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How To Write a Blog Post Outline That Makes Writing a Breeze

Stop writer's block in its tracks with a well researched blog outline! Here's what you need to know to help you create quality blog outlines time and time again.

Jan 22, 2024

9 m read

Blog posts are a valuable way to drive traffic to your website, but when the posts lack focus, wander off topic, or don’t have a point, they become missed opportunities to engage customers. Whether you’re the one tapping out words on the keyboard or you have a team of writers executing content, it’s always best to use a blog post outline to keep your content creation on track.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to write a blog post outline that streamlines your content creation from start to finish. This simple but effective tool kickstarts the writing process and keeps everyone organized — no matter how many hands your content passes through prior to publication. You’ll find a free blog outline template and blog outline examples at the end so you can implement these strategies right away.

Why You Need a Blog Outline

A blog outline lays out the structure of an article, including section headers and key points to address. It maps out the content and provides clear instructions to your writers. Think of an outline as turn-by-turn directions — ensuring key points are covered to satisfy your business goals and the reader’s needs.

You might feel a blog outline is extra and unnecessary work. Why spend time writing about what to write, when you can simply dive in and start? The reality is that the most effective content is often planned before you even begin writing. Here’s what a well-crafted outline can help you do.

Focus On Your Goals

Most businesses have a purpose when publishing a blog — it might be to rank on search engines, provide customers with information, or promote a product. Blog outlines ensure your objective isn’t lost during the writing phase, keeping your content marketing laser-focused on the end result.

Create a Logical Structure

Blog outlines are useful for providing a big-picture overview. Use an outline to create a blueprint for the article, keep related ideas together, and build on arguments toward a conclusion. You can see if concepts flow logically, ideas are repeated, or there are gaps that need to be filled in to ensure everything makes sense to the reader. It’s much easier to organize concepts at an outline stage than after you’ve written 2,500 words.

Stay On Topic

Sometimes, writers can get caught up in the details and drift from idea to idea. An outline sets boundaries and determines the topics to cover before you start writing. Of course, writers should be given leeway to add points they discover during their research if it strengthens the blog post and makes it more valuable to readers. But the piece needs to remain cohesive and organized — with an outline, it’s easier to tell if new ideas fit into the scope of the post and naturally fall into one of the planned sections, or if they’re beginning to stray from the core topic.

Satisfy User Intent

With Google’s Helpful Content update, it’s more important than ever to provide insightful, useful content to readers. You should always consider what a user is searching for before starting to write. An effective blog outline guides a writer through the key points needed to explore a topic in depth to satisfy the searcher’s query.

Enhance SEO

Search engines use H2, H3, and H4 headings to understand the content of a post and how sections are related. Structure your outline with headings and subheadings to organize the topic. This helps Google to index the article accordingly and match the content to relevant search queries, boosting SEO and helping drive traffic to the blog.

Increase Writer Productivity

Even the most seasoned writers can struggle to write a blog post when faced with a blank screen, especially for longer, in-depth articles. A blog outline narrows a topic into manageable chunks, giving writers a concrete place to start and a plan to follow. This simplifies the writing process, as they’re now spending less time getting to know a topic and deciding which points to address and more time focused on answering precise questions and fleshing out each section of the outline. This guidance is especially useful with specialized subjects that writers may not be familiar with.

In addition to making writing faster and more efficient, outlines are helpful for time management and motivation. Instead of aiming for a set amount of words, which can be hard to visualize, writers can progress through a blog post systematically and chart their progress toward a goal.

Increase Reader Engagement

Once readers click through to your article from social media or SERPs, you have the rare opportunity to engage them and keep them on your site for longer. With a thoughtfully planned blog outline, you’re more likely to end up with a clear, easy-to-read piece that hits key messages and delivers what’s promised.

Clearly organized sections improve user experience, making it effortless for readers to scan and find the information they’re seeking. A high-quality article that delivers a great experience is more likely to be shared with others — while a disorganized piece may cause users to flee the site.

Scale Your Content Output

Each blog post you publish is a new opportunity to rank in SERPs and attract customers to your site. It’s easier to boost your output when you have a team of writers and provide each one with a blog post outline. These templates help you maintain a consistent format and style while keeping the quality of the final product high.

How To Write a Blog Post Outline

Now that you know why a little planning can pay off in the long run, let’s look at how to outline a blog post. Don’t forget there are blog outline examples at the end to show this outlining process in action and a blog post outline template you can customize as your own.

1. Identify the Purpose

It’s hard to write an impactful blog post if you don’t know where you want to end up. Before you begin writing, be sure you have a clear sense of the purpose of the article and why you’re creating it in the first place. Think about your target audience and what they want to know, and tie their needs to your business objectives so that you have a clear call to action.

For example, an educational toy company might decide to target parents at the top of the marketing funnel by creating a piece about the importance of children learning STEM skills. The purpose could be to raise awareness of how toys such as building blocks and chemistry sets teach these skills, with the goal of inviting parents to explore the blog to learn more.

2. Use Keyword Research To Determine Topic

Each blog post should center on a keyword theme, which is a group of related search terms that people who are interested in that topic might search on Google. This helps you shape your content to match multiple queries, as not everyone uses the same phrases. Our toy company, for example, might decide to target keywords such as “STEM activities for kids,” “what are STEM activities,” and “how do you engage kids in STEM.”

It’s also important to consider user intent at this stage and what information searchers are looking for when they use the search phrases. For example, someone searching for “what are STEM activities” is looking for more general information about STEM activities, while a keyword like “best STEM toys for kids” is likely someone looking to make a purchase. Looking at the different keywords, determine the main topic of the blog post and the specific angle you’ll take to address the subject.

3. Research the Topic

Perform preliminary research using competing sites that are currently appearing in SERPs for the keywords, as well as authoritative industry sources. This information will help you cover the topic thoroughly and identify subtopics. The goal is to create an in-depth and substantial article for readers. Write down the key ideas and points you come across.

Keep an eye out for statistics that back up your argument or unique insight that makes your content stand out. How can your content improve on what’s already been published? Even better, draw on your own expertise or studies to make the content more valuable to users. Add your sources to the content brief — a document that gets into details such as tone and style — to give your writers resources to draw on as they craft their piece. Just remember not to link to statistics from direct competitors in your blog post, as you don’t want potential customers moving on to their page instead of sticking with yours.  

4. Build Headings and Subheadings

With your list of ideas in hand, start to shape the blog post outline. Group relevant ideas together and look for headings and subheadings that give your blog post a logical structure. Start each section with a broadly based point and use subheadings to elaborate.

I’ll give a quick blog outline example here. Let’s say an HR company is creating a post about employee training programs. They want to discuss why companies should invest in training, and in the course of their research, they identified several reasons. This research can translate into the following section header and subheaders in the blog post outline:

  • H2: Why Your Business Should Invest in Professional Development
    • H3: Maximize Each Employee’s Potential
    • H3: Boost Job Satisfaction
    • H3: Provide Attractive Recruitment Incentive

5. Add Supporting Details

Now you can add bullet points to flesh out the headings and subheadings as a guide to the type of information you want included. You may not always need this level of detail, but it does point writers in the right direction. There’s less room for interpretation when you provide more instructions.

For example, you might add these points to one of the subheadings from above:

  • H3: Boost Job Satisfaction
    • Employees learning new skills are more engaged
    • Employees feel more loyal to a company that believes in and invests in them

6. Review and Revise

The beauty of an outline is that you can get a sense of whether the piece will work as a complete article before you’ve even written it. Once you’ve outlined the article, read through it for logic and flow.

  • Does every point relate to your original topic and angle? If not, you may need to save tangential points for another article.
  • Are there weaknesses or gaps in the flow of information? You might need to add a section with more details.
  • Is there an impactful point that should be made earlier?
  • Does the article end strong and naturally lead to your call to action?
  • Will readers have questions that you can answer to make your article more satisfying?
  • Does the content flow logically from topic to topic? 

Take this opportunity to add or move sections if needed to keep the article coherent. It’s much easier to tweak the structure of your blog now than after you’ve researched and written parts that don’t fit. You might also come across other important ideas at this point that you can add to strengthen the post.

7. Brainstorm a Title

At this stage, you’ll have a solid sense of what the completed article will cover. Your final step is to give the article a descriptive title that reflects the content and what users will gain from reading the blog post. You’ll want it to stand out to draw readers in. Use powerful words to capture a reader’s attention, create curiosity, or generate emotion.

8. Entrust Your Blog Post Outline to Your Writing Team

Now that your blog post outline is in place, anyone from your writing team can jump in and get started. Based on your research and planning, writers can work through the piece section by section with a clear idea of what’s needed to deliver the key messages and produce a polished, finished product.

Blog Outline Examples

The following blog outline examples showcase a simple structure for organizing the topics you want covered in a piece of content.

Blog Outline Example #1

Here’s a basic blog outline example showing the type of text to include:

  • Post Title: Share a catchy title
    • Introduction
    • H2: Section heading #1
      • List anything you want to be covered under this subheading. If you feel additional subheadings are necessary, share them in descending header order
      • H3: Subheading #1
      • H3: Subheading #2
        • H4: Detailed Subheading #1
        • H4: Detailed Subheading #2
    • H2: Section heading #2
      • List anything you want to be covered under this subheading. If you feel additional subheadings are necessary, share them in descending header order
      • H3: Subheading #1
      • H3: Subheading #2
    • H2: Section heading #2
      • CTA

Pretty simple, right? Your blog outline is really a tool to organize your knowledge and research in a way that’s clear and easy for your writers to parse so they can create excellent content.

Blog Outline Example #2

Let’s flesh out the blog outline example above. Here’s an example of a blog outline for a post on home office organization:

  • Title: 5 Tips for Organizing Your Home Office
    • Introduction: Introduce the topic of home office organization and why it’s important for productivity and mental health.
    • H2: Tip #1: Declutter and Purge
      • Explain the importance of getting rid of unnecessary items and how it can help to create a more organized space.
      • Provide tips for how to declutter and purge, such as creating a “keep,” “donate,” and “trash” pile.
    • H2: Tip #2: Create a Filing System
      • Discuss the importance of having a filing system in place to keep important documents and papers organized.
      • Offer tips for setting up a filing system, such as using labeled folders and creating a schedule for regularly purging old documents.
    • H2: Tip #3: Utilize Storage Solutions
      • Explain how using storage solutions, such as shelves, drawers, and bins can help to keep the home office organized.
      • Offer suggestions for different types of storage solutions, such as using a file cabinet for papers and a desk organizer for small office supplies.
    • H2: Tip #4: Make Use of Vertical Space
      • Discuss how utilizing vertical space, such as wall shelves or hanging organizers, can help to save space and keep the home office organized.
      • Provide examples of different types of vertical storage solutions, such as a wall-mounted whiteboard or a hanging file holder.
    • H2: Tip #5: Personalize and Decorate
      • Emphasize the importance of personalizing the space and making it visually pleasing to help create a more enjoyable and productive work environment.
      • Offer tips for decorating the home office, such as adding plants, framed artwork, or a colorful rug.
    • H2: Ready To Be More Productive?
      • Encourage readers to implement the tips to organize their home office.
      • Provide links to additional resources, such as home office organization products or other related blog posts.
      • CTA: Download our guide to killer checklists to 10x your productivity!

This listicle blog post format is great for sharing tips, trends, and steps.

Blog Outline Template

Here’s a free blog post outline template for you to save to your Google Drive. Make a copy, rebrand it, and fill it out to improve the content you get back from your writers.

Build Your Blog Outline With Our SEO Content Ebook

Now that you have the tools you need to outline your next blog post, download our SEO content ebook to build out your content marketing strategy!

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