Sometimes it feels like you have the whole blog post mapped out in your head. Until you sit down to write, and instead of typing furiously on your keyboard, you are tapping anxiously on your desk. Staring at a blank screen!
A looming deadline only heightens the anxiety. It makes it even harder to find that missing spark and recall those ideas that were buzzing in your mind ever since you conceived the idea for the post. We have all been there.
The best hack to beat the blank page syndrome that every writer dreads is by using a blog post outline.
This article will show you how to write a blog post outline quickly. You will learn how to draw a roadmap for an article that explores every relevant sub-topic and engages readers from start to end.
Even better, we will share a tool that will generate the blog article outline for you with a simple click of a button, drastically cutting the time you will take doing it manually.
This article will:
- Define what a blog post outline is,
- Discuss the benefits of writing a blog post outline,
- Show you, step-by-step, how to write a blog post outline using an AI-powered blog outline generator,
- Answer some common questions on writing blog article outlines.
Let’s get started.
What is a Blog Post Outline?
A blog post outline is a roadmap that organizes your thoughts and arranges your main points in a logical sequence to keep you focused while you write. It is your article in skeletal form.
It doesn’t matter how many articles you have written before, how familiar you are with the topic, or how inspired you are feeling. Without an outline to arrange your thoughts and guide you, the blog writing task can feel overwhelming.
A blog article outline can be a simple bulleted list of points that summarize each section of the post. Or it can be a more detailed breakdown that has the main points standing as guideposts, with supporting points nestled underneath.
Why is it important to use a content outline?
Has it ever happened to you that during your research an insight hits you that you feel would be great for a specific part of your article but then you completely blank out when you must recall it?
It has happened to me many times. It’s the reason I finally resolved to never write from my head again.
I have never had a photographic memory, so it beats me why I ever thought I could commit an article’s worth of information to memory and recall it on demand.
You will discover that using an outline to guide you focuses your mind and stops you from wandering off-topic. Some of your readers have busy schedules so it helps if they can scan your article and quickly find the information they are seeking.
The sheer mess of an article that hops from one topic to another without a connecting thread makes for a terrible reading experience. It turns away readers, if it can find any in the first place.
But as well as the reader, you could lose Google too. Simply because the search engine just cannot understand what your article is about and can’t decide which searches to serve it for. You end up addressing an empty room.
When I outline my articles I also find that my writing is faster and less labored. An outline simplifies the writing process. All you will have to do is:
- expand on your main arguments,
- add a few examples to clarify the point,
- add images to help readers visualize your proposed solution,
- tie in a few personal stories to engage your readers’ brains,
- link out to articles that cover the subtopics in greater detail,
- add transitions between each point so the article flows and reads well.
For everyone concerned, blog outlines ensure that the final product is cohesive and flows logically from the introduction to the summary. As I have found, an outline makes me a better, more efficient writer.
How to Write a Blog Post Outline Quickly and Efficiently
Writing a blog post outline is usually a manual process. You start with a topic or your main goal for the article. And then you expand on it with the other takeaways you want your readers to get from the article.
You want to get all of your ideas down, including the questions people commonly ask about the topic. After this brain dump, you will now organize and arrange your article’s main points into a structured, flowing outline.
As you can imagine, this manual outlining process can take time. And without thorough research, it is easy to miss important points. Your article won’t be as comprehensive.
This is what AIO (artificial intelligence optimization) and the Content At Scale long-form AI writer fixes. AIO helps you create more effective content, while CAS uses AI to streamline content production, taking care of the whole blog post workflow, from the outline, the actual writing, and optimization, to publishing in WordPress.
So writing the outline is only the first part of a long process. With the actual writing still to come, you want to write the outline quickly and efficiently.
As we will show you with the following step-by-step guide, the best way to outline your blog post is with the Content At Scale automatic blog outline generator. If you prefer video, watch over-the-shoulder, as Content At Scale’s VP of Marketing, Julia McCoy demonstrates the process.
A step-by-step guide to writing a blog post outline
Below we will show you the manual process of how you write an outline for a blog post. As we do that, we will introduce you to the Content At Scale AI writer’s custom brief tool and demonstrate how a blog outline generator simplifies the outline writing process.
- Decide the topic of your blog post
Every piece of content you write must have a goal. That goal could be to educate your audience or showcase your product or service. This article does both.
For successful content marketing, your goal with the article must be a topic that a sizable chunk of your audience cares about. There’s no point investing in a piece of content that no one is going to read.
In SEO terms, a worthwhile blog post topic must have some search interest, ideally several hundred or 1,000’s of searches per month. These are Google searches by people looking for answers to the questions your article will be answering.
From this understanding, your blog post must target a carefully selected keyword, itself a result of an intentional keyword research process. While you can brainstorm a topic, it is a good idea to look up the topic you have selected to see if there are enough people searching for it online.
For this article you are reading right now, the keyword we are targeting is ‘how to write a blog post outline’. A quick Google search shows that this is a lucrative keyword that some publishers and businesses are willing to throw money at with an ad.
As highlighted in the image above, the keyword research tool I am using also reports that an average of 320 people search Google for the keyword every month. That is tidy traffic for the pages that rank for the search term.
Analyzing the ranking articles will also give you an idea of the content type, format, and angle that Google deems to adequately address the search query. It helps you understand the intent behind the search.
In our case, all the signs suggest that ‘how to write a blog post outline’ is a good topic for an article. We are also happy to make it the working title for our post.
Check out this article for our tips on keyword research.
- Determine your main points
While you are doing your SERP analysis, check that first page for possible supporting points that could stand as individual sections for your article.
One area I like to look is right at the bottom of the page where you will find related searches:
Just a quick glance and I can see several related searches (keywords) that would fit my article:
- What is a blog outline?
- Blog post outline sample,
- Blog outline generator.
That Google is showing these means there are people searching for them. While making my article more comprehensive, optimizing for these keywords will also boost my article’s traffic potential.
So as well as the primary target, I now have four possible target keywords. As these should ideally stand as individual subheadings, my outline is already a few main points deep.
Another SERP feature I check when researching sub-topics to include on my blog outline is the People Also Ask carousel.
People Also Ask (PAA) queries are great to target for informational articles as they offer another opportunity for clicks outside ranking for your target keyword. It is a good idea to include two or three even for a step-by-step guide like the one we are writing.
What I like is that, while Google only shows a couple of PAA questions as a default, it will suggest more with every selection you make. So I keep clicking those that make sense for my article until I find one that fits perfectly with the angle I intend to take.
Boom. There are a few here that will be great for the outline that I have already mapped out in my mind. By targeting these I know that my article is guaranteed to find readers. It only needs to rank.
These ones jump off the page:
- Why is it important to create an outline before writing?
- How do you write an outline quickly?
It makes sense that my article should discuss the benefits of creating an outline before writing. I can easily address that key reader expectation by offering the benefits as an answer to a PAA keyword I am hoping to optimize for.
This way the keyword embeds more naturally and doesn’t look shoehorned. Two wins in one, and my article outline is taking shape too.
I have also picked the other question query with a very specific purpose in mind. While this article packs tons of value for the reader, it has a bigger product marketing job for the Content At Scale AI writing tool.
As the main takeaway from the article, I want readers to remember that the CAS platform comes with a blog outline generator. That feature – Custom Brief tool in CAS – helps you write blog outlines quickly. It’s a key selling point because, as we see from the PAA search query, people are searching Google for that exact solution.
That question query, or its variation, will be my concluding H2 subheading, under which I will make the case for investing in the Content At Scale AI writing software. After all, this is a product marketing blog.
We pretty much now have the main points of our blog outline. Let’s now see how you can use the Custom Brief tool to put the outline together.
- Draft your outline
If you are doing this manually, you will now be opening your Google Docs and putting all that research from the last two steps into a draft outline.
Since we want to save time for the actual writing, we will let our blog outline generator take over from here. We are using the article’s topic and the keywords we researched as the basis for our outline. After all, the AI will need some context to work with.
Open the Content At Scale AI writer app and navigate to Projects. Then hit the button to add content. That should bring you to this page:
There are two important entries to make here. Right at the top there is a field where you should enter the keyword you want to rank for. This is our topic and primary keyword, which for us is how to write a blog post outline.
Since we are only concerned about the outline in this article, we will not choose a word count. Otherwise, if the AI is writing the article, the word count field offers a dropdown of options to tell the machine how long you want the article to be.
Though this is optional to fill, the additional context field is my favorite feature of the blog outline generator. If you optimize it the right way, it pretty much structures your outline. So I suggest you make the best use of it:
As the screenshot shows, here is what I entered into the additional context field:
Define a blog post outline, discuss the benefits of using a blog post outline when writing an article, and then show, step-by-step, how to write an outline for a blog post. To conclude, briefly discuss the advantages of using a blog outline generator.
That short paragraph of additional context is optimized around the keywords I want the article to cover. Since the AI is trained to do its own research and SERP analysis, there’s a good chance it will optimize my outline around the keywords I am targeting.
Using the additional context I will feed the tool, I can instruct it to target specific keywords and order them in the sequence that gives my outline a logical structure, even if I don’t mention the keywords explicitly.
To illustrate my point, here is what the tool returns as the main points:
That outline’s main points are already ordered the way I feel will give my article the most logical structure. All it needs are a few tweaks to optimize for some of my target keywords.
If you are writing the article yourself, you can simply copy the draft outline and paste it into document editor of choice.
Otherwise, you can click the Create Content Now button so the AI writer can complete the process. After hitting the button, you will be asked to wait a few minutes while the AI writes the article.
Yes, minutes! That’s how fast the AI machine will write a long-form article that will be ready to publish after a quick review.
- Arrange your points logically
Our outline already has a logical flow because of the additional context we fed the AI machine. But in case you don’t add context and the outline generated omits some points or isn’t as logically structured, the custom brief tool offers a few remedies.
If you don’t like the order or wording of the points on your outline, you can toggle the circular arrow icon and the AI will suggest another outline. Don’t like that outline either? Toggle the icon again, and again.
You could also check and remove the points you don’t like, or add custom headings for the points you feel the AI missed.
To highlight this functionality, I am going to add a custom heading for questions people commonly ask about writing blog post outlines. This for me is another opportunity to optimize the guide for a few more PAA keywords.
I prefer to have the H2 heading for the FAQs just above the concluding H2, but I can always move them around during the writing process.
For the actual steps of writing a blog outline, it’s best to add them manually since I will be suggesting that my readers use our tool’s blog outline generator feature. The steps, in this case, are specific to the tool, not general knowledge you could get from Google.
At this point, your blog post outline is all but done. But if you wish, you can go a step further and:
- Break your main points into subtopics
As you write or during the optimization process, you may decide to add an H3 or H4 heading to optimize for a secondary keyword target, address a sub-topic, or break up a long section of the text.
That is OK because the original outline is only there to order your thoughts and guide your writing process, not something you will be graded on.
In any case, the CAS content brief will only list your article’s main points as H2 headings. If the AI is writing the article, you will have to add the H3s and H4s during the optimization process.
Ideally, each H2 heading should have 2-3 sub-points. For some of these, consider writing them as bullets. This makes the information more digestible.
- Write your first draft
With your outline ready, it’s time to write your first draft. Expand on each point that you wrote down, and then connect each point with the next for a seamless flow.
While you can write your own posts, it can be hard to find the time. And, if you go that route, it is hard to find and manage writers that produce long-form articles at a consistent level of quality.
A long-form AI writer like Content At Scale allows you to scale your content production and publishing without sacrificing quality.
As well as generate an outline to order your main points and write the article, the Content At Scale AI writer can do a lot more, including adding:
- Key takeaway boxes that summarize your article for busy readers,
- Click to tweet links that encourage readers to share your content,
- FAQ boxes that help Google understand what your article is about so it can show it to the right people,
- Automatic internal and outbound links that help readers learn more about the topic and assist Google to easily discover your content.
The AI will also generate a table of contents with jump links that help readers quickly navigate to the parts of the article that most interest them.
The AI writes in a conversational tone, which means the content is human-like and passes AI detection checks. And with the market-leading plagiarism checker, Copyscape built into the tool, you can also be sure your articles are original.
Since the CAS app gives you the option to add keywords in bulk, your article comes fully optimized for your target keywords. But just to infuse some character and brand voice, you may weave in a few personal stories, add images, and make a few editing touches before you publish the article.
Below is the editing framework we have developed at Content At Scale that we use for the articles we produce under our DFY services:
Speaking of publishing, if you are using the WordPress CMS, you can publish the article on your site without leaving the CAS app. We have a WordPress plugin for that.
Oh, and your subscription also comes with metadata and featured image links that are synced to your WordPress site.
All in all, CAS’s bundle of long-form AI writing features ensures that the articles it generates are pre-optimized for organic search, comprehensive, and easy to digest. As of now, we don’t know any other long-form AI writer with this level of functionality.
Content At Scale radically streamlines the standard blog post workflow, saving you hours of time. The AI writer shrinks the cost of a 3,000-word article that would take an accomplished SEO writer hours – even days – to research and write shrinks to an average of USD20.
FAQs – How to Write an Outline for a Blog Post
Why is it important to create an outline before writing?
A blog post outline organizes your thoughts and lends a logical structure to your blog post. The ordered structure focuses your mind on the topic you are tackling and gives the final product a smooth flow that helps your readers to easily digest your content.
How do you write a content outline?
The first step in writing a blog post outline is to decide your blog post’s topic, usually through an intentional keyword/topic research process. With your topic decided, you will then create a list of supporting ideas.
Those two steps will produce a rough outline that you will then review, adjusting and organizing the main points into a logical structure.
How do you write an outline quickly?
The quickest way to write an outline is to have your topic and main points fully researched before sitting down to write the outline. An even faster way is to use an AI-powered blog post generator.
The Content At Scale AI writer’s Custom Brief tool, for example, generates an outline with the input of just your primary keyword or main topic and a few lines of text for additional context.
Streamline Your Writing Process With A Blog Outline Generator
A well-structured blog post outline is not a frivolous, optional step but an essential, professional technique that separates unique content from generic, ho-hum online material.
For writers, creating an outline before writing ensures you stay on topic, saves you time when writing, and ensures that the final product is comprehensive and has a coherent flow.
As a publisher, learning how to write a blog post outline quickly can help you understand what your clients want, effectively assign tasks, and cut down on your lead times.
Using a blog outline generator like the Content At Scale AI writer’s Custom Brief tool will save you time and streamlines the writing process even more. With the outline ready, the AI writer will take over and generate a nearly publish-ready long-form informational article in minutes.The Content At Scale AI writer is still in beta but it is already the best long-form AI writer on the market. Sign up here for early access and get started scaling your content production and publishing right away.