How to Create Content Outlines Flawlessly
Learning how to plan and create content outlines effectively will prevent you from missing out on a lot of customer opportunities, keep reading.
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Creating flawless outlines as a starting point to create both long and short forms of content is important. This includes planning and strategizing content flow so that it meets the user intent. If you are creating content right away without actually planning the outlines, you will miss out on a lot of opportunities.
It is strictly important to create content that would rank on Google high. Content promotes your business and gives you an opportunity to acquire new customers.
However, it is impossible to achieve if your content isn’t useful, optimized, and up-to-date.
Therefore, you should be able to create content outlines that can help you on this mission.
In this guide, you will get detailed information on writing content outlines perfectly.
What Do You Need to Know About Content Outline?
A content outline is a plan of your future piece of content. It includes:
- topic-related questions
- long-tail keywords
- promotion of your service or product
- article goal
- approach angle
You might wonder – why you should create an outline for your future post.
There are a few good reasons for this:
- It includes important SEO elements that will help rank your content higher on Google (keywords, content angle)
- It helps gather all your ideas in one place and filter the information down
- You will be able to scale up your writing, as being able to create content outlines is an important skill to have
- You will be able to promote your product indirectly by raising the problem and suggesting your service as the solution (it helps with improving your conversion rate optimization)
How to write a good content outline?
Keep on reading and you’ll find out.
Five Steps to Outline Your Content
Creating a content outline isn’t as hard as you might think. If you know the exact steps to follow, you will be able to succeed. Likely, here are five steps that will help you out.
1. Identify your article’s goal
You can start writing your blog post without having a certain goal. The goals may vary. It depends on a content marketing strategy that follows your general marketing plan. For example, the goals may be the following:
- Increase brand awareness
- Help the audience to understand how to use your product
- Link-building purpose
- Grow your email list
- Rank for target keywords and drive traffic
- Generate leads
Let’s say that you want to write a post on how to create a survey. The goal is “to promote your survey software and create brand awareness.”
The goal is clear. Now, it is time to move to pick target keywords.
2. Run a standard keyword research process
Keyword research is the first step of your SEO process for creating a content outline. This process isn’t difficult – it is not something from the technical SEO area. By picking topic-related keywords, you will be able to rank across search engines and get extra traffic.
Where to start?
First of all, you will need a keyword research tool. One of the tools in the market is Keywords Explorer from Ahrefs. Now, go to the tool and type your target keyword.
This search request gets 4.8K searchers per month. The result looks promising. However, you need to see if your content idea will be able to rank for this keyword.
How to find out this?
There is a “SERP overview” report. It reflects the front page of the search results for the keyword in the question. You can see that the first top-pages spots belong to product pages of authoritative sites.
As you can see, it will be hard to rank for this keyword. Especially, if your site doesn’t have strong SEO metrics.
Likely, you can solve this issue by reviewing the “Keyword ideas” report and finding opportunities with a lower keyword difficulty level.
You figured out that it makes sense to focus on the “how to create a survey in Google forms” search query. This keyword has the following stats – KD 35 and Volume 700.
Follow this process and collect the list of potential keywords you need for your content outline.
3. Work on identifying search intent and article angle
Search intent helps you understand the “why” behind the user’s search. To put it simply, you will be able to find out what people want to find on the web.
Search intent is important. It determines the exact type of content to create for a given keyword.
What are the types of search intent?
There are four main types:
- Commercial investigation
For example, the “find email addresses” keyword belongs to a few types of content – informational and transactional. People search for information that will help to know how to do this action and what service to use in this case.
Besides, if you analyze the majority of the blog posts you’re going to write, they will be of an “informational” (how, when, why, etc.) or “commercial investigation” (best X tools, X vs. Y services) types. The other pages of your sites (not blog pages) will contain content of a “navigational” and “transactional” search intent.
Nevertheless, content creation with a single “informational” intent won’t work without the right content angle.
Take a look at the top SERP results for this search query.
Some of the results are detailed guides. The others – are services to find email addresses.
What can you do then?
You should write the content of an “informational” type but follow the selling angle. Hence, your content outline might look like this:
“The SERP results suggest a mix of blog posts on how to find email addresses and services that help do this. Therefore, the goal is to write a detailed guide that would promote our own toolkit.”
4. USP and title
USP (unique selling proposition) stands for how your blog post differs from the competitors on a level of perception. Plus, USP triggers users to click on your piece of content. If people believe that the blog post title is worth clicking on, they will do it for sure.
Your goal is to make the future piece of content stand out from the crowd.
How to do this?
Check out the “People Also Ask” boxes and figure out what the searchers are looking for as well. Moreover, read topic-related posts across forums (Reddit, Quora) and see what competitors haven’t covered yet.
Finally, brainstorm blog post title ideas to pick the best one.
5. Headings and subheadings
Applying headings and subheadings guarantees making a blog post qualitative and unique. And it is important for on-page SEO activities.
How to prepare headings and subheadings for your topic?
Start with analyzing competitors’ posts from the top SERP results. Pay attention to what sections these blog posts contain.
Then, look at the “People Also Ask” box to see what questions users can use during the process of search. For example, you want to know what people explore on Google about software development.
And last but not least, take a look at the bottom of the page. You will see a “Related searches” box to grab a few additional ideas.
Now, let’s review the example of content outline for the topic “how to create a survey”:
- What is a survey?
- Why is it worth creating surveys for your business (whatever) purposes?
Types of Surveys to Create
- Online surveys
- Paper surveys
- Telephonic surveys
How to Make a Survey
- Choose the right platform
- Make the survey as short as possible
- Don’t ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions
- Randomize your answer options
- Keep your question text neutral
- Use matrix questions
- Align questions and answers to each type of respondent
- Include a ‘red herring’ question to weed out inattentive respondents
It is a rough example of a content outline. You can add extra H3 bullet points per your needs. The more detailed your guide, the more chances to create a written masterpiece.
To Sum Up
A content outline helps write blog posts at scale. A perfect outline means having more chances to rank higher on search engines.
If you still avoid creating outlines for your content, you should reconsider this position.
Instead, follow the tips this guide suggests and start your next content writing by mastering the outline.