Chapter 4: Quick Outlines for Faster Post Writing
Alright, at this point you have 20 (or so) keyword groups, you’ve refined them and developed keyword rich post titles, and now it’s time to turn those titles into posts for your website.
Job One: Serve the Searcher
Publishing a high value post boils down to one objective:
Answer the searcher’s question with a couple of interesting and insightful points that get her closer to her goal(whatever the goal is).
The searchers’s “question” may not obviously be a question. If she types “start a home-based business” into Google, she didn’t explicitly ask a question, but there’s a question inherent in the keyword, isn’t there? She’s asking “how can I start a home-based business?” or “what’s a good home-based business to start?” As the publisher, you get to choose what angle you take when answering the question she’s “asking,” and your only priority is to make her better off for having found your post.
A Simple Technique for Creating Interesting Outlines
Coming up with points of interest off the top of your head can be challenging.
If I’m stuck for interesting points to hit with my article, I find it helpful to turn my post title into a quick outline from which the post will flow smoothly. Here’s an example using one of my actual post titles:
“How to Start Up Your Own Small Business with No Money and Bad Credit”
“start up” – what does this mean? develop products, buy equipment, hire staff, lease space, advertise.
My thoughts: brand new business owners should be running a business as lean and mean as possible. Rent or borrow equipment, “hire” your spouse or teenager (ie – they work for free), work out of your basement, advertise with fliers you print off your computer and make copies at kinko’s for a few bucks. You need to be cheap, cheap, cheap.
“small business” – Something local, bricks and mortar, very likely a service business.
My thoughts: Start lean and mean with a service business where you CAN go the cheap route. If your dream is to own a brick and mortar business, do that after you’ve cut your teeth offering a service and building up your cash flow (and cash reserves).
“with no money” – this post is really about having the cash you need to keep the business going until it’s bringing in stable revenue
My thoughts: Your whole goal, your whole reason for existing as a business owner is to generate revenue. That revenue will grow your small business, not loans or investments.
“bad credit” – looking for non-loan solutions, ie investors, partners, 401k or other retirement
My thoughts: Good news – you wouldn’t get a loan even if you had good credit – for most businesses anyway. Investors are just bosses and you don’t want to mess with your 401k (fees, penalties, worst of all − that’s your long term savings). Your bad credit doesn’t affect your ability to ask people to buy your service, and asking people to buy your service is what’s really going to help the business get off the ground.
Most of the money you’d spend would be wasted in the early stages anyway, as a function of your inexperience and lack of understanding of why people are actually going to give you money. Cash can be a curse.
Just like that I’ve got an outline around which I can build a really nice post. The outline alone is over 300 words (not that your outline needs to be long; it just needs to help you flesh out some ideas for the post) – how hard can it be to turn my 300-word outline into a 500 to 1,000 word high value post? Again, it will seem hard at first, but if you get into a habit you’ll find gets easier and easier.
What if I Can’t Come Up with a Quick Outline Off the Top of My Head?
At some point you’re going to come across a keyword group where you get just plain stuck – most likely because you simply don’t have enough experience with the subject. Not to worry – here are a couple of resources to help you turn post titles into outlines, even for unfamiliar subjects:
1. Yahoo! Answers – go to Yahoo! answers and search different versions of your keyword group or post title. For example, if I search “start a business with no money,” I get over 7,000 different question/answer threads where people are discussion my keyword group. Skimming through those dialogues will give me plenty of ideas for an interest-packed outline.
2. Amazon book summaries and reviews – go to amazon and, again, search for different versions of your keyword group or post title. Look through the book titles, summaries, and especially reviews (because that’s where you’ll find people’s opinions about the subjects) to find more points of interest for your outline (it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy and read books that relate to your keyword groups).
I guarantee you’ll find it easy to create quick and interesting outlines with those two resources.
Please understand – I’m not advocating or encouraging plagiarism. Sources like Amazon and Yahoo! Answers should spark your creativity and thought process about any given keyword group. Your goal needs to be to experience and understand your topics to the point that you can write based on those experiences.
So here’s your next assignment:
Take each of your 20 post titles (one for each of your keyword groups, right?) and turn them into quick outlines.
In the next chapter I’ll show you the post I published with the outline above, then give you some techniques for getting into a goog publishing rhythm.