While I love seeing a long list of blog post title ideas, full of promise, there is a dark curse lurking within my editorial calendar – one that has plagued me in other years.
Like any smart business blogger, I try to start each year by pre-populating an editorial calendar of topics or titles. This way, I get a head start on meeting my goal of producing a particular volume of content – both for Content Mastery Guide and for blogs where I am a guest author.
Fast forward a few months, and it’s time to sit down and work on my next blog post. Consulting my editorial calendar for the topic I planned, I may face several daunting thoughts:
“What am I going to write about that?”
“Why would anyone care about this topic?”
“What was I thinking?”
The Linda of July or October tries to channel back the thought process of the Linda of last December, but it’s no use, and I’m back to staring at a blank page trying to think of a new topic. It’s almost as if I never had an editorial calendar at all.
The trick, I’m finding, is to not stop with the title or topic idea, but to develop that further into an outline.
Five things to include in a blog post outline
When you’re still in that juicy, creative, brainstorming mode, capture these five important elements of your topic idea:
- Premise – What is the one main point you want to get across in this blog post?
- Promise – Why is this idea important to your ideal customer? How will applying this idea improve their life or business? Hint: You can turn your premise and promise statements into your post’s description – what gets displayed in search engine results, RSS readers, and on your blog’s archive page.
- Sub-headings – What are two or three related ideas that support your main point?
- Bullets or numbers – For a list post, you may just have one sub-heading that is the name of your list (like this post). Jot down as many points you can think of, but don’t worry about coming up with a specific number at this point. Add some brief notes about each item in your list.
- Resources – Search for information you may want to quote or refer to in your own post, or that will simply inspire your own writing. Copy and paste any promising links into your outline to come back to when you’re developing the post.
Whenever you pre-plan your blog posts, whether it’s for a month, quarter, or for the whole year, protect your ideas with an outline you can use to write those posts in the future.