Outline a blog post
1. Write down your target keyword or search query, the goal of your article, your target user or audience segment, and their search intent at the top of the document.
For example, the target query could be “Conversion optimization tools”. The goal of the article could be to convert the visitor to a paying customer for your CRO tool. The target user could be a CRO professional working in a corporation, and their search intent could be to find a CRO tool that meets their needs. Start writing the title and body of the article under this section to keep focus on the target user and goal of the blog post. If your blog post is repurposed from a video, infographic, report or raw data, add a link to this resource as well.
2. Write down your working title-Include options that are search focused (keyword driven), emotionally charged and better suited to social distribution.
For example, this can be your target keyword/query for now or a more detailed title, such as “How to x”, “Step-by-step guide to x”, numbered list, “Why x”, “Everything you need to know about x”, “Mistakes to avoid when x”, “x vs y”, etc.
3. Google the working title to see the structure of the top 3 ranking posts-add the links in your working document to analyze the quality of the content.
For each post, write down the title, headings used, the keyword variations included in the title and headings, and the length of the sections. Ask yourself: Is it in-depth, with practical examples and details? Or is it just describing the topic in broad lines and only scratching the surface?
4. Choose a content type based on the collected information.
If the top 3 posts are in list format, you might want to create a list article too, as these are probably matching the search intent of the users the best. Choose one of these formats: Guide to; Step-by-step tutorial; Numbered list; How to; Why and how; Beginner guide; When should you; Mistakes to avoid; X vs Y; Pros and cons; the simple way to.
5. Based on your chosen content type, write down the headings for the main sections you want to cover and use H2 headings.
General sections that can be included in all content types include: Summary – which can be used as meta description and snippet for the blog main page; Introduction – which describes the problem or pain point; what you will learn – for a tutorial or guide; Prerequisites – for an advanced topic where background knowledge is needed; Conclusion and More resources – for internal or external links. The headings for the body of the article will depend on the chosen content format. For example, for the “x vs y” format, you can have the following headings: Overview of [tool x] Overview of [tool y] Feature A – tool x vs tool y Feature B – tool x vs tool y, Pricing – tool x vs tool y, etc.
6. Write down a few bullet points that you want to cover for each heading and section outlined.
These sections should be about 500 words in length. For example, a 2,000-word article should contain three or four. Use Heading 3 for subsections within a main section, and so on.
7. Write down your CTA - what you want the user to do - at the end of your outline.
8. Write a two or three sentence introduction that includes the main pain point you’re trying to solve, the way you plan to solve it, and key aspects of that plan.
9. Review your outline to make sure it’s aligned with the goal, target audience and search intent, before you start writing the content.
If your blog post needs to be reviewed by someone else, keep the information about the target user and goal of the article at the top. This will help them provide feedback and make revisions with the outcome in mind.