How to Write a Kick-Ass Blog Outline | Maddy Osman | Skillshare

How to Write a Kick-Ass Blog Outline

Maddy Osman, SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith

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8 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Introduction: What You'll Learn in This Class

      1:46
    • 2. Lesson 1: Why Outline?

      10:27
    • 3. Lesson 2: Creating an Outline Template

      11:33
    • 4. Lesson 3: Sourcing Visual Content Assets

      10:03
    • 5. Lesson 4: Finding Credible Sources to Cite

      8:08
    • 6. Lesson 5: Outline Best Practices

      5:40
    • 7. Lesson 6: Self-Edits

      3:44
    • 8. Class Project

      1:14

About This Class

Blogging without a process is an unnecessary waste of time and energy. Save yourself the anguish by starting with an outline. As a follow up to my popular Skillshare class, How to Write a Kick-Ass Blog Post, my new class, How to Write a Kick-Ass Blog Outline shares my best advice regarding:

  • Why to bother with outlining
  • Building an outline template (with a downloadable resource)
  • Sourcing visual content assets
  • Finding credible sources
  • Self-editing
  • ...and more!

I'll also be sharing templates that you can use, including:

  • Outline template
  • Style guide template
  • SEO Checklist

Download all the class resources on The Blogsmith.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: What You'll Learn in This Class: high skill share. I'm Maddie Jasmine, and I am an ASIO content strategist for a number of different brands, including my own Blagg. And one thing that I think a lot of bloggers failed to do or you don't really think about is this idea of creating an outline toe work off of before they dive deep into that first draft and outline can really help you in a lot of ways. So I'm going to spend some time telling you why even bother with it? And then I'm going to dig in and, um, you know, share a couple templates that I use a template for creating an outline, a template for creating a style guide to help your writing. Later on, we'll talk a little bit about finding credible sources to use in your outlet. Will talk about using an S E O checklist is part of creating your outline and is part of creating your first draft. We'll also talk about finding legal to use images, other content assets you might want to consider finding during the outlying stage, and then we'll wrap it up with some outlined thus practices and a little bit. I'm self editing and how to start that first draft. So, um, looking forward to teaching you about something that I've been thinking about for a long time. Um, it's a follow up to another skill share class I've created, which is called Heart rate. A kick ass block posts. So you might recognize some similar content if you've already gone through that class. But I'm hoping that you'll get something extra if you watch both classes. We're going to really dive in a lot deeper in this particular class. So next up we're talking about why bother outlining? 2. Lesson 1: Why Outline?: So before we get into you know, any complicated discussion of how to outline? I think it makes sense to talk about why even bothering to do it in the first place. So why spend time on outlining the first and you know, one of the most important things. It's just to save you time. Honestly, if you're going into the first draft of a block post or an article of some nature and you're looking at a blank page, it's gonna take some time to just overcome the shock of having Teoh come up with something on the spot. Um, what I personally like to do when I'm creating black content for clients is to split it up into three distinct stages. The first stage is the outline, which is what we're gonna be talking about for the rest of this particular class. The second stage is just the first draft of the blag, and then the third stage is doing your own self editing. And oftentimes, when you're working with black clients will probably have an editor that they work with two . So you know there's going to be somebody else checking your work to help make it the bust, it could be. But if you send over, you know, sloppy content that's just gonna hurt you in the long run. So each of these steps has its importance. And, you know, following these subs is useful for just making the process of writing a little less overwhelming. So, first of all, just to save you time on and then it kind of ties in with this next point, which is to find your focus and just to kind of set your intention for what you want this article to be about, you know, forcing yourself to outline it. You know, for some people, it might be kind of a weird concept, something you haven't done before. And it'll definitely be uncomfortable if this is the first time that you're gonna add this step to your own process. But finding that focus and really honing in on, you know, how am I going to structure this article when I do finally write it, that's gonna help you save time, and that's gonna help you just to write a better article in general. The last point, then this might be specific to me, but I think that it could benefit you as well. Is this idea of creating a distraction free drafting experience? So, like, for me, um, I'm traveling a lot. You know, I'm on an airplane or amount of boss, and there's no WiFi. But I don't like Teoh. Just be sitting around. I like to use that time to be productive because oftentimes, like if I'm traveling internationally, for example, there's not really anything else I could dio. I mean, I read there's plenty of entertainment stuff I could do. But if that time's just gonna be dead time anyway, I'd love to use it to just knock something out and enjoy my trip. You know when when I'm not in transportation and transit. So what I like to do with my outlines is to draw in enough information that I really could write it without the Internet, and that benefits me even when I'm not traveling. So let's move on. Um, besides outlining, there's another critical piece that I want to talk about, and it's a style guide. And so some brands that you may work with will provide you with, you know, their own style guide, their own content guidelines and the style guide just kind of says, you know, this is what we expect from our contributors. This is how we standardize things like formatting voice, even branding. Ah, this is how we standardize, you know, different aspects of creating a block across, you know, perhaps many different contributors. So that at the end of the day, even though there's different authors, it still fits the spirit of the black that you're writing for him. So, um, so and some clients will not give you this. So what I've done is I've created a style guide template that you can steal. You can, you know, adapt it for your own purposes. But it's based on a lot of the work that I've done with my clients and things that I noticed time and time again that they're asking me for and that I just want to do right the first time so that I don't have Teoh do at it again in the future for these things that I know that they want before I show you that And by the way, you could you could see it yourself right now if you just go to this link at the bottom here, which is the dash blacksmith dot com forward slash kick dash s dash outline And that's where all of the resource is from. This class are gonna be So go there either now or later. You know, whenever you're ready and all those resources will be there, you can look at him or you could download them as a pdf. But before we get into the specifics, I want to talk a little bit more about why even bother using a style guide. So you've touched on the 1st 1 already, which is to avoid fixing time consuming style of stickers. If you could just nail that down in the style guide, whether you're the person who is writing for the block where you're the person who is running the blogged, it's going to save both of you. Really? Just a ton of time. I found that stylistic. Yours are some of the hardest to fix. I mean, it's fairly easy to fix grammar, to fix, spelling, to fix formatting even. But stylistic yours air, the type of things where it really just, you know, is a draw a drag on your brain power. Um, we also talked a little bit about creating consistency. Andi, I think that, you know, by proving that you're consistent, not only are you building trust with the person who runs the blag, your also building trust with your audience that they can expect to see the same type of thing, the same type of formatting, the same type of voice whenever they go to that blog's to think about it. In terms of that, too a style guide. Another really awesome benefit of using one is that it's a great basis for self editing. So sometimes you know when I'm editing without any sort of guidance. And I'm just looking at a piece of content that either myself or someone else made, if I'm not really sure you know what the point of me editing it is in my mind goes in all sorts of different directions. So again, this comes back to finding focus. Um, and then you know, the last thing is, if you do this for a living like Ideo, a lot of clients will ask you to follow their specific style guides, and I found that the people who take the time to make a style guide are some of the best clients toe have you know, they really have a process in place, so that helps me to trust them. You know that whatever I create for them is going to be treated right. So just in general, because clients are going to be asking you to use it helps to be used toe how they're set up and understand. You know why they use certain, you know, sections or rules and their style gods. So just to kind of make this a little bit more of a tangible topic you have access to this or something very similar to this in that link that I just shared with you. But this is my style guide they used for all my clients. This is what people who contribute to my blag, for example, would also be expected to follow. And so what I did was I separated it into a couple of different sections. We just have some, like, general notes, you know, and this kind of spans a couple different sections, so I'm not gonna get too deep into that. It also tells both myself and my contributors This is what I expect for headings is tied. Expected use those. You know what I expect for using links? General formatting tips, how to use quote certain people. Some tips for self editing and guidelines for using images were actually going to go over much of this in the rest of the content for this class. But before we move on to the next subject, I want to introduce one more, you know, sort of template list thing that you might benefit from for yourself and for people that are that you're organizing if you're the person who runs a block, is this idea of having an S e o checklist? And it's kind of funny. A lot of the things, a lot of the checklist templates, whatever our ideas that came to me after working with different clients. So in some ways, you know, this is a hybrid of something that somebody told me to do once, and I've just kind of adapted it for my own purposes. So the one that I'm sharing here is just an example, Um, for like, a 500 word black posts and I would change, you know, the numbers around I would, you know, multiply them by two. If it was 1000 word block poster by three if it was a 1500 word Black Post. But just to give you an example here, this s E O checklist goes over things like, You know how many words I want, How many times I want the contributor to use a target keyword. Um, you know that I want them to use it in a subheading. If there's a secondary key worried, I give some direction for that. You know that I want them to include an intro and conclusion and kind of like how I want that formatted the fact that I want a royalty free feature image with attribution Andan also that I want some internal links and external links. So if you're blogging either for yourself or for a client with the purpose of drawing and more search engine traffic, it's really helpful. Toe have this using a plug in. Like Yost s CEO is gonna take care of a lot of this stuff, but sometimes its helpful. When you're writing when you're outlining, especially to be aware of all the different things that you're going to have to have in place for this blag to be a complete thing you know that your client will accept or that you could publish without having to change it. The idea is basically just that you're bringing everything together in one place so that by the time you draft and you edit it like it's just ready to go, you know, everything has its place in my specific process. And, you know, I'm thinking that no matter what your process is, something like this could help to. So now that we've talked about some of these basic templates and checklists and things, and why even to bother with outlining, I'm going to next talk about how to create the ideal, um outlined template next. 3. Lesson 2: Creating an Outline Template: So now we're kind of gonna dig into the real meat of the subject here, starting with my own outlined template that again using the link that you could find in the previous lesson or in the about part of this class, you can steal my outlined template and use it for your projects to. So here's the template. Just Google, Doc. Pretty simple, easy to copy and edit, You know, whenever I have a new outline that I need to work with. And don't worry, I'm just scrolling through right now so you can see the different components, but we're going to go through each one individually. So, um, let's go back Teoh to my slides here and, you know, feel free to download that and follow along as I go through it. It might be helpful secret anecdotes or, you know, however you learn best. So, um, the first part is that I like to add, and this is gonna be all up to personal preference. For you is the brief. So, you know, if a client is assigning me a tasks, sometimes they'll give me an outline. Sometimes they'll just give me a very basic topic. It goes all over the place. Sometimes it's, you know, whole paragraphs. Sometimes it several bullets that they want me to cover, no matter what it is. I want to add that at the very top of the document, just for my reference, I can make sure that I'm hitting all these points. Kind of like that s CEO checklists I shared in the previous lesson. It's It's a reminder, you know, a checklist of sorts to just be like, this is what you have to dio here it is for easy reference. So I'm not tabling, you know, between all these different windows and stuff. So, um, having that brief really helps. And again, the goal of the outline is to make the document on its own is useful as possible. So, you know, even if, like me, you're going on a trip or something, you're on an airplane and you want to knock some workout. Having the brief there while you're doing the actual drafting oven article is going to give you that peace of mind that yes, I did cover everything I was supposed to. So the next thing that I think a lot of people forget when they're turning in content to clients. Um is having the metadata, the meta information available so that they don't have Teoh do any thinking, and they could just upload the black and it's ready to go. Or if you're the person who uploads the blag, sometimes it can threw a little wrench in your process. When you have Teoh come up with this information on the spot just to be able to publish the black or submit it for review or what have you. So what I like to do is right at the Met, a title which might be different than the title on the block. The meta title is just with the search engines and see on the search engine results page, but you can have two different ones if you use Theo Csco plug in, and then the other thing that's a little bit more intense if you're not doing different meta and page titles is writing the meta description. And so, in both cases in the meta title and the meta description, I would encourage you to use the primary keyword on both. If you're concerned with ASIO, which you should pay, Um, but really, people argue, if that's important for the meta description itself. What I would argue is more important than making sure used The key word is to use it as a sort of tease as to what the article is going to be about. Use it to entice that human viewer off the search engine results page to click through. Um, so you know it's up to you if you want to use the Q word or not, I usually do it just to cover my butt because I don't really know exactly what Google wants . Nobody does. All we can do is guess, but I like to be very thorough in my use of keywords. You know, across all the space is it needs to be in a black post again. Yos is really great at helping you with that or implement and sdo checklist. Or you could watch my other skill share video, which is about S E. O for bloggers and Sola preneurs, where I dig into all these things a lot deeper. Um, so what? I would also recommend that you do in this section just to add that nice finishing touch your clients will love you for it is at a couple options for you know how you would promote this article on social media. You have to go crazy with it. But just give a couple of variations, and it will make it easier for them to publish an article. And then that also helps you. If it's a bylined article, you know, to help get the word out. So, you know, having a hand in that could be useful for you, not just the client. Another thing that I like to add. Maybe not at this point, maybe later on in the blogging experience. What kind of earned the writing experience but kind of related to this is you know, if you mention certain stats or certain businesses to include the handles of, you know, the publishers of studies or of products and services mentioned and so on so that you can later tweet the article out to them with the client can and say, Hey, you know, we wrote this new article and we mentioned you in it. You just want to be thinking about different ways that you can give this article leg so that it can, you know, do stuff for your client or do stuff for you. So it's not just like adding useless content into the world. So, um, moving on is the introduction, and this is something that, you know, depending on your workflow. Maybe you just put this out when you're drafting, and that's fine. I kind of like to have it teed up for me, though. And so how I, um, outlined the intro is I split it up into the problem. You know, what is a problem that my reader might face with regards this topic and then the solution? You know, I'm hinting at how you can fix it, and then the reveals like, this article is going to share. You know specifically how to do this. So, um and and those were all on that outlined template that I've shared with you. It's all kind of teed up if you want to do it the same way that I do it. So, um oh, I gave myself a note here that I want to make sure to mention the solution shows them how the articles going to solve their issue, the reader and the reveal starts to hint at how so think of it that way if my other explanation wasn't quite as thorough. Um, so once you get through the introduction, you're gonna want to start thinking about the actual structure of the article you know, past the in drawing the conclusion. So that's kind of where these subheadings come in. And sub headings subheadings kind of help you break it down into different sections. That helps you start to think of you know what? What? You know, stats Am I gonna have to find for this? What arguments am I gonna have to make? How am I going to support that? You know, how am I gonna flush this out? So the subheadings help you get this, like basic structure, it helps to find the shape of the article, even to some extent, how long the article is going to be. So what? What Yost recommends is to use one subheading for every 300 words. I try to do it for every 102 100 words. Just again to help break up that content in a more readable, digestible way. Whenever somebody sees, like, a huge block of text, you know, that's not really cut up by small paragraphs or bullets or or subheadings. It could be a very overwhelming thing from a reader's perspective. So basically, you know, knowing this idea of how long you want your article to be, You know, if somebody is like, I want you to write 500 words, then you know you're gonna need, you know, maybe to subheadings three and you know, and then it grows as you add word count to that. You can kind of think about how maney subheadings you need in accordance with the word cow and in accordance with either Yost or my guidelines for how to use subheadings. Another thing I want to encourage you to be thinking about at this point is, how could you incorporate your primary and secondary keywords into these subheadings? Because that's a good signal for S E O for on site S CEO. So you thinking about that while you're structuring them? How can you naturally, you know, not awkwardly use thes keywords to be thinking about that as your you know, flushing out this structure of the article. So after you're done creating your subheadings, you got to start thinking about the bullet points that are going to go under it. Um, and I would just say in general, when you're thinking about just like the body of your black article, you want to write with about 2 to 3 sentences per paragraph. I've caught my paragraphs basically in half because I realized that people like those little bite size paragraphs a lot more than more likely to keep scrolling. So think about it that way. And then when you're constructing your bullet points, you know, whatever supporting evidence you're using for your subheadings really work to keep your bullet points short. Think about it this way. You're not writing the article yet, so you don't want to necessarily be spending a lot of time, you know, flushing out these bullet points. But at the same time, if you're on a roll, if you have a good idea and you just want to get it out in the moment, don't be afraid to do that to Sometimes that's what I do when I'm outlining. So finally we have the conclusion, and the way that I do it is I have a kind of mirror the introduction. So what I do is I restate the problem and you know, a couple key points that were covered in the article. You can also do that in the intro if you want Just, like, kind of bullet point. Like what we're going to cover. Um, but I think doing it in the intro and conclusion is a little overkill. Pick one on and then end with a call to action of sorts. So this is ultimately going Teoh, um, have to do with, you know, whatever it is you're writing about, if it's for you, you know, do you want people to sign up for your email list so that they can read more of these great articles as they're published? If it's for a client, you know, do you want to you encourage that person to get in touch, to learn more about service offerings, whatever it is, you know, trying to make it flow, try to make it feel natural. Um, And then, you know, you might also want to take the opportunity while you're promoting, you know, some certain called the Action toe also invite people to engage with the content. One thing that I like to do at the end of my articles, to say, you know, do you have an opinion on fill in the blank topic like, Why don't you tweet us, whether it's me or the client or whatever at you know, whatever the Twitter handle is, and we'll share our favorite insights. So that could be a great way to get people involved two or even, just, you know, leave a comment below. If you have a thought, it could be really simple, but just reminding people that you know you're listening and that their input is valuable, I think is really necessary in terms of encouraging engagement. So with that, we're done with the very basics, like the skeleton of the outline, but we still have a lot to cover. Next, we're going to talk about sourcing visual content, assets to go with your outline. 4. Lesson 3: Sourcing Visual Content Assets: no matter how good your writing is, if you don't have anything to break up big chunks of text, people are going to get overwhelmed. They're gonna bounce from that page and they will never come back. So you've got to be thinking about you know what different visual content assets can I use ? Um, and I think the outlining stage is a perfect time to start thinking about this. Even if you don't find everything right now, you want to start thinking about it. So, um, let's start with just some basic image use guidelines so that you can be as effective as possible. It helps to not think of. This is a chore, even though it can sometimes be for clients. But you know, ultimately, the point is you want people to read your work. Otherwise, you know. Why are you even bothering like to me? Yes. The money that people pay me to write blacks for them is great. But if I'm just writing trash than it doesn't really mean a whole lot. So on the same could be said of the images I choose. So the first guideline is just, you know, pick something that is high resolution. It looks beautiful. There's no fuzziness. It's not, you know, like a 50 by, ah, 100 picture That's gonna be small and hard to see. You know, think about people that are going to be reading your content on their mobile device on dust . Stop. You want it to be something that's gonna look good on bulls and that can scale accordingly . The other important thing is you want to make sure that it's legal to use because if you use somebody's image without their permission and they've, you know, catch you on it, then you're gonna be in a lot of trouble. You're gonna have to pay some, you know, multi $100 fines, and it's just not worth it. And it's going to hurt your credibility with your community or with your client, whoever the block this for him. The other thing that's really important is whatever images you choose should be relevant to the article. So sometimes you know, people write their article out, it's awesome. And then they think of the image is kind of like the feature image as kind of an afterthought. You know, the image that's gonna go out when you share something on social media. The image that's going Teoh, you know, encourage people to click through when they're on the, you know, generic blogged page. But just like the meta description, we kind of talked about how that's like the teaser to get people to click through from search engines. I think the images air like the teaser to click through from social or on the website. The other thing is, besides picking one image for the feature image, your client might be making these. But you could always make suggestions asses to what you want it to look like in order to effectively communicate the nature of article. Uh, the other thing you are no want to think about is, you know, things like gathering screenshots if it's like a technical article or if you're, you know, doing a walk through of the process. Another examples throughout the peace. It's not just about having one image. It's about thinking one other. You know, image content are just visual content. Can you add to break up the tax? So when you're, you know, considering images in terms of your outline you want to be thinking about using are just like, you know, making sure to gather that stuff and using it appropriately in your outline so that you can kind of see, you know what it would actually look like when you're gonna publish that article. Even though you're not drafting yet. You still want to be able to see what it's gonna look like. So it's not enough to me to just kind of like paste the your l where you can download that image. I actually copy the image and place it in. And then, you know, definitely add attribution if it's a royalty free image below that but you know, it helps to kind of see it helps to see the shape of the article. So I would recommend doing that. Um, and I think that's something that a lot of people just don't really think about. It doesn't seem important, but it's just, you know, some people are visual learners that helps you understand what the structure is gonna look like. Um and then I didn't mean to have us, but, uh, one thing I wanted to say is that some clients create their own image assets, but it's really beneficial for, you know, the black writer. Somebody like me to be saying, um, what? I think those images should be to be leaving direction, like, you know, for a given set section of your outline or your your final block, I guess. Just leaving comments like, you know, I think this type of image would be great. You know, maybe we need a chart for this. Um, be a specific as you can, because it's not gonna translate. Well, if you're just being really generic about the direction you give, you might as well, just not if it's just going to be like, you know, put a puppy picture there or whatever, but this is really great, especially for those more technical articles. Teoh, help the graphic designer effectively convey what you're hoping to convey in the article. And it it doesn't really take that much time to add sex. Your direction. So one other thing I wanted to touch on is where can you just find awesome either royalty free or, you know, paid subscription type places to find visual assets. And so I've listed a number of things that are free. Libre stock is like, uh, aggregate. It's from a bunch of different stock photo websites that are royalty free, and you can search in one place and you know it searches a lot of different places for you . So that's useful. But sometimes it's just breaks. You know, sometimes it's just not reliable. Um, picks a play, picks a bit unspool ash and pecks ALS are kind of they're all very similar. They're all really popular stock photo sites, so you can generally find what you're looking for pretty easily there. The problem is that everybody else goes there twos. It's not gonna be super original if you use those images and people might already be, you know, fatigued by those images and be uninterested in clicking through. If they can sense that, you know, it's a type of thing that a 1,000,000 other people have already use. Um, and then another thing I like to use for one of my, um, side projects it's called tanks that get around in a C E commerce say we have a black to with a lot of travel guides and stuff is flicker creative comments because, you know, sometimes I just don't have my own photos of the places that I want to talk about and so it's really good for apply in circumstances like that were like, you know, I'm looking for something in Paris. There's, you know, like a monument. Um, it's hard to think of a more general way to describe how to use that. So I'm just gonna leave you with that example. Gifts are really popular or Jif, so you know if you're an extremist. But Giffey is my favorite search engine to find them, and it also has a lot of cool tools for, you know, downloading them in different sizes or just, you know, getting a direct embed code that's responsive. So use that Teoh add a little bit of a dynamic element to the blog's that I'm writing about . And then you tube is important, too, because video can help your content Teoh a pure, higher and search just in general. And so you know, embedding or related video. You know, not only does it help with search, but it also helps people Teoh get a little bit more out of your content. So it would be another example that's related to that Tanks that get around blag. I recently published a post was a guest post. But I added all the images and it was about, um, you know, moving to Australia and one of the sub points was about applying for a visa. So I found a video that was like a great overview of the process. And I think that really added something to the article. So you know the reason for me listing all these different things? It's just to keep you thinking about different ways. You can use content. It's not just about stock photos. You know, sometimes it's about videos or gifts or whatever, and then we also have a couple paid options, which, if you're doing this for a living, I would highly suggest that you look into these because it's gonna make your life so much easier. You know, when you're looking for that perfect image in these other places are just over mind. Or maybe they just don't have what you want. Eso in Grado Elements is one of my new favorites, and you might know them because they are pretty popular WordPress theme marketplace. But they also have this new thing called and Votto Elements, which is a paid membership, which includes access to a bunch of WordPress themes, plug ins. Ah, lot of like video trainings e books from places like Smashing magazine. Um, but, you know, the thing that I'm talking about it for in this case is it has a lot of image assets, both stock photos, but also, you know, like vector graphics and other different things for different use cases. So I would highly recommend that if you like me, you know, need a lot of this raw stock photo stuff, Um, and then graphic stock. I think they've actually been acquired, and it's called something else now. But they but they do like a paid monthly subscription that's pretty affordable on deposit photos, runs a lot of deals on APP Sumo, which is one of my favorite entrepreneur, you know, Lifetime deal subscription or not, subscription newsletters that I get and what they've been doing recently. I think it's like $49 for 100 images. You can use them whenever so you know, essentially 50 cents an image, which is mad, cheap for stock photos that you can't fund anywhere else. So you know what I would suggest for that is to just sign up for AB sumo emails. And then the next time they run the steel, just jump on it and buy a couple different, you know, 100 packs. So I think we have talked about everything here that's worth talking about. And next we're going to talk about finding credible sources to use in your outlining and your draft. 5. Lesson 4: Finding Credible Sources to Cite: while you're going through the process of outlining and eventually drafting. You don't want to think about what sources to use to support your arguments, to gather statistics. Um, you know, just to link, give people direction for where they can learn more about, you know, certain topics that aren't necessarily directly related to the topic at hand. But you know that that might give some or inside or whatever you're gonna want to think about what sources to use. And so I'm gonna give you a couple different things to think about when you're choosing your sources. The first thing is your sources or your external links impact on S E. O. On on site s CEO what I generally uses. My guideline is to or so external links per 500 words. Multiply that out. You know, if you're doing 1000 words, 1500 words, etcetera. And since my niche is kind of within, you know, the digital marketing realm in general, I have to be thinking about the fact that things change all the time and I need to be using sources that air current within a year to max of publication. So at this point, you know anything from like 20 15 and you know before that is more or less useless to me if it's about digital marketing, that's not to say that I couldn't still use a source like that. You know, if it's like, say, ah, study on psychology or something is there's certain things that don't really have that same timeliness. But you know, when you're using sources to support, uh, specifically like for me, like the digital American and best practices I would want to stick within that time frame just so people take me seriously and then also, maybe this is it. I guess this kind of is an ASIO consideration when you're creating content for a client. If there's other, you know, big big guys in the space that are that have an awesome blogged that do a lot of awesome studies. You're gonna want to air on the side of not including those sources in the blood that you're writing for your client. Unless there's a really good reason, like you know, they have the only date on this of anyone or, you know, everyone else's data is not really credible. It's not a credible name behind the study or something like that. But it's something that's worth mentioning because of accidentally done it so many times in the past on accident. Just do yourself a favor and don't say the competitors. Er So, um, I want Teoh also touch on internal links because they're also important for S e O. It helps Google understand the different paths within a website and how content is connected especially, you know, with your guards to like different topics and supporting them within the website S e o like a lot of it has to do with the things that you do on your own Web set. A lot of it also has to do with the things that you know, like that happens off your website like back links and things like that. But, you know, you're gonna be off to a really good start for you or for your client. If you're following s CEO on site best practices and technical best practices. But we're just focusing on on site stuff right now. So a really easy way to find external links on your website. It's just type site and then, um whatever the name of the site is so like my site blocks with dot com and then actually before, So I think you could do it after two. Um, let's just say back, Link says, I know that's a block on my website. So So, like, if you're working with the really, um, with a company that has a lot of content, this is a really easy way to sort through it as your you know, going through the outlining stage or as you're going through the drafting stage and you want to make sure you hit, you know, whatever their guidelines are. Or you know, if you're writing from an ASIO perspective to make sure that you're including those internal links just to be thorough for your profession, this is a great way to find internal wings without having to just page through the blogged forever. You know, and, you know, just hope for the best hope that the right article pops up, and this is also good because it's not just limited to the block, although I could limited to the bog by adding, you know, the path for the blogged right here. Um, but it could also help you find pages that aren't black post pages like this one, for example, to service page. You know, it's still an internal link. It's still something that helps with Seo. So sometimes, like, somebody doesn't have a whole lot of blood content. This is a good way to find relevant things that would be useful to link Teoh. Um, and we're gonna get this in one second here. Um, so the next thing I wanted to talk about is just creating, like, an expert source repository for industry. This can help you. Or if you have blood, contributors just toe have, like, you know, these air, The websites that we know we trust, you know, they're high authority. Um, you know, experts source says we want you to kind of start your search here. So here's one I've put together, and I've just included, you know, stuff about marketing stuff about social media, Uh, you know, conversion, best practices and things like that. I should probably update this that heaven in a while, But the point is to just have a little bit of a resource you can fall back on, especially if you're, you know, just not if you're burnt out from writing or whatever. It's nice to just have it there and you can just click through and then you can pull this little internal links trick on Google toe, help you out. So on a final note here with the idea of using expert sources and these are the external links that we're talking about right now, the first thing in terms of what adds to your article is authority. So, you know, it's one thing for you to make a claim. It's another thing for you to back it up. So, um, one way to find these experts sources if you don't have your expert repository created yet is Teoh. Oh, my God. Why is it doing that? Um is Teoh you know, whatever your favorite websites are that you're looking at, you might want to check their domain authority to see if Google considers some in authority . And you could just just google like check domain authority. I think mas has a great tool for that. So I would suggest you start there and it's free to use. You know, you can check these things without having to pay for an S e o toole, But domain authority, it's basically a measure between one and 100 it's harder to get to 100 as you move away from one. It's exponentially harder. But anything over 30 or so tends to be a good Web site in terms of what Google considers a good Web set. Um, we've already talked about these other things. Like, you know, some industries change fast. You want to be thinking about stuff of the published eight. That's pretty recent. Another thing to determine if a Net expert sources worth using in your outline and your draft is you know, our people linking to another measure. You could use it if you don't have, like an SDO tool that can tell you this is our people engaging with it, you know, do they leave a lot of comments? Are there a lot of social shares? And you can use a tool for Buzz Suma like Buzz Sumo if that's not immediately obvious, like if they don't have a social sharing plug in that constant things down. But, um, you probably have to pay for it to get the most use out of it. So hopefully there's some context clues, but that's all I'm gonna harp on using different sources and hopefully, you know, by my next lesson I can get all this jumping around figured out. 6. Lesson 5: Outline Best Practices: so you'll be happy to know that we're almost done here. We're just kind of crossing our teas and dotting our I's making sure that we create the best outline that we can. So, um, here's how to outline like a boss. Just some best practices to keep in mind for soft Don't write blocks of text. We've talked about how you know short bullets are the way to go because you're not writing the article yet. But if you get inspired, follow it. Another thing that can break up your workflow bit is if you're trying to comprehend a big topic. But you know, you have your outline flow going so you don't want to lose. You know some source material that you found, but you also don't want to play. Dries it. So one thing I do is if I'm copying anything directly, even if it's like you know, somebody's quote like something that they said I market and red on the outline. Just so that's a visual cue to be that I need to rework it. I need Teoh, you know, maybe do some more research to understand it before right about it. Before I go into draft mode, but that just reminds means to not do anything silly. Another thing that I have noticed just with some of my contributors is calling out the obvious or kind of talking around a subject just adding kind of like useless sentences. You know, we're gonna talk about this today, and it's hard to explain without showing you an example, but you'll start to pick up on it yourself. You know, now that you've heard me say it, hopefully, um, another thing that you want to dio when you were creating your outline is you want to kind of if you're writing A for a client is to kind of insert them in the conversation where you can, so one would do that is internal links, but that's that tends to be a little bit more of a subtle way to do it. If your client, you know, has a direct stake and the topic that your talking about, don't wait till that last call, the action in the conclusion to bring them up. So, you know, focus on making the client the hero. Um, you know, find a way to make them relevant for the topic to the topic. And the other thing that I have heard a lot from editors earlier on in my writing career is , you know, sometimes I kind of brush through a topic without really going into the depth that I should Sometimes this is a simple as spelling out an acronym, you know, like C R. O is conversion rate optimization. And maybe most people who read a certain article would know what that means, but not everyone. So you want Teoh over explained things to an extent, but it just in general, don't assume that people know what you're talking about. Um, it's just better to spend, you know, second, just defining a concept and then moving on. So if you're if you're outlining and you know you're looking at that blank page or that template or whatever, any feeling a little bit overwhelmed, Ah, couple ideas to just make it a little bit easier to get started. Our first of all, just seeing what other people are saying, you know, try searching whatever your topic is with best practices at the end or how Teoh you know, the idea here is that you're looking for inspiration, but definitely don't use it as an opportunity to plagiarize your steal ideas. So, you know, even if somebody has a really good way of saying something, don't be tempted, Teoh. You know, copy that. Maybe not even in red, because I think that topping stuff in red is something that I only do when it's like a hard concept for me to grasp. Right then they're much rather, you know, re stay and rewrite as I'm creating my outlined than toe have just chunks of right to come back to. So so is look for inspiration, but don't steal. And, you know, while if you're stuck maybe Anisur and subheading or whatever, just think about, you know, refer back to these like best practices, how to articles and see, like, what did they use for their source material, where the primary sources studies, surveys, whatever that they used? And then you can go back in and use those things to find statistics to support the points that you made. But again, this is just for inspiration, not for thievery. So when I'm doing outlining or blagging for client work, I like to have a little bit of structure around it. The first thing is that I put the client's name, you know, you know, client name and that dash No name of the proposed article or even, just like, you know, some notes about what's about. If I haven't picked the name yet. Put that in the title may also create a folder for re client on Google Drive just to keep everything organized. And another thing I like to do is keep a copy of the outline and then just, um, you know, make a copy that can work from for when I'm drafting, just in case, you know, there's something that I accidentally delete or whatever and I want to refer back to later . I just want to see the structure, you know, separate from what I'm drafting and, you know, on Google docks, you can see the revisions and stuff like that, so this might not be necessary for you, but it could just help if you need a little bit of organization in your life. So after this, we're going to quickly go over self editing. We're gonna kind of skip over, you know, writing that first draft. But I think it's worth talking about editing in the scope of this. This is a class 7. Lesson 6: Self-Edits: So we're gonna talk about self editing and I realized it just lied to you a little bit in the last lesson we're gonna touch on drafting very briefly. So when you're writing that first draft you want to think about, you know, you just kind of trying to string everything together. You still have a whole another phase for editing, at least if you're following my process. So you know, the best tip I can give you is to just write Don't aim for perfection at this point. Don't get stuck on, you know, like word used like, oh, accidentally use the same word I just used, you know, And I want to create a better word. Just add in like, you know, bold or put it in red. Give yourself some sort of visual cue that you need to revisit that, but don't spend, you know, 10 minutes just staring at that word. And you know, not making any progress. That's that's just going to hinder your process. And the other thing that I wanted to say to is something that works really well for me is the Pomodoro method which is like 25 minutes on five minutes for a break and just repeat is necessary until you're done. I found the after adhering to this process specifically, you know, with my outline in hand for, like, a 500 word block post. I can finish it in that 25 minute period if I have a really good outline toe work off of. So, you know, let that be your inspiration for following this practice and just getting shit done. So now we'll talk about editing as promise on. And there's a couple of different things that I dio when I'm editing. I follow a couple different processes for edits that I like to do separately just so I don't get confused, you're overwhelmed by trying to mix, you know, multiple, different edits. And at a time, you know, the main thing is, no matter what, no matter how much I think you're you want to do or that you're expected to do from a client standpoint, is you know, first of all, just do a once over. If you don't do anything else without it and just look over once more than likely are gonna find something that's been phrased awkwardly that you didn't realize when you were drafting , um, you know, you might find the spelling Yuri's graham ing grammar errors that whatever grammar trucker that used to that catch, Um, once you do that, if you're still game for more, I would recommend that you read it out loud. Uh, this just helps me personally, Teoh make sense of what I wrote. And sometimes I find that what I write doesn't really translate Teoh speech. And granted, people are going to be reading it, probably not saying it out loud while they're reading it. But either way, it's a great way to just self edit yourself because it's easier to here. The problems when you're physically saying them. And then another editing technique or whatever you wanna call it is to just add it for the audience. You know, ask yourself, Is this interesting to me or to my ideal audience that I'm writing for and if not, what can I change to get it there? And if there's nothing I can change, you know, like, what the hell did I do wrong when I wrote this article? Because now it's just just a piece of trash. Um, if you're writing, if we're still editing from the outline perspective. You want to ask yourself, you know, did I include enough information so that I don't need to consult the Internet to be able to actually write the article? And you might also consider while you're editing or outline, Um, did I follow the S E O checklist? The style guide? This might be more relevant after you completed your first draft, but it's even. It's worth it to be thinking about it, even at that stage. 8. Class Project: So that's it. You've made it. And hopefully you know, at the end of this class you've learned something new you've learned, you know, even just a couple new things to improve your outlining yourself added a and even your first draft cross us. So at this point, I would recommend that if you haven't downloaded my templates yet. My style guide template, my ASIO checklists and my outlined template. Of course, Head over to the dash, blacksmith dot com ford slash kick dash s dash outline that links in the about section so you don't have to remember it. You can just click and a Zafar as the project for this class. What I would really love to see is you put together an outline for your next vlog post and all looked through it and give you any sort of direction that you can use to make it better to go into your first drafting stage. But other than that, guys, that's all I have right now I'm very open to you. Any questions? You might have any comments even you know, better ways to do what I'm doing. I'm always interested in improving my processes. So please, you know, participate in the class discussion and together we'll make better outlines