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  • Amanda

Should you write a blog outline? 72% of bloggers say YES!

Plus introducing the New Surfer SEO Blog Outline Builder.


Creating a blog post outline is an invaluable starting point for writing a blog post. In fact, 72% of bloggers say that creating an outline removes uncertainty when they start writing. If you are looking for a way to get the absolute most reward from your blogging efforts, look no further than blog outlines.


This blog post will discuss why it's so important to plan ahead when you write a blog post, blog post formats and the benefits of using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools to help.

Should you write a Blog Post Outline! 72% of bloggers say yes!


I'll show you how I create my own blog post outlines for my own writing in just a few minutes with the Outline Builder from Surfer SEO. I'll follow this in a separate training with how to take the blog post outline over to Jarvis to complete writing the blog post in half the time with the assistance of an AI copywriter.


I'll show you how I create my own blog post outlines for my own writing in just a few minutes with the Outline Builder from Surfer SEO.

"Its role is to give you a starting point that you can extend"

- Michał Suski, Digital Marketer - Surfer SEO







"It helps you ensure that you have all your key points laid out before you start on the more time-consuming process of actually writing the piece. I am an absolute believer in the school of thought that having a repeatable process helps you create content faster and more consistently." - Amanda Weston - Blogs by Jarvis


What is an outline for a blog?


A blog outline is a document that specifies the main points of an article. This is useful to help writers to structure their content so that it makes sense to the reader. A structured outline also helps to identify whether or not you've covered all the relevant information. A blog post can be long, so it's easy for your mind to wander off-topic - no matter how focused you are.

Blog Post Outlines save time!

Blog outlines save time when you write a blog post

If you're producing content regularly, doing this planning work in advance will pay off by saving you precious time during the writing stage. A good blog post outline helps prevent simple errors like forgetting your target keywords or leaving out important information about your topic. It can also help you maintain a consistent writing style throughout your blog, especially if you are using VA's to help you produce more content.


A blog post outline can be as simple as a list of the main points that you want to cover in your article, or it can be a more complex document that breaks down each section with subheadings and a bulleted list of points.


In some cases, blog outlines will also contain references to supporting data or images, or other articles, which can be helpful when you're placing links in your content.

Why should you write an outline for your blog posts?


Why should you write an outline for your blog posts?


Using blog outlines as part of my content creation means I can easily plan my writing process ahead of time, not just for the blog post itself, but for social media and video content too.


I know that some people might think that blog outlines are just extra work - but they not only save time on the back end but also help the writing process run more smoothly with a step-by-step process.


Having an outline helps you progress from a blank page brain dump to a blog post so that when you start writing, not just this blog post but the next blog post, and the one after that, you have actionable strategies to help grow your successful blog.


Benefits of an outline in blog writing


A comprehensive outline allows you to craft a logical flow to your writing. The outlining process helps you focus on keeping the reader's attention and follow the customer journey as they read your wonderful post.


This, in turn, speeds up metrics like "time-on-page," which is especially important in SEO. Remember, the goal is not just to get your blog post to rank high in the search engines and get found by organic traffic.


The goal is to engage your audience, keep them on your site for longer, and get them to take the next step in their customer journey. Having proper blog post outlines helps you achieve this by ensuring that you get all of the relevant information out there fast and early on in your content, which helps to keep the reader engaged for longer.


Consider it the first draft of your blog post. You'll be surprised how quickly you can create a blog post once you have a blog post outline for your new blog!


Benefits of an outline in blog writing


Do you really need a blog outline?


No. If you are an experienced freelance writer, you may already have the entire process mapped out in your head from your years of experience.


You might instinctively be able to include keyword phrases and interesting data in your writing. You may be so dialed into your target audience that you write exactly what the search engines would like to see, ranking your articles high in Google search and attracting organic traffic.


But if you are reading this blog post, yes, you probably do need a blog post outline. If you're not sure where to start or if your head is swimming with too many possibilities, read on and find out how to create a solid outline for your blog content in minutes.


Where do I start?


Before you start outlining - do the research first.


And then do some more research.


Spend hours doing research!


There's nothing worse than spending hours writing an outline, only to discover later that the topic has already been overdone by an industry competitor or the information you gathered is not actually accurate.


A few places to look when doing your research include:

- Google search results

- Quora posts on the same topic

- Social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook groups for professionals in your industry

- Your email inbox for messages from readers or messages in your social media inbox

Google search results


These days, you can also use tools like Buzzsumo to see what's hot and current. These resources will help give you the latest information on your topic, as well as any new ideas and angles that not everyone has covered yet.


Keyword Research


Start by brainstorming keywords that are relevant to your blog content topic. Identify long-tail keywords that are less competitive, as well as a list of trends, topics, and questions people are asking around your topic idea and focus keyword.


For example, if your blog post is about the beach, you might come up with some keywords like surfboards, beach houses, surf lessons.


Search Volume


Research the popularity of those keywords and how often they are searched with Google Keyword Planner.


Competitor Analysis


Spend a little time looking at the blog posts your competitors are writing and see what they're covering.


How many other sites are ranking for these keywords? Do a quick search on Google to find out if you can rank for that keyword phrase, or is it too competitive?


Trending Data


Next, look at the data to see what has been trending in your space or industry lately - what are people talking about?


Target Audience


Consider who you want to read the post and make sure your keywords and style match their expectations. What will keep them interested?


If the keyword phrase I want to rank in Google for has high search volume and low competition, then I would write my blog post outline with this keyword phrase in mind.


Audience for your Blog Post


What should be included in a blog post outline?


A blog post outline should always have a title, even if you start with a working title, an introduction, the main body copy, a conclusion, and a call-to-action. This gives you a blog outline template to work to for your final post.


The structure of each particular post may change based on the type of blog posts and the intent, but a basic outline template would look something like this:


Blog Post Title


The title of your post should be snappy, enticing, and contain the exact keyword you want to rank for.


Introduction


Your introduction should be a summary of your blog post in a sentence or two, with a cliffhanger element (hook) that makes them not want to leave without reading the rest of your article.


Headings and Subheadings


These provide the flow of content creation. Make sure to include your keyword once or twice, and if you've done enough research, include some longer-tail keywords too.


Main Body Copy


Each H2 / H3 heading needs 2 - 5 paragraphs of text. These provide the meat of your blog content and are where you go in-depth about your topic. They will include each key point about the subject matter you have decided to include from your topic deep research.


Bullet List


Bullet points are for specific items that do not require longer explanations. They include brief, one-sentence explanations using keywords where possible and break up the main body copy to make it easier to read.


FAQ


A frequently asked questions section is where you include the answers to relevant questions that are being asked around your topic idea and focus keyword and the topical and trending information that will be of interest to your target audience.


Conclusion


The last paragraph of your blog post should sum up the main points and give a call-to-action. The call-to-action could be subscribing to a newsletter, signing up for a free trial, or purchasing a product. You can bring your post full circle with the conclusion by referencing the hook in your blog post intro.

The last paragraph of your blog post should sum up the main points and give a call-to-action


Who uses an outline to plan their blog posts?


Online businesses, bloggers, marketers, and freelancers may find value in creating a blog post outline to save time writing.


How do I write a great blog post outline?

You have to lay the foundations for your content creation and the structure for each particular section. The more detailed the outline, the simpler creating the content is.


With the new Outline Builder tool from our friends at Surfer SEO, I'll show you how to create a blog post outline in less than 5 minutes.


I use Surfer SEO to outline my own blog posts, and the Article Outline Builder creates outlines for me at the click of a button! It's so easy it feels like cheating!


Another way is to use a Jarvis Recipe, which is essentially a blog post outline template.


Thankfully there are tools out there that help us create great blog posts with just a few clicks.


Outline your blog posts with Surfer's outline builder

Create your blog post outline with the best SEO tool - Surfer!


Surfer has one of the quickest and easiest blog outline builders I've ever used, so if it's starting to be a real struggle to write your blogs, you might consider giving it a try yourself.


It's not just for creating a blog outline, though! You can use the same outlining process for a landing page, a sales funnel, or any other type of content you want to write.


It's really easy to use, and you can get your outline done, usually in under ten minutes. I'm going to walk you through exactly how it works and how it makes blogging for your business easier.


With the Blogs by Jarvis exclusive trial offer, you can try Surfer out risk-free for 30 days

Surfer is the most powerful and easy-to-use SEO software on the market. With the Blogs by Jarvis exclusive trial offer, you can try it risk-free for 30 days with unlimited NLP credits and access to an SEO Masterclass worth $199* - all for just $1!


Take 30 days to decide whether or not this is the right product for your writing process

Take 30 days to decide whether or not this is the right product for your needs before committing to anything long-term. You'll also have access to unlimited NLP credits so that you can get started ranking in Google today!


You can skip to the video now or follow the training step-by-step below.


What is Surfer Brief (Surfer Outline Builder)?


Next to the Guidelines tab, you'll see the tab for Surfer Outline Builder & Brief. This is where you can begin to build your outline.


The Outline tab contains the outline builder (titles, headings), and topics and questions (people also asked). The Brief tab shows the selected competitors.


Let's start in the Surfer Content Editor, where I have set up the blog post for the target keyword "how to organize kitchen cabinet" based on my keyword research.


Understanding the Surfer guidelines tab


In the top right-hand corner of the screen, you'll see the Guidelines tab with the Content Score, which is currently at one because we've not written any content yet!


Understanding the Surfer guidelines

Content Score


The Content Score contains the information needed to guide the blog post outline based on the target keyword or keyword phrase: the suggested word count, how many headings (H1, H2, etc.) and paragraphs should be used, as well as the preferred number of images for this blog post.


Surfer Content Score


The guidelines are based on the content from competitor analysis of articles that rank in the top positions of the SERPs (search engine results pages).


To see which competitors have been selected, you can click on the gear icon above your keyword.


The five most relevant competitors are selected by default when you set up the content editor, and you have the option to toggle on and off various competitors as well as make other adjustments to the settings, which I have covered in a previous training. You'll see their content score and domain authority, which influences their position in the first page of the search engines.

Surfer Organic Competitors


Below the content score, you'll see the suggested keywords to use in the blog post, along with the number of each time each one should be used. You can view ALL keywords, the ones to use in headings, or NLP (terms from Natural Language Processing).

Surfer Keywords


Surfer Outline


The Outline contains headings and unique paragraphs generated from analyzing top-ranking competitors for the target keyword(s). Using these suggestions will help you outline your article faster than ever.



You don't need to worry that someone will write another article with the same outline. The AI-generated content is unique. I'll be showing you how to pick and choose what you want to use from this content, how to rewrite it, or simply employ it as a prompt in Jarvis to expand the blog post content further to meet the word count.


Surfer Blog Outline Builder in action!


I'm going to write an article on "how to organize kitchen cabinets."


In this example, you'll see Surfer AI-generated 2 Titles (H1), 44 Headings (H2), and 28 Subheadings (H3-H6). All the content is unique.