Sure you could get up an hour earlier to make time, but that would mean getting up at 3 am, 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 and Mindmaps
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. To make things even faster for you you can download your free outlining roadmap here:
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
- Hook to capture your reader’s attention
- Introduction to your general topic
- Your point of view about the topic
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
- on the other hand
- another example is
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.
This is where you encourage your reader to take action and I tend to write in big letters “CTA”. It’s quicker.
The second way to do this is to create your outline using Mindmapping software.
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?