It's Sunday, and you're more than likely already thinking of everything you have to do in the week to come. Your blog is probably at the top of your list (or somewhere close) and you know you need to get started. But it always takes so darn long! Today I have a little secret I’m going to share about how I get my blog off to a quick start and off my to do list, using a simple tool ~ All in about 5 minutes! I’m going to show you how to outline your blog!
First things First
Before you actually start this outline, you’ll need to have a topic in mind. Use this topic to work into a headline. You may normally save this piece until last but I want to encourage you to start with it. I believe it paves the road for a more focused blog, plus it gets that part out-of-the-way, pronto.
How to come up with a great headline:
We all stand in line at the grocery store; right there with the chocolate and other tempting snacks, impulse buys and magazines. Take notice of the headlines written all over the magazines in front of you. You’ll notice that they all have something in common:
√ 10 ways to…
√ 8 things you can…
√ 4 things that keep you..
Although these headlines may seem boring and not unique in the least bit, they work. How do we know this? Because major magazines are using them and those Major magazines are making sales (they're major for a reason, right?). Plus, have you paid attention to the headlines in your inbox from the big shots you subscribe to? If not, start! Keep a file with a list of headlines that get YOU to click!
Suggestion: pull out your smart phone and snap a few pictures of those headlines or jot them down and text them to yourself. Start building a list of headlines that you see and use them for future reference! (Ad them to your list!)
With your headline in mind, I’m willing to bet you have a pretty clear picture of what you’re going to write about. Type your headline in at the top of your word doc. and lets move on.
Main points = sub headlines:
Next, with your subject and headline in mind, think about at least 3 key points that you want to tell your reader. A typical blog is anywhere from 750 to 900 words so I honestly wouldn’t make more than 6 points in your blog. It’s too easy to write too much! Take your main points and bullet-point those suckers into your word doc., right under your headline. Those will your sub headlines. Bold mini titles that top some of your paragraphs and separate your points, (like you see in this blog). These will introduce your reader to what you’re going to talk about next, and will also make your blog much more attractive and easier to read.
Last but not certainly not least!
Don’t forget your call to action. What do you want your readers to do at the end of your blog? Sign up for your newsletter? Leave a comment? Share your blog? Whatever it is don’t forget to include this as your last bullet point on your outline. (You’ll come back and fill them in later).
So there you have it. The main outline for your blog, all in 5 minutes or less. It may take some practice to really get it down to 5 minutes but after you do this a few times, you’ll see it doesn’t take that long at all. You’ll also find that it’s a perfect way to keep your blog focused and on point. You’ll never again have to worry about straying off the subject or writing too much.
You’ve got your blog outline, now all you have to do is go back and fill in the details. Write anywhere from 3 to 5 sentences per paragraph, and no more than 3 paragraphs per point. Now for the closing. This can be tough sometimes, to wrap up your blog in a way that flows well and doesn’t just cut off, feeling like you just said, “That’s it!” But it doesn’t have to be hard if you use one of the following calls to action
√ Sum up the points you’ve gone over
√ Ask your readers how they plan to implement in the comments
√ Ask them to share your post on Facebook
√ Promote your service
√ Tell them what they can expect from you next week
When you’re done you’ll have a focused, easy to read, attractive and enjoyable blog. Not to mention you’ll probably see more opens and clicks when you start thinking about that headline in advance!
If you want more tips to make your blog process less confusing, less time consuming and super easy, sign up below for our blogging toolkit and a free blogging calendar template!