Ever had that moment when you thought you had all you need to write your masterpiece – just to be stopped point-blank by what people would often attribute as a ‘writer’s block’? Oh it happens. Brilliant ideas do fly away. Outlines are how to pull them own from the sky – to be written out in a grand, orderly manner.
Shakespeare didn’t have a computer before. He didn’t have a typewriter either. He had a pen (probably a quill pen), a piece of paper, a brilliant idea, and brain to organize it all and write it out.
He had an outline.
You should too.
Typing paragraphs on a blank page is not easy. Unless you’re inspired… or high. The point is, those times rarely come. And even when they do, it’s not too easy to make a harmonious write-up.
Freely typing your ideas just won’t work. You will keep going back – editing your stuff.
Probably even re-write the whole thing.
Structuring your Thoughts
Writing an outline is crucial – it dictates the flow of your story, it creates order in your words, it emanates logic sense in your article. It gives your readers that smack-down approach to what you want to bring to their table.
So how do you do it?
Know your Readers
Your outline resonates to your writing voice throughout the whole article. Knowing your readers is an excellent way of knowing how to write your article. If you didn’t know yet, the world is full of picky people. And the fact of the matter is, these people have tons and tons of choices – and those choices are just a click away.
Knowing who your readers are enables you to cater your outline to them – catering your entire story to tailor-fit their wants.
Then their choices would be limited to you.
Structure your outline to who your readers are.
Ask yourself what you Want
There is a ‘want’ that exists with your readers. The reason why you are writing is to cater to that ‘want’. So the best thing to do is to wear your reader’s hat and ask yourself questions like: “What would I want to read about?” , “Does this interest me?”, “What am I looking for?”
The reason why I came up with this content marketing series is because there is a huge ‘want’ in this area right now with a lot of up-coming SEO specialists.
You should do the same with your audience.
People are looking for free info for the simple reason that it exists. I’m sorry to bring this up to you but you’re not the only brilliant writer out there who can write about what you’re good at. There are tons of other people who can do the same.
The difference between you and them is how well you can cater to your audience. How well you can ask yourself what you want – and write an outline that caters to it.
There is that magical “Step 1″ that so often eludes us. That “Step 1″ is critical – especially when writing your outline. How well you roll-out “Step 1″ directs the rest of your audience’s learning. Oftentimes Content Marketers make the mistake of starting in the middle of a process or a tutorial. They can’t be more wrong.
When you write your outline, write it like you’re telling your content to a kid. Start with Step 1. If you can’t finish it to the last step, that’s okay, you can write it on the next entry. Please, for Don’t start in the middle.
Give them a Takeaway
A great outline should end with a powerful way to leverage call its intended audience to action. Content that does not have a key takeaway is content that is passive. You don’t want passive content. You want content that can move people.
Great content doesn’t start when you’re already typing in your keyboard. It starts with an outline.
Want more tips on writing content? Check out our Content Strategy Tutorial over at SEO School!