The Power of Outlining: Top Tips to Craft an Effective Content Outline
Writing blogs and other B2B marketing copy is not for the faint of heart. According to some estimates, it takes around two to four hours to compose a piece of publish-ready content. Fortunately, you can streamline your writing workflow and save countless hours by crafting an effective content outline.
Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of planning your content and discuss some actionable tips you can use to write a great outline. We also explore the question “What is B2B writing?” and reveal how these services can help you take the hassle out of creating content.
What’s a Content Outline and Why Should I Use One?
Think of a content outline as the foundation of your copy. It should include the title of the piece, along with major subheadings.
You can also add a one-sentence prompt underneath each subheading to convey what you plan to cover in each section. Including text underneath your subheadings is particularly useful if you intend to outsource the writing process to B2B content writers.
Whether you outsource or not, content outlines are valuable organizational tools that can streamline the writing process. An outline will help you save time, write faster, keep your thoughts focused and relevant, and create higher-quality content. If you aren’t using outlines, it’s time to start.
4 Tips to Help You Create an Effective Content Outline
Now that you know why you need to be using content outlines, here is how you create an effective one:
1. Identify Your Purpose and Audience
Before you type a single letter into your document, identify the purpose behind the piece and the target audience. For instance, suppose that you are writing a how-to blog for one of your products. Your purpose would be to educate, and your audience would include prospective customers who are unfamiliar with your offerings.
After you identify your purpose, you can choose a topic and title. You should also select which keywords you want to target and ensure that they are relevant to both your audience and your chosen topic. Then, you can decide how long you want the content to be.
2. Develop a Clear Structure and Organization
Next, develop a clear structure for your piece. List some major sections that you want to include in your outline, and then arrange those subheadings in a logical order.
The writing should flow naturally from section to section. If a subheading feels out of place, restructure it or move it — or get rid of it altogether.
3. Break Down Content into Manageable Sections
By this point, you should have a rough outline. However, you will likely find that some topics are too broad and need to be broken down into simpler sections. Structuring your outline into digestible chunks ensures that your content is skimmable and easy to read.
To evaluate whether your sections are manageable, count the subheadings and compare the number to your target word count. An ideal ratio is one subheading for every 100 to 200 words. For instance, if your target word count is 1,000 words, you should have 5 to 10 headings and subheadings, including the title and conclusion.
4. Use Bullet Points and Subheadings Throughout
Finally, incorporate bullet points and H3 subheadings throughout your piece. Bullet points promote content scannability and allow readers to quickly locate specific details they are looking for. Likewise, H3 subheadings can help you dive deeper into complex topics without creating huge chunks of difficult-to-read text.
You don’t need to compose your bulleted or numbered lists just yet. Instead, simply leave yourself a reminder, such as “list benefits as a bulleted list,” so that you remember to include them when you write your content.
Skip the Outline and Bring Your Ideas to Life with Write Collective
Creating a content outline will help a B2B writer bring your concepts to life and generate compelling copy for your marketing campaign. However, if you don’t have the time to compose your content outlines, you can still access a limitless supply of great copy with Write Collective’s B2B content writing services.
What is B2B content writing? You simply partner with our team of talented B2B content writers and let us know what topics you would like to cover, and we’ll do the rest.Write Collective has a dynamic team of writers who specialize in a wide range of industries and niches. Check out our content writing for businesses and explore some of our compelling sample content. We also offer content writing services for digital marketing agencies.