) what will happen to the reader if they don’t solve their problem right away and why they need to.
5. Similar Topics
Our outline tool just takes the most relevant answers that Google shows for this title. These are important to have when giving your writers an outline.
You want to make sure that your writers know what’s currently out there, so not only do they not copy, but they are able to answer a question more completely than a competitor.
Putting It All Together
As a writer I can quickly see every topic I’m gonna cover, every question I’m gonna answer, and my competitors articles.
All I have to do is a little bit more research on each topic in question and I can go ahead and write an article quickly that comes out very high quality.
Using Poofnewsales Outline Tool
Our tool literally does all these steps for you. Once you enter the title of the article it will output the topics you want covered, answer these people also ask questions, and articles covering similar topics.
If you copy and paste it right off of our site into Google doc, it will look exactly like mine does. Go ahead and test it out with a few different titles and play around with it yourself.
We wanted to make it as easy as possible for business owners to have some control over the content they’re producing, without having to waste their valuable time creating the content themselves.
Using the outline tool is a good middleman, because you know your writers will be writing exactly what they should be. This will keep the content on your site very high quality.
We also have a complete suite of content marketing tools that are all completely free. We wanted to automate each step of the process for you.
As always, we pride ourselves on being content strategy partners, and a top tier content creation agency.
For proven results with no work required on your end, hit the contact us button below and take a quick questionnaire to see if we’re a match!