You know how they say that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself? Well, if you tell a writer in detail what it is that you want, the result may exceed your expectations. Providing a copywriter or a content writer with a blog post outline increases the chances of you getting exactly what you wanted and even better.
You might think of creating an outline for a blog post as a daunting task, but the more effort you put into this stage, the more you will be satisfied in the end. And don’t worry if you haven’t written an outline in your life: Raccoon Writing will show you what questions to answer and what information to include. Plus, there’s a template at the end, so keep reading.
What’s a blog post outline?
Just to make sure that we’re on the same page, let’s go through the definition.
A blog post outline, sometimes also called a brief, is a document that contains all information necessary to write a blog post.
This includes the topic, details about the audience, the keywords, internal and external references, inspiration sources, structure preferences and even things the client wants you to omit.
Does every blog post require an outline?
You may be wondering “Can’t the writer figure out what to include in the blog post?” Yes, we can, and we most certainly will do our best to cover the topic even without an outline. But no writer is a psychic (if you’ve found one, by God, introduce us).
You - the marketing manager, the product manager, the CEO - know about your company, business, goals and differentiators more than any contractor will. There may be internal documents or case studies you would like to reference or include. Maybe, something new is about to happen in your company, niche or industry others don’t know about yet. There’s no better way of telling that to a writer than including it in a blog post outline.
Back to the question: yes, writers are perfectly capable of writing a blog post without an outline. But be ready that the result, no matter how good, might not meet your expectations, leading to additional calls, several rounds of edits and extended deadlines.
Who writes the outline for a blog post?
Essentially, anyone who knows a thing or two about the topic and understands the business and marketing goals of the company can write a blog post outline. This includes:
- A marketing or content manager
- A marketer who specializes in the field or industry the blog post is about
- A senior specialist who can also be the subject matter expert for the topic
- A CEO/CTO, especially if it’s a startup or a company without a marketing manager
- A product manager or a project manager if you’re going to cover a particular product/solution
Writers can provide you with a blog post outline too. Just be sure to go through it thoroughly and enrich it with the information that’s related to your business or company.
What does a blog post outline look like?
Basically, a blog post outline consists of three parts:
- The audience part. Includes information about the target audience and their problems.
- The article part. Includes information about the goal, title, length and structure of the piece. This is also the place to include links to additional resources, style guides and other requirements.
- The SEO part. Includes information about the main and additional keywords.
Looks doable, doesn’t it? If you have a content strategy, crafting blog post outlines isn’t going to be a problem for you. Especially with our template.
Blog post outline template
This is the blog post template we at Raccoon Writing share with our clients. You are welcome to download it here.
Before you get down to writing a blog post outline, keep two things in mind:
- You don’t have to answer every question in the template. But know that the more information you provide, the better result you’ll get.
- If you copy or quote paragraphs from other articles, the source (link) has to be included!
|The target audience (TA)||Who is this piece intended for? Provide their positions and seniority levels.|
needs of the TA that need to be covered
|Does the reader have any specific problems/questions/needs we should mention in the piece?|
|The main message/goal of the piece||What is the main topic you want to cover/issue you are raising/question of the reader?|
|Possible title||The possible title of the piece|
|Structure||You can provide:
- H1, H2, H3 titles
- information that needs to be included (your thoughts, someone’s quotes, infographics, images, diagrams)
|Additional resources||Any of your internal resources (case studies, interviews, insights from experts, call minutes or recordings) that will help us cover the topic|
|Text volume||Eg., 800-1000 words/1000-1500 words/1500-2000 words|
|Pieces similar to the ones you want us to write||Include links to similar pieces or resources you liked on the same topic|
|Style guidelines or preferences||Include a link to your style guide (if any). It should include information on the Oxford comma, frontend or front-end, capitalization rules, etc.|
|Internal links to include||Links to your blog articles, case studies, landing pages, interviews with the founders, etc. we should include in the piece.|
|Additional requirements||Enlist all the additional requirements here (eg., picture requirements)|
|Call to action||What do you want the reader to do after they’re finished with the piece (eg., subscribe to the newsletter, contact a particular expert, leave an email, enlist in a course, do nothing (no CTA needed))?|
|Main keywords||Include your main keyword(s) here.|
|Additional keywords||Include your additional keyword(s) here.|
And there you have it. If you follow our blog post outline template, you’ll do a big honor to the writer and yourself. We hope the template will make your life a bit easier. And if you’re looking for someone to cover your content needs, be sure to contact Raccoon Writing. We’ll be glad to help.