Scaling your content creation is a major challenge for most content marketers. As reported by Demand Metric, 48% of marketers see staffing restraints as their greatest setback.
Yet, even if you work with a scaled-down team, there are ways you can fast-track your content creation. Shaping up your editorial calendar and outsourcing your content is one way to do this.
But getting your team to write outlines can be of great help too.
Let your team know this early on in the game and you be short of desirable results. Read on! This article will help you up your game and speed up your content creation.
Why Should You Write Outlines for Your Blog Posts?
You need to have at least some sort of a plan before you set out to write any type of content piece. Otherwise, you run the risk of meandering along the topic with no particular purpose.
And you don’t want that to happen to your articles, right?
With an article outline, your writers will be less likely to stray off the topic. And even if they do, they’ll do it with just the right amount of ‘wrong’.
Nudging your content team to write outlines is smart business for more reasons than one. They’ll be able to strike a balance of neither going too wide nor too deep into their article topics.
Other than that, writing an outline will enable your team to:
- Jump-start their writing process
- Write with better flow
- Create well-outlined, high-quality blog posts
Also, as we’ve hinted in the intro, crafting an outline will help your writers write more quickly. A productivity expert, Stever Robbins uses outlines to be a more prolific writer. And so do the Copyblogger and Quicksprout writing experts. Enough said.
How to Write Briefs that Nudge Your Team in the Right Direction?
Your writers can and should do their share of work to brush up on their writing skills. But how can you as their content manager chip in and assist them to move along their writing as well as prewriting stage?
Here’s the kicker! Encourage your content team to use article outlines. On top of that, make sure you create briefs to give them a nudge in the right direction.
A well-developed brief will make their writing easier and more time-efficient. Besides, it will save everyone’s time, as it cuts down on communication barriers and reduces back and forth communication.
Now, let’s delve into the nuts and bolts of how to craft your briefs so you help your team write great blog post outlines.
Lay Out the Big Idea for the Content Piece
Nobody likes being left to their own devices in uncharted territory with no trace of a signpost. It’s the same with writing content without enough clues to get you started.
So this is where you come in to set clear expectations and give your writers something to work with.
You’ll want to make your brief as granular as a topic calls for it, but you should start with the Big Idea.
The Big Idea serves as the focal point of a blog post article, the main concept the article will talk about. It’s an anchor, so to speak, that keeps your writers out of the “murky waters” of too much tangential talk.
Your writer should respond with a fully-developed outline. Providing you with a summary of points they’ll cover in a given article.
They’ll take the Big Idea and break it down into relevant key points. Next, they’ll add in bullet points to further help them organize their paragraphs as they write.
To illustrate, here’s an example of the Big Idea for our blog article named X Top Property Investor Traps.
Big Idea: Pinpoint common property investment mistakes and provide readers with solutions on how to avoid them.
Also, your writers should use the info provided to work out the user’s search intent and the client CTA. Now, this is very useful! They’re thinking about the impact of their content before they’ve typed a single word on their keyboard.
Include briefs like this in your processes and you’ll reduce the odds the writer will go off on a tangent.
Provide Your Content Writer With Resources
Providing your writers with relevant resources is a huge time-saver. And consequently, it’s a great way to speed up your content creation. It cuts down on their research time. Plus, it gives them something to chew on before writing their outlines.
If you’ve pulled an idea for an article out of your daily read of the industry experts, go on and share your findings with the writer. Pull together a short list of helpful sources: white papers, instructionals, statistics, etc.
The writer can then rely on these resources to figure out an angle you had in mind.
Picking up relevant data early on will give them the confidence to jump-start their writing. Then they can reference them in their finished piece to provide support for their claims. This will add authority to your content.
“Statistics boost your credibility and appeal to rationality. But be careful: Don’t let the numbers undermine the clarity of your message. Only add research results and other numbers if they help clarify your ideas.” Source: Copyblogger
Determine the Word Count
Different content types will call for different word count. Your clients may ask you to write lengthy white papers, ebooks, and case studies. At other times, they might commission a set of short podcasts, social media snippets or short posts for social media fodder.
And although longer content formats are shown to receive more backlinks and social shares, you’ll need to determine the depth for each article. This will depend on the topic.
Article outlines will be of great help here. When you get an outline for review, you’ll be able to see whether the points go toward your intended word count.
For example, if the points don’t cover enough depth, you can ask the writer to edit their points before they’ve already written the article and there’s no turning back. This is how you prevent both the waste of your writer’s time and the waste of your resources.
Now, here’s the HubSpot’s chart that shows the effect of word count on social shares.
Grab Your Blog Post Outline Example
So, how to follow through with your intent to include outlining into your processes? Pitch the idea to your content team. Also, you can share an example of an outline to get them inspired.
Below is an example to help guide your team.
Article Title: X Top Property Investor Traps.
Big Idea: Highlight common property investment mistakes and offer solutions on how to avoid them.
Search Intent: I have money and I think I’m ready to invest in a rental property and earn a rental income, how do I take the risk?
3 Top Property Investor Traps (And How to Avoid Them Now)
Highlight the cost of mistakes in property investment. (Include research data: Residential investment in Australia can bring you up to 8% return on investment per annum.)
How Can Property Investors Build a Property Portfolio?
Tips on how to grow your investment portfolio and the risk/cost of making mistakes.
Common Property Investment Mistakes You’ll Make in the Australian Market (And How to Avoid Them)
Failing to Educate Yourself on Property Investment in Australia
How to Educate Yourself and Become a Successful Property Investor
- Learn State Tenancy Laws (Include source: https://www.tenancycheck.com.au/landlord-information/obligations/landlord-rights-a-state-and-territory-breakdown/)
- Study Australian Property Tax Laws
- Take a Property Investment Course
Making Emotional Property Investment Decisions
- Setting Property Investment Goals
- Familiarizing Yourself with Property Market Trends (Include source: https://www.domain.com.au/research/the-seven-major-property-market-trends-in-the-2020s-920665/
- Learning How to Use the Media
Being a Greedy and Impatient Property Investor
- Create a Goal With an Exit Strategy
- Research the Market Extensively
- Choose Properties With Room for Growth
CTA: Invest like a pro by downloading Lodge Property Investment Ebook. It will offer you all the information you need to get started as a property investor in Australia.
Your Next Step
Time-efficiency and content scalability is a top concern for any content marketer. And using article outlines can help.
Yet, even if you include writing outlines in your processes, staffing restraints can hold you back. You need to generate enough content to increase organic traffic and rank for your target keywords.