This post is part of a series of guest posts authored by popular bloggers and internet business consultants. Today's guest post is written by Matt Powers, an Internet Marketer at Blue Soda Promo.
Long before content became king I learned from some editing royalty what made a great story. To my chagrin my editing mentors never mentioned a chick a mystical creature known as a muse. Instead, they talked of boring attributes such as practice, researching and outlining. Outline…in an instant copywriting world does anyone really write an outline?
By the looks of most of the blogs out there I would say only a few. Outlining isn’t just for fourth graders suffering grammatical torture from English teachers slighted by years of student abuse. It can turn a 140 character Tweet or a 1,000-word blog post into more effective communication. But who has time for the meticulous series of Roman numerals high schoolers are forced to produce? No one, but you can still whip out a fast outline that fits with this fast-pace digital world. In as little as 15 words you can have a blueprint for the simplest or most complicated content you want to produce.
Anatomy of an Outline
An outline is simply a summary of content in list form. Though Stephen King called outlines “the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to god they were writing masters’ thesis,” I suspect he’s talking about the alphanumeric outline. This outline format uses the hierarchical structure and Roman numerals listing that most writers dread. But an outline in itself can be as short or as long as you want it. It’s simply meant to solidify your main points before you start writing. Each time I compose prose I write an outline, but most of the time the outline is written in my head.
Benefits of Outlines for Bloggers
Outlines bring focus, clarity and efficiency to blogs. They help you avoid the tangential by giving you a structure for your thoughts. The benefits of an outline can be seen in paragraph flow. Often blogs have paragraphs are out of place or have misplaced ideas. There are different types of copywriting but a good story has three essential elements – a beginning, middle and end. An outline can help you chart that beginning, middle and end pathway quickly and efficiently.
An Outline that Breeds Brevity
You don’t have to buy a forest full of trees to write your outline. Try this simple 15-word format. Write five sentences of three words. Each word should have subject, verb and noun. All verbs must be action verbs (no forms of “to be”) Follow pattern below:
- Explain Audience Pain.
- Provide Supporting Research.
- Offer Possible Solution (s).
- Inject bolstering evidence.
- Summarize Major Points/Article.
See, outlines can be brief. Try it out and let us know if it helps. Happy writing!
About the Author
Matt Powers is an Internet Marketer at Blue Soda Promo, an online promotional products company. BSP imprints logos on items like sunglasses, tote bags, stress balls, koozies and polo shirts at ridiculously low prices. We make your brand POP!