Today’s post is a guest post from Sarah Arrow from Sarkemedia. Blogging is one of the fastest ways to grow your business, and in this post, you’ll find out how to create your blog posts faster using this powerful outlining technique
You have a meeting to go to. The car needs fuel, you haven’t had lunch yet and you’re worried about the sales aspect of your business. You know you should be marketing your business more, but if you haven’t got the time for fundamentals like living, then how the heck are you going to find time to blog?
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Sure you could get up an hour earlier to make time, but that would mean getting up at 3am, an hour after you’ve gone to bed… There has to be a better way to get your blog posts out of your head, down your arm, and onto the keyboard.
And there is.
Outlines, or outlining is a fantastic way of being able to create your content faster. Your outline can be the structure of a blog post or a loose script for a video. The outline provides the structure for your content and you can fill it in over and over and over again. What’s not to love about that? It’s working smarter, not harder.
What do you need to create outlines?
I outline in two ways, but there’s also a third way which we’ll cover further down in this post. For the first way you’ll need a pen and paper or you’ll need a Word (or Mac equivalent) document,
You know roughly how long your blog post will be; roughly 500 words, and the standard outline will have five paragraphs made up of an introduction, a body of three paragraphs, and then your summary or conclusion.
Of course, the outline itself will vary but when you’re starting out or in a rush the outline described above is perfect.
And this is exactly what you type or write:
Introduction – One Paragraph containing
Three Paragraphs in Body
Each of these three paragraphs should concentrate on a different aspect of the main topic.
Each paragraph should open with the idea of the coming paragraph. The rest of the paragraph should support that statement with statistics, stories, quotations, or supporting ideas. And where you use these, you need to add in your sources too. I make a note like *research here* as I write my outline.
Remember to transition between paragraphs so that the words flow from one paragraph to the next. The quickest way to do this is with bridging or transitional phrases like
I use this post here as an inspiration for my transitional words; you can never have too many in my opinion.
An effective conclusion ties up what you’ve said, and when it’s well written, it leaves the reader with something to remember along with the feeling of closure.
The Call To Action
This is where you encourage your reader to take action and I tend to write in big letters “CTA”. It’s quicker.
Decide on whether you will use an app (yes there are heaps of mind mapping apps) or some software. You can use a pen and paper if you’re not experienced with mind maps, and you may just prefer to hold a pen in your hand. I know I do. If you’re an experienced mind mapper you already know about outlining as it forms the framework for your map!
Freemind is software that allows you to organize your ideas and reorganize them as you go along. You can get the software for free at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page.You can use Freemind for things like product creation, webinars, ebooks, etc., but here we’ll use it to organize ideas for a blog post.
The topic, for the purpose of this article, is outlining with ideas for an introduction, three paragraphs in the body, and a conclusion.
With a mind map, you can add topics and subtopics, move them around, or delete them on the screen easily. Mindmaps are flexible and easy to use.
The third way… If you’re familiar with PowerPoint (like I am) then you can use that to create your mind map.
If you’re a writer, you sit down and write. If you’re a blogger then you sit down and blog. And sometimes you just can’t find the time to either write or blog. Mindmaps and outlining will speed up the entire process. Have you tried it?
PS Want to join us in the blogging challenge? Join up here – it’s free. Everyone is welcome from Fitness bloggers to business bloggers.
Kevin Arrow is the CEO of the Online Visibility Academy where ethical entrepreneurs can train in digital marketing skills
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