As much as they would like to be, writers aren't psychic. If you're hiring other people to write content for you and only give them a handful of requests to work with, they'll do their best, but they aren't going to produce the content that's exactly what you pictured when you created the request. Providing an outline, on the other hand, means that the writer knows exactly what you have in mind for the article — and that means they'll produce the content you really need.

Wondering how, exactly, you're supposed to produce that perfect outline? Don't worry, we're here to walk you through it step by step!

How to Write an Outline: A Non-Writer's Guide

1. What's Your Thesis?

This is the central point that you're trying to make with your blog post. Unless you're breaking news straight from your own company, your central point should be a unique angle on an existing topic.

You don't want to just regurgitate information that's already out there. Rather, you want to produce new content that will bring people to your website. By providing your writer with the information they need to understand your angle, you substantially increase the odds that you'll get the post you imagined when you entered the request.

Talented though they are, writers can't magically deduce your angle from a few keywords. Take, for example, the customer who entered the following as a request:

"Is print advertising dead?"

The writer had no choice but to decide which side of the debate the customer came down on and, of course, ended up guessing wrong.

Being vague never ends well for anyone. You don't get the content you need and the writer has wasted their time and energy writing a blog post that you can't use. With more specific guidelines, the writer can produce exactly the content you need. In the example above, even knowing which side of the debate the client was on would have helped the writer immensely!

Design your thesis with care. If you have a catchy title in mind in the form of a question, that's great! Just remember that in order to write the post, the writer has to know your answer to the question.

2. Determine Depth

If you're asking for a 300-word blog post, you can't get a full answer to, "What is the best marketing strategy for a dog grooming business?" You can, however, get a basic answer to the question, "How can blogging help your dog grooming business reach more customers?"

It's important that you carefully consider the level of depth that you're expecting for the length you're requesting. Longer pieces of content can obviously provide a much greater level of depth and handle more subtopics — but we'll get into that later. As you're deciding on the depth you want for your content, remember that providing a specific thesis will be much more likely to get you an in-depth blog post on the request you most need than a vague keyword.

3. Offer Available Resources

If you pulled an idea out of your own mind, you don't need to do the research for the writer. On the other hand, many times, you'll pull an idea from something you've already read: another article online, white papers, or other research. You don't want an exact duplicate of an existing article, and you shouldn't expect a writer to produce one. That gets into the murky territory of plagiarism fast.

You can, however, provide research that includes relevant statistics and other information that you want the writer to use in the article. This is particularly important for niche markets or if you want to include specific statistics that might be hard for a writer to find. Remember, the writer won't be as familiar with the available resources in your field as you are. Providing them with relevant sources makes it easier to produce the exact content you're looking for.

4. Get Down to Business and Write That Outline

Don't worry — this doesn't have to be the in-depth outline with a full bibliography in MLA format that your high school English teacher wanted every time you wrote a paper. It doesn't even necessarily have to be an outline, per se. It just needs to contain all the relevant sections that should appear in the post in order for you to be happy with it.

You can write this in paragraph form, use bullet points, or jot out a few basic headings to give the writer some guidance. They can figure it out from there! Just one thing: please read over your description before submitting it to make sure that it makes sense. A handful of ill-placed typos and a jumbled sentence structure can completely change the intended meaning of your request.

Request Description Outline

You can use this request description outline by copying and pasting below:

TITLE: [Working title]
KEYWORDS: [SEO keywords that should be included in the blog post]
ARTICLE/RESOURCE FOR REFERENCE:
 Resource #1: [Add URL for resource]
 Resource #2: [Add URL for resource]
STYLE AND LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS: [STYLE GUIDE, MUSTS, DON’TS]
BRIEF SUMMARY / IDEA / THESIS [TIP: USE KEYWORD, MAIN IDEA]:
POINT 1 [300 WORD POSTS]:

SUPPORTING INFO / STATS [TIP: LINKS, PDF]:
POINT 2 [600 WORD POSTS]:
SUPPORTING INFO / STATS [TIP: LINKS, PDF]:
POINT 3 [1000 WORD POSTS]:
SUPPORTING INFO / STATS [TIP: LINKS, PDF]:
POINT 4 [1500 WORD POSTS]:
SUPPORTING INFO / STATS [TIP: LINKS, PDF]:
CTA:[Call to Action]

Have a few questions about your Verblio account? Email [email protected] Our team is happy to help!

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