In this article, and video, we discuss some of the best techniques for improving your content outlines in both efficiency and effectiveness.
These techniques will help you to:
- Develop more comprehensive content
- Make the best outlines for your content
- Save time in the content planning process
- Communicate more effectively with your writers
If you are interested in building better outlines for your content quickly and easily, you should definitely check out the PoofNewOutline Content Marketing Tool that Cody and I have recently developed to help content writers, content marketers, business owners, SEOs, and anyone involved in the content marketing space to produce high quality, unique outlines for your content in seconds.
This is part of our Poof Free Content Marketing Tools Suite that we are currently building out, to proudly provide our audience with the best free content marketing tools on the web! We will constantly be updating our existing tools and implementing new ones in the future. Join our email list to be updated along the way with great content that will help you become a better content marketer.
But enough about us, let’s get to YOU. It’s time to learn how to make the best blog content outlines.
5 Tips for How to Make the Best Blog Content Outlines
These 10 tips will guide you to outline victory!
1. Make Sure Your Topic is Niche Enough
Have you ever read one of those blog posts that just tries to touch on everything, and somehow manages to touch on just about anything relevant to the reason you clicked on it?
Yeah, me too. A lot.
It gets tiring, discouraging, and downright annoying to have to surf through 10, 20, 30 blog posts before finding one that even has an inkling of relevance to your search term.
If it frustrates YOU, whose job is likely to find things and research things on a daily basis as a content marketer, imagine how frustrating it is to your audience?
Now, take this common problem and turn it into an advantage.
Below are two simple ways you can make sure your content is niche enough for your audience. Keeping your content as niche as possible will help you to find easy content wins by ranking your blog content for long tail keywords and also help you to develop an extensive network of content that is extremely detailed and relevant to your audience.
Fill Content Gaps
Start with finding content gaps. Content gaps are areas where your competition lacks to provide adequate information through their content.
Your content marketing strategy should aim to fill these content gaps.
If you want to know the best ways to find content gaps, check out this comprehensive article we wrote, which will help you find and use all of the best free content marketing tools on the web to help you identify content gaps in your industry.
Answer Your Audience’s Questions
A big part of writing effective content is to know what your audience is asking.
Having access to these questions is essential to your success in building an audience and establishing your brand as a thought leader through your content marketing strategy.
But, with all the noise out there on the internet, how can you find out what questions your audience is asking Google?
You know we’ve got your covered on that! To best answer this question in full detail, we wrote this extensive Guide to How to Find Out What Your Audience is Looking for in Content.
This guide helps to go in depth about what tools to use to find out more about your audience’s content needs and searches, use those tools correctly, and build high quality and unique content from what you find.
2. Jump Right Into It
So many people try to duck around getting started with content. It can be difficult to get into the mood, or perhaps the mindset. Other times, you feel stuck.
But one way to make sure you stay stuck is to not act.
The best way to become efficient in your content development is to jump to action. No failure is a failure unless you choose not to learn and improve from it.
That being said, we find that one of the best ways to jump right into making your content outline is to start with your topic or subject matter.
From here, sift through the list of questions your audience has (from reading through the guide mentioned in Step 1), and begin finding ones that fit in with your subject matter.
Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes
If tomorrow, you were dropped on your head and knew nothing about your industry or subject matter (let’s hope not), what questions would you have?
- What would need more explaining?
- What steps should you take?
- What other topics could you tie in with additional content?
- What are the must know tips and tricks to succeeding?
- What are some of the best tools to use?
As you begin to just dive into things in the shoes of your audience, your mind should begin racing with potential ideas and questions that must be answered by any good piece of content in order for it to rank and for it to satisfy user intent.
Keep Extra Ideas in a List
Typically, by the time we finish one piece of content like this, we have at least 3 or 4 new ideas for pieces of content in the future that fit directly with our newborn article like a puzzle piece.
Regardless of your industry, you should be able to say the same. By keeping these great ideas on tab, you will make the outlining process much easier on yourself in the future.
3. Outline Your Blog with SEO in Mind
While a lot of content marketers like to fall back on their “SEO team” to handle the SEO of their blog content, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and headache by just setting out an outline for your content that embodies a simple understanding of SEO.
At the end of the day, you do not need to be an SEO wizard to do this. All you really need is to do a few Google searches, and use some of these amazing content marketing tools in order to find keywords that your content should try to rank for.
From there, you want to take this information and utilize it to your advantage in order to save yourself that pesky time, money, and energy spent working with an SEO agency, and just be your content’s own best friend.
The three major things you want to focus on when it comes to outlining your content with SEO in mind are titles, headings, and keywords.
Making the Best Titles for Your Blog Content
Titles are very, very important when it comes to outlining your content.
We usually say you should start with the title. Going back to tip #1, you want it to be niche. This will define everything you cover in your blog, and should set the tone by informing the reader of exactly what they are getting themselves into.
We have whole list of tips for how to make the best titles for your blog content, but it is WAY too much to cover here.
So, instead, here is a brief overview, and we will leave a link to the comprehensive guide below for you to explore when the time comes.
One of the best ways to find good title ideas for your blog content is to analyze the competition.
This is as simple as doing a Google search or two and scrolling through the top few results pages.
You will begin to notice patterns like numbers being used, brackets, exclamation points, and other common similarities most of the top titles share with one another.
This is not by coincidence, it is because these things are proven to be more effective at getting people to click through.
Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Blog Content
One thing we always try to put in all of our blog outlines is a list of the keywords we are trying to target with our content.
This just keeps them in mind while writing your outline, and while writing the blog itself. We try to also keep their search volume beside them, as well as the competition and CPC. This helps us to understand which keywords we should be targeting the most for easy content wins, and which ones are more of a stretch, but we still want to sprinkle in to get some juice flowing on our site for those terms in the future when we have more authority in the space.
This can seem like a formidable task at first, but with the right Content Marketing Tools, it is extremely easy.
We go more in depth on how to find the best keywords to rank for and what tools to use in this Comprehensive Guide. This is a must read for content marketers of all skill levels who are looking to improve their efficiency and their knowledge base.
How to Choose the Right Headings for Your Blog Content
You see how we could have just made the headings for each of these three sections as plain as: titles, keywords, and headings, but didn’t?
There is a reason for this. And it is not for the readers. Not the human ones anyways.
You see, Google crawls your website, and while we don’t have the time to go into depth about it here, the headers you use in your content matter. A lot.
Google indexes your content based on the type of HTML tag it has. Typical blog content is broken up mainly into <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6>, and <p>. All of the H’s represent headers and the Ps represent paragraphs.
Much like a newspaper, or a book, you need chapters or sections to your content. The more appropriately you name these sections, the easier it is for Google to know what they are talking about.
While there is no way to determine just how much they matter, as Google tends to be a bit secretive about their ranking algorithm, there is a strong correlation between the headings used in an article and their rank in a search for a given keyword.
Each type of header is indexed according to its worth in the eyes of Google. Each page should only have one <h1>, which is the title of the blog. Each subsequent header is indexed according to its rank, with less importance as you head down the numbers, <h6> being the least important. Paragraphs are then indexed below these in terms of importance.
Now, obviously you can’t just bank on this getting you ranked. You need consistency, an aged domain, and good content to back it.
The topic of how to write blogs with SEO in mind is honestly worthy of a very long piece of content on its own, so you know we had to write about it!
Check out our Comprehensive Guide to Improving Your Onpage SEO in Your Blog Content here.
This guide is jam packed with easy content wins, actionable tips, and expert level insight into the world of SEO, how it works, and why it is important in your content marketing strategy.
4. Be Forward Thinking with Your Blog Content
I know this sounds like a broken record, we mention it a lot. But there is a reason for this!
Do you think that the most comprehensive content platforms like HubSpot started out knowing that they would one day become as big as they did?
Of course not. But, did they position themselves much better than their competitors by constantly producing fresh content, evergreen content, and helpful tricks and tools for their users? Yes.
When it comes to writing content, you have no way of knowing just how important each piece may become in the future. For that reason, you want to set up your outlines for your content so that each subject is narrowly focused, but comprehensive.
Much like we have done with our content, this will allow you to slowly branch out from your trunk (the main subject matter of your blog) and penetrate many other subject matters which are related to it, or fit directly under it.
When it comes to outlining your content with this in mind, the best thing you can do is try to imagine this piece of content like a seed.
One day, it will be a tree. With many branches that connect to it and depend on its roots for nutrients, but still send their nutrients they gather back to the tree.
Without proper branching, your tree may not get enough nutrients (traffic) and be as efficient in managing its resources (your time and money).
Segment Your Content
Because your tree will one day be large, and have many branches, you want to make sure the branches don’t get tangles with one another and stunt growth.
To do this, you need to make sure that your content is properly segmented into categories (branches) in order to ensure that each twig remains in place, and nutrients can find their way to where they need to be.
Afterall, what is the point of taking all the time to make high quality content if your traffic can’t even find it? Seems pretty counterproductive to me.
Keep your long term goals in the back of your mind when making your outlines for your content. This will help you to properly segment your content, which will:
- Keep your content on topic
- Make your content more interesting for your audience
- Hep you provide more value with your content
- Build trust and loyalty in your audience
- Establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry
- Make your site more authoritative
- Help you rank better in search engines
- And more…
It seems overwhelming, but if your provide value and truly seek to be the best at what you do, you will catch on soon enough.
5. Include a List of “People Also Asked” Questions
This is the icing on the cake that can really help you take your content to the next level.
When using the SEO tips we gave you, you will already have superior content to most in your industry, and also be answering quite a few questions your audience has with your content.
But, taking these few extra minutes in order to make your content as comprehensive as possible, you will truly set yourself apart.
There are a few solid tools we use to find these questions, which we explain in further depth here, but the two main ones we use are:
Right on the main search page for most queries on Google, you can find the “People Also Asked” box of questions. As you click on these, they expand to give you answers and links to content, and also provide more related questions.
You should spend some time messing with this, and really get a hand of not only documenting the different questions and filtering through them, but using different searches to find more.
On top of this, you should also take the time to click on a few of the links to these answers, and read through their content to see why they rank high for it, what content gaps they have, and what additional questions you may want to answer in your content.
Often times, these additional queries wind up being your subtopics in your blog content. Having a comprehensive understanding of what topics to include in your blog outlines can save you a lot of time, and help your produce far more effective content on a consistent basis.
Answer the Public
This is honestly one of the coolest free content marketing tools we have ever found.
It is so simple, and yet so powerful.
All you have to do is add your topic into the search bar and let this baby go. What appears is a massive, visually organized list of all the related queries that people ask Google, with the search volume, competition and CPC.
Mess around with this awesome content tool in order to find some great content ideas for your website.
How to Make the Best Outline for Your Blog Content – Wrapping it Up
Thanks for making it all the way through this one guys. We hope that it helped to make you a better content marketer, and saved you some time by learning with us through our experiences.
Be sure to leave some comments and questions for us, we love the feedback (good or bad). We want to know how we can best help you guys become content marketers.
Also, if you want to read more great content marketing tips, guides and tricks, you should definitely consider subscribing to our email newsletter, which sends you weekly notifications to awesome new developments with our content marketing tools, and helpful blogs like this at least twice per week!