How to Create an Outline in 7 Steps

by Amanda Spencer, Partner and Researcher

An organized outline is an important “building block” to produce a great piece of writing.

To help you create the outlines we need, here is a short guide. (If you would like HeadStart to write outlines for you, upgrades are available.)

Some Important Pre-work:
Create a Vision Statement

What is your vision? Answer these questions:

  1. This piece will be published [where].

  2. This piece is a blog/whitepaper/landing page/email, etc. and is about [xxx].

  3. Because I want to describe/explain what/why/how [yyy].

  4. In order to help readers/customers understand [zzz].

For example:

“This blog post, published online to be part of an email campaign, is about blockchain, because I want to explain how it works and why it’s transforming digital identity, in order to help customers understand what digital ID offers, and how it’s actually more secure than traditional physical IDs.”

Now you can rephrase the vision for your introduction to get started on your outline:

1. Introduction – for example, “Blockchain isn’t just cryptocurrency; it also forms the basis for a new way of storing and accessing information. One of the most interesting examples is digital ID.” The introduction is your vision rewritten into your opinion/angle/topic.

2. First main idea – for main ideas, aim for a statement or opinion rather than a topic.

a. Example 1 – more detail is always better. Include specific URLs if possible.

b. Example 2

c. etc.

3. Second main idea

a. Example 1

b. Example 2

4. Third main idea

a. Example 1

b. Example 2

5. Conclusion – think about how you would sum up the blog post in one or two sentences. What main idea(s) do you want the reader/customer to take away from reading the post?

a. Argument 1

b. Argument 2

6. Call to Action – what do you want the reader/customer to do?

7. Working Title – now that you have a preliminary outline, it may be easier to create a working title that is related to the main point you want to make.

photo credit: markus119 . via photopin (license)

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