Blog Outlines to Create Content that Converts

May 23, 2019

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Content marketers today are competing for attention in a highly competitive digital world oversaturated with written material. Every piece of content you write needs to be SEO friendly and align with your targets’ search intent. Ultimately, your goal is to create content that converts your website visitors into paying customers or clients.

The planning phase of content creation is usually the most challenging part. It can take a long time to decide how to order and structure the knowledge/ideas/information you need to convey. It takes even longer to brainstorm the perfect examples to illustrate your points.

We want to provide you with 8 detailed blog outlines to help your writing process for different types of content you would want to create (regardless of your industry). These frameworks are meant to guide you and give you food for thought while writing.

Here are 8 main types of blog content:

The “Topic 101” Article

The “Ultimate Guide” Article

The List Article

The News/Announcement Article

The Interview Article

The Opinion Piece

The Infographic Blog Post

The Case Study

Topic 101 Article Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 1: How to Write a “Topic 101” Article

Articles that explain the basics of a topic stand the test of time. People will never stop Googling “what is” questions in need of an overview of a subject.

As a blogger, you need to identify industry topics relevant to your business. Then, figure out how often people are searching for answers related to these topics.

Focus on answering the questions that have a high enough search volume to make it worth it to invest the energy in creating the post.

Objectives of this type of content should be:

1) To provide a definition of a common industry concept in an easily digestible way. For example, our blog post about the concept of “mobile parity” explains optimizing website content for mobile devices.

2) To simplify the meaning of a term that would be confusing to someone unfamiliar with the topic.

For example: our blog post about structured data breaks down the topic in a way that’s easy to understand for beginners.

3) To increase your article’s chances of being chosen as a featured snippet in Google search results for this topic.

Blog Title

Create a title that includes the word “what is” and your target keyword for the topic.

Key Tip: If you’re writing about a topic with an extremely high search volume, consider how you can write the post in a way that makes it more likely to rank on the first page of search results.

For example: If the title “What is [Insert Term]?” is unrealistic to rank for, maybe try going for “What is the difference between [Term A] and [Term B]?” instead.

Introduction

1) Provide a basic definition of the term and why it’s relevant for your target audience to know about it.

For example: “Mobile parity is the idea of comparing the desktop version of your website to your mobile version to ensure that the two are equally optimized. When you analyze your mobile website from your target audience’s perspective, you can identify what is helping and hurting users’ mobile experience.”

2) Tell your readers what they can expect from reading the blog.

For example: “This article will help you optimize your site for mobile so you can close just as many deals with targets using their smartphones and tablets as you can with desktop users.”

It’s a great idea to include an outline of subsections of the article here, too. Link each subsection so that readers have the option to jump to a specific part of the article.

Key Tip: Try to keep your introduction to 200 words or less. You don’t want to overwhelm readers in the beginning.

Blog Section #1: Define the Term in Detail

– The subheading title of your first section should elaborate on your introductory definition. Directly answer your “What is [Term]?” question in more detail.

– Use analogies to similar concepts and add context to your definition of the term.

Blog Section #2: Explain the Term’s Importance with Examples

– Use examples to support why knowing the term is important.
How does knowing about this term positively impact your target audience?

For example: If I’m a business owner, how will my knowledge of this subject matter help me improve my company?

– Use recent statistics to explain why it’s a key term/topic to know about. Be sure the sources of your statistics are reputable and recent.

– Use images, videos, etc. to illustrate your points.

– Find high quality examples should suffice to support your argument.

Blog Section #3: Elaborate on Tips & Reminders

If some members of your target audience never heard the term before, they probably need tips on how to talk about it and apply it in order to feel confident.

– Explain best practices on how to approach the concept and discuss it.

– Define any related terms that are necessary to know.

– Break down any advice/reminders into 5 bullet points at most.

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Summarize the article with the key takeaways of your article before closing.

2) Include a compelling call-to-action at the bottom of your blog post.

3) Pointing readers to other resources you have on your website (you could even include a “more blogs posts” or “more insights” section to lead site visitors to spend more time on your website.

During your revision process, double check that you:

– Used language and terminology your target audience would understand (and if not, you defined the terms as necessary).

– Referenced timely and authoritative sources for your examples and statistics.

– Cited and linked sources appropriately.

– Keyword optimized the blog post and optimized its images.

Ultimate Guide Article Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 2: How to Write an “Ultimate Guide” Article

You can approach “ultimate guide” articles as extreme versions of “how to” articles. If you are going to include the word “ultimate” in the title, you need to make sure the content lives up to its promise of being as comprehensive as possible. Although word count varies significantly depending on your industry and the purpose of the post, an ultimate guide can be up to 5,000 words.

Objectives of this type of content should be:

1) To be a “one-stop shop” for your audience in terms of information and instructions related to the topic at hand.
For example, our event marketing guide covers everything from building and optimizing an event website to developing a post-event strategy.

2) To provide in-depth explanations of questions surrounding the main topic and its related subtopics.

3) To become an authoritative source on the given subject and encourage backlinks to this piece of content.

Blog Title

Your title can simply be “Ultimate Guide to [Relevant Keyword/Topic]”.

Key Tip: You can also add parentheses or brackets to elaborate on what readers can expect to find within the blog post to increase the chances of them clicking on it: “Ultimate Guide to [Relevant Keyword/Topic] (With 25 Examples)”

Introduction

1) Why your readers need an in-depth guide on this topic.

2) How the professionals in a specific industry/niche will benefit from the information.

3) What exactly the guide will cover.

For example: “In this guide, you can expect a comprehensive explanation of [term/topic], including a break-down of why [term/topic] is important, how to approach [term/topic], and 10 key tips on understanding [term/topic] for beginners.”

Blog Section #1: Topic Overview

– Start the first section by making sure your readers are on the same page about what your topic is and why it matters.

– Include a brief history of the topic to provide context and background information as necessary.

Blog Section #2: Explain Relevant Terms

– Define any terms necessary to make the guide more easily understandable to readers. If you are going to use terminology later in the guide, it’s smart to define it here first.

For example: In our Facebook Ads guide, we define six online advertising terms that might not have obvious definitions to our readers.

– Explain the sources of your definitions as necessary (to prove your credibility).

Blog Section #3: Topic Deep-Dive

The core of your “Ultimate Guide” blog post can explore the topic in many different ways. You can include subsections such as:

– Pro’s and Cons
– Do’s and Don’ts
– Common Misconceptions
– Common Mistakes to Avoid
– “How-To” Steps

Blog Section #4: Mini Round-Up of Resources

Even if you write a 5,000 word guide, you can’t possibly cover every single aspect of a topic. Your readers will trust and appreciate your content more if you identify potential gaps you left in the guide, and then round up some examples of reliable resources that can provide that information.

You can mention industry experts/thought leaders they can follow, or point them in the direction of further reading. However, don’t undermine your own authority on the topic in the process.

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Close with a summary of key takeaways. This is especially important to keep succinct if the guide is extremely lengthy.

2) Point readers to other resources you have on your website.

3) Include a call-to-action at the bottom of the page.

During your revision process, double check that you:

– Provided plenty of examples, facts, images (or possibly even interactive content) and statistics to prove your understanding of the concept?

– Cited and linked back to your sources?

– Internally linked to other content on your website related to the topic where appropriate

– Keyword optimized the blog post and optimized its images.

List Article Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 3: How to Write a List Article (“Listicle”)

List-based articles (sometimes referred to as “listicles” in the blogging community) seem like they would be easy to write. However, writing a high quality listicle with a memorable and original twist can prove to be challenging. Whether your plan is to create a 10-item list or 100-item list, we wanted to help guide you along the way with the following outline.

The objective of this type of content should be to provide useful information in list form.
The list could possibly include:

1) Examples

2) Myths/Misconceptions

3) Tactics

4) Tips

5) Steps to Accomplish Something

6) Ideas/Suggestions

7) Statistics

8) Facts

9) Questions & Answers

10) Problems & Solutions

Blog Title

Start the title with the number of items in your list, include the relevant target keyword, and keep it succinct.

Key Tip: Keep in mind who is searching for this list, and ask yourself if they are your target customer. If not, change your list idea until you come up with a list article idea that satisfies a need along your prospective customer’s buyer journey.

Introduction

1) The reason(s) why your readers need a list compiled of this information.

2) Who should want to use this list as a useful reference.

3) Your method/thought process while creating the list.

Blog Section #1: Brief Topic Background Summary

Start the first section by providing some background information on the general topic your list is about.

Key Tip: Omit this section and jump straight into the list if you feel that your topic is universally understood. Also, consider adding an internal menu of subcategories of the list to make it easier to navigate (especially if there are a lot of items/terms).

Blog Section #2: The List (With Corresponding Explanations and Images)

– A listicle is useless if it doesn’t explain every single item on the list. Naturally, the length of the item/term’s explanation will depend on the length of the list. Note how the explanations of our 50 Google Ads examples were shorter in length than our explanations of a list of 5 steps to create an influencer campaign.

– It might not always seem necessary, but including a corresponding image for every item on your list visually creates a much better blog post.

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Close with a summary of key takeaways. This is especially important to keep succinct if the guide is extremely lengthy.

2) Point them to other resources you have on your website.

3) Include a call-to-action at the end of the post.

During your revision process, ensure that you:

– Double checked that you don’t have any repeated items/terms by mistake. It’s especially common with long lists to accidentally duplicate the same example while collecting and writing this kind of content.

– Cited and linked back to your sources.

– Internally linked to other content on your website related to the topic where appropriate.

– Keyword optimized the blog post and optimized its images.

News Announcement Article Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 4: How to Write a News/Announcement Article

Articles with newsworthy content within your industry can be a great way to capture readers’ attention. Some members of the blogging community have coined the term, “newsjacking”. When the topic is time-sensitive and you need to produce a blog post announcing/sharing news quickly, stick to the following guidelines to stay on track.

Objectives of this type of content should include:

1) To capitalize on a trending industry topic and provide useful information about it to your blog readers.

For example: Our blog post about a notable WordPress website update aimed to answer the questions that people with sites built using WordPress (our clients included) were suddenly searching for as a direct result to the update.

2) To position your company/agency as not only actively aware of current developments in the industry, but also as a reliable source of this information.

Blog Title

Clearly identify the news story’s topic of interest. Without sounding like an alarmist, use language in your title that gives readers a reason to click on the article.

Key Tip: Careful not to fall into the trap of creating clickbait that will increase your bounce rate.

Introduction

1) The key points of the news story so far (be sure to specify if it’s a developing story). Also, link to the original source of the news to give the appropriate credit.

2) Who the story is relevant to, who it affects, who should care, and why.

3) What you’ll be talking about in the post, such as the facts known so far and what to do next.

Blog Section #1: Fact Summary

People want to know the facts known so far before they read anything else. Elaborate on information and reference reliable sources.

Key Tip: Keep an objective tone as much as possible. You never know when inserting an unfounded opinion could hurt you, your business, stakeholders, or potential/current clients. 

Blog Section #2: What Happens Next

– If the story is still breaking, you may want to leave this blank. However, if the dust has settled and you have reliable information on what the ripple effects of this news story will be, mention them here so readers know what to expect.

– It might not always seem necessary, but including a corresponding image for every item on your list visually creates a much better blog post.

Blog Section #3: How Does the News Affect Different People

– A news story affects different parties differently. Be sure to highlight who and what these different groups of people should know.

– Be sure to stay focused and hone in on how the news disrupts or impacts the parties relevant to your readers.

Blog Section #4: What to Do As a Result of the News

Talk about possible next steps in the wake of the news. Be sure to draw on legitimate sources to maintain your readers’ trust. You don’t want to act like an authority on a breaking news story when you have limited information yourself.

Key Tip: Be sure you make it clear that steps are suggestions, not requirements. 

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Summarize key points in the article.

– Point out news highlights and action items for readers.

– Encourage readers to revisit the blog post with any updates if the story is developing.

2) Link to other news sources where readers can get more information on the given topic.

3) Include a call-to-action at the end of the post (i.e. a blog subscription CTA so readers can stay current on your own company or agency’s news announcements).

During your revision process, ensure that you:

– Cited and linked back to your sources.

– Internally linked to other content on your website related to the topic where appropriate

– Keyword optimized the blog post and optimized its images.

Interview Article Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 5: How to Write an Interview Article

You don’t have to be a trained journalist to produce a well written interview article for your blog. Choosing your interviewee, whether it be an industry peer or expert, is the most important step.

After that, your main concern is asking the right questions so you can finish with a cohesive, keyword-focused piece of content.

Objectives of this type of content should include:

1) To forge connections with industry peers or experts (which also increases your company’s credibility by association).

2) To increase your company’s visibility on social media through the industry peer or expert you interview.

3) To serve as a resource for valuable advice on the topic discussed within your industry and earn backlinks.

Blog Title

Start Write a title for your interview article the same way you would write any other keyword-optimized headline.

Remember: You want to make the article as discoverable on search engines possible (without making the title sound forced).

So, instead of entitling it “Interview with [Name]” or “Q&A with [Name]” give it a title regarding the topic you focus on in the interview. A great example of this is the title of a post the agency Column Five media wrote, which is a Q&A with a fellow blogger.

Introduction

1) A brief introduction to who your interviewee is (accomplishments, career path, etc.) to provide context for the rest of the interview.

2) Why you chose to interview this person and why what he or she has to say is valuable.

3) Who should read this interview and how it will help them (you’re speaking directly to your target audience here).

Potential Interview Questions

In most cases, the best move is to structure this kind of blog post in a typical Q&A dialogue format. You can always divide the interview into different sections to make it more organized for readers.

If it’s a lengthy interview, you can even create an internal menu so readers can jump to specific parts. We wanted to help you come up with some question prompts. Here are 20 ideas to get your process started.

1) What do you do at [Company Name]?

2) What are some challenges you face in your role?

3) What is the most rewarding part of your role?

4) How is [Industry Practice] different from [Similar Industry Practice]?

5) Who is on your team/how does your team divide up work?

6) How does your team measure results/success?

7) How does your team balance [Task] and [Task] in your industry?

8) What’s the biggest skill or piece of information you wish you knew when you first started working in [Industry]?

9) What [Industry] tactics do people swear by today that you predict will be virtually obsolete in the future?

10) Are there any [Industry] training courses that you would consider worth paying for? Or do you think consuming free educational content available online suffices?

11) What is an easily avoidable mistake in [Industry] that you see often?

12) [Expert] in [Industry] often says [Advice]. Do you agree or disagree and why?

13) What is the most frustrating part about [Job/Industry/Task]? How do you deal with it?

14) How/where do you and your team find inspiration?

15) What are some tips you have for [Industry task]?

16) What are you looking forward to the most about [Industry/Job/Upcoming Event]?

17) What impact do you/your company have on [Industry]? Or, what impact do you hope to have?

18) What is your advice for networking and forging strategic partnerships in [Industry]?

19) You recently [Said, Wrote, Published, Shared, etc.] on [Social Media Platform, Publication, Book, etc.]. Could you elaborate further?

20) What publications in [Industry] do you read or what experts do you admire/follow?

Key Tip: You might have to work backwards to make your interview as SEO friendly as possible. Before you even ask your interviewee questions, be sure you are choosing the right questions and structuring them in the most discoverable way.

Consider how members of your target audience would phrase questions related to the topic when they type into Google search.

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Summarize key points/highlights from the interview and express gratitude for interviewee’s time and insights.

2) Link to other blog posts that either your website or your interviewee’s site features so readers can find more content on a similar topic.

3) Include a call-to-action at the end of the interview.

During your revision process, ensure that you:

– Clarified any statements or quotes that were unclear from your interviewee.

– Credited and linked back to the interviewee as appropriate.

– Keyword optimized the interview and added optimized images wherever appropriate.

Opinion Piece Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 6: How to Write an Opinion Based Blog Post

Sometimes you have to take a clear stance on a topic in order to create content that is interesting for readers. Sharing your thoughts and predictions on an issue, innovation or other aspect of your business or industry does not need to be controversial. We aren’t suggesting you write a contentious opinion piece.

We’re talking about any article you write that expresses a ideas that aren’t purely factual. If this writing process reminds you of writing an essay in high school where you had to argue and defend a point, you are correct that it’s a similar roadmap.

Objectives of this type of content should include:

1) To demonstrate where your company stands on a topic that matters to your industry that would be interesting for your blog readers.

2) To create a piece of content that is relatable and likely to be shared on social media.

3) To spark a conversation and provide food for thought on a topic and invite engagement with your blog readers/prospective customers and peers in your industry.

Key Tip: These types of blog posts tend to perform well on the blogging platform, Medium. When it comes time for content promotion, consider repurposing the blog post for Medium. First, create an account for your business if you haven’t already.

Blog Title

Approach writing the title in a similar way as a news headline. Be deliberate with your word choice so that you include your keyword but write something interesting.

Key Tip: It takes several tries to come up with the perfect headline. Content marketing expert Benji Hyam explained his process of writing an effective headline for one of his best-performing posts in an article he wrote about going viral on Medium.

Introduction

1) Capture your target audience’s attention from the beginning with the opinion-based statement that will guide the article.

For example: “In [Industry], the greatest roadblock to a company’s success is [Challenge] because [Reason].”

2) Who would be interested in reading this piece.

3) A brief overview of what you will talk about.

Blog Section #1: Provide Context and Explain Your Position

– It might be tempting to jump right into defending your statement, but providing context and reasoning for your argument goes a long way. It can make the difference between losing and retaining readers at the beginning of your blog post.

– Explaining the foundation of your argument and what sparked you to write about this topic primes your readers for the rest of the article.

Blog Section #2: Elaborate On Your Supporting Arguments

– The number of supporting points you have for your argument depends on the nature of the topic.

– Be sure the evidence you’re using to support your point is credible and up to date.

– Include supporting points that draw from your own experience and observations. This adds an element of originality.

Blog Section #3: Highlight Opposing Viewpoints

It might seem counterintuitive, but you want to highlight opinions that are directly contrary to your argument to strengthen your own.

For example: In an opinion piece found in the UK-based publication Marketing Week claiming “all marketing is data-driven marketing”, the author spends time underscoring the counterargument of creatives in the industry.  

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Summarize your argument and its key supporting points.

2) Leave readers with an open-ended question to continue the conversation.

3) Include a call-to-action at the end of the blog post. Encourage readers to subscribe to your blog for more thought-provoking pieces.

During your revision process, ensure that you:

– Cited and linked back to your sources.

– Double checked the progression of your arguments so that they make sense.

– Keyword optimized the blog post and optimized its images.

Infographic Blog Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 7: How to Write an Infographic Blog Post

When you write a blog post with an infographic as the main attraction, it doesn’t mean you should skimp on writing copy. A high quality infographic should explain itself, but it’s better for your blog readers (and search engines) if you elaborate on the concepts and ideas expressed in the image.

Objectives of this type of content should include:

1) To reformat useful information in a way that’s easy for your readers to understand and share on social media.

2) To create a resource that industry peers can reference and link back to (improving SEO efforts).

Key Tip: Hire a professional graphic designer if possible. You want the infographic to represent a high level of quality of work.

Blog Title

Write a title with search intent in mind and include the word “Infographic” in brackets at the end. What kind of information is someone from your target audience searching for online?

For example: How to Write a Convincing Essay [Infographic].

Introduction

1) What the infographic is about, who it’s useful for, and why it matters.

2) A succinct overview of the infographic.

For example: “The infographic explains seven [Tools, Tips, Takeaways, etc.] from industry experts and how they could help your business succeed.”

The infographic itself should appear immediately after the text of your introduction.

Key Tip: Don’t forget to add alt-text to your infographic that includes your target keyword.

Blog Section #1: Define Any Industry Specific Terms

Define terms and abbreviations used in the infographic that do not have obvious meanings.

Key Tip: Take the time to not only define terms, but also to provide background on why the terms are what they are.

Definitions become more memorable to someone if they’re paired with interesting facts about the words’ origins. You can easily add an extra sentence or two with the reasoning behind the name of the term.

Blog Section #2: Elaborate on Key Points

– The infographic itself can only fit so much written information before looking overcrowded. Most infographics don’t have space for long explanations of statistics, examples, steps, etc. It’s often necessary to provide more detail about these key points to add more context.

– Strategically incorporate your target keyword(s) and related terms to increase your chances of the blog post being found.

Blog Section #3: Share Your Infographic Creation Process

– Share your research process for gathering data on the infographic. Consider how you decided what to include and what not to include.

– Explain how the infographic is supposed to help readers (maybe by simplifying a difficult concept, or breaking down dense data, etc.)

Remember: Search engine bots can only crawl the text in the body of a blog post and the infographic’s alt text.

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Summarize the main takeaways of the infographic and why you created it.

2) Point readers to other infographics or helpful content on your site.

3) Include a call-to-action at the bottom of the page (in this case, nudge readers to share the infographic.)

During your revision process, double check that you:

– Provided relevant examples and statistics as needed to further explain the concept.

– Proofread the infographic (and the entire blog post) for typos or other errors.

– Cited and linked back to your sources.

– Keyword optimized the blog post and added the appropriate alt text to the image.

Case Study Outline - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Part 8: How to Write a Case Study

When writing a case study for your blog, be careful not to turn the entire piece into a sales pitch. Case studies that people actually want to read tell a story and include actionable advice.

Objectives of this type of content should include:

1) To demonstrate how your services or product made a measurable positive impact on clients.

2) To build credibility with readers who are unfamiliar with your company or agency.

3) To drive potential customers/clients to at least sign up for more insights or pick up the phone for a consultation.

Blog Title

Consider user search intent when you write your title. What kind of success story can you share that your targets will actually want to read about. Most case study titles also include a number to quantify success (i.e. How We Increased Our Client’s Web Traffic by 83%).

Include the word “Case Study” in parentheses at the end to make it obvious what type of content your readers are about to read.

Introduction

1) What is the focus of the case study? Who would be interested in reading about it?

2) Outline the key points that will be proved through the case study.

Remember: When you take the time to read a case study, it’s usually because you want to see what worked for someone else so you can achieve that kind of success for yourself/your business.

Blog Section #1: Provide Context & Establish Criteria

– Define any terms, abbreviations, or acronyms used that are specific to the case study or industry as a whole.

– Explain the criteria used to quantitatively evaluate success. What were the KPIs?

Blog Section #2: Explain the Steps to Success

– Explain your strategy and implementation of that strategy.

– How and why you chose to take certain actions to achieve success.

– How and why you chose not to take certain actions.

For example: “Our team decided to approach  [ABC] instead of [XYZ] because…”Provide details about how you adjusted your strategy to improve your results.

– Provide details about how you adjusted your strategy to improve your results.

Blog Section #3: Analyze and Explore Alternatives

– Analyze how different factors could have influenced the case study’s results.

– Explore alternative solutions or additional steps that could be taken to achieve the same great results. This is useful for blog readers who have different circumstances (i.e. a tighter budget or a smaller team) and want to figure out how to tailor the case study to their own needs.

Blog Wrap-Up

1) Summarize the key takeaways and quantifiable success of the case study.

2) Point readers to other useful case studies on your own blog (or on other relevant blogs.)

3) Include a call-to-action at the bottom of the post.

During your revision process, double check that you:

– Provided relevant examples and statistics as needed to further explain the concept.

– Cited and linked back to your sources properly.

– Keyword optimized the blog post and any images included.

Wrapping It Up…

Content marketers can’t afford to have writer’s block. That’s why we created these 8 outlines along with tips and explanations of our advice. We want to help improve your writing process.

Our content marketing team here at Chainlink believes in the importance of using proven methods to take your campaign to the next level. If you want to integrate your content marketing with other digital marketing tactics, reach out to us below.

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