There are few among us that take delight in organization. The process of planning something instead of building it requires a great deal of patience. When it comes to content, however, everything from your process to your impact can benefit from an organizational outline. By enabling writing, reading, focus, and memory, outlines are a powerful tool for any business blog, improving perception and enabling your commercial goals.
They Facilitate the Writing Process
Writing is a unique skill set, endowed in only a few. Unfortunately for those of us without that gift, our companies need content, and that content must be of prime quality to build a readership.
Fortunately, outlines help ease the process of writing, imbuing the kind of quality required of published content for even those with meager writing skill. By creating a structure around which ideas are formed, the mind naturally constructs ideas in a coherent manner, allowing you to easily articulate one element of your piece after another, unburdened by concerns of flow and formation.
Furthermore, they help provide inspiration. When writing content paragraph by paragraph without understanding the "geography" of your work, it's easy to miss the forest for the trees, so to speak. By understanding your work from a top-down perspective, filling in the prompts with coherent paragraphs becomes a much less arduous task.
They Make Reading EasierThe writer isn't the only party that benefits from outlines. The ever-important reader reaps the fruits of organizational effort as well.
Our minds are eased by structure. Traffic lights, lines at grocery stores, and chapters in books all help us understand the boundaries of our actions and attention, working to help guide our cognitive resources in one, simple direction. Outlines are much like the road signs that lead us to highways and points of interest, constructing a narrative and helping set expectations for what's to come.
In addition, well-crafted headings help summon the resources needed to finish reading. If your reader is forced to determine whether they should continue with each passing paragraph, the cognitive burden involved is likely to lead to page abandonment. Attention grabbing headings help remedy this decision-making process by piquing their interests and guiding them forward.
They Provides Focus
If you've ever had a conversation with a pedantic acquaintance, then you know how difficult unfocused conversation can be. If your conversation partner is offering compelling information or engaging you on an active basis, then your attention is held, identifying value in the experience. In the case of the talkative friend, however, your mind wanders, wondering when the toil will end, and when your next important task can begin.
Poorly structured pieces are like wordy cohorts: they amble, providing value, but only among meandering sentences. Outlines help remedy this situation by setting reader expectations and then delivering on them in an efficient manner. An article entitled "The Ultimate Guide to Product Pages" makes a lofty promise, but by breaking the writing process into manageable chunks, the reader develops an understanding of the aspects of product pages that a cursory discussion could not deliver, perceiving value and continuing through to the final paragraph.
They Make Your Message More MemorableYour content delivers value, but that's not its only purpose. In helping your customers, your ultimate goal is to strengthen your brand and facilitate sales conversion through an engaging conversation. Without the mental association between your content and your company, these efforts fall short.
Outlines, through their multiple benefits, help build this desired association. By allowing writers to write more effectively, easing the readers burden, and providing focused value, readers inherently recognize the value of your efforts. The end result is an enhancement of brand image that will have a synergistic effect on commercial success.
With content gaining importance in the marketplace, it's tempting to prioritize pace over organization, but savvy writers know that outlines facilitate both rate of production and ROI. By unburdening your writing process, improving reader experience, adding focused value to your content, and leaving an impression in the minds of customers, outlines represent one of the most valuable tools in your blogging and marketing toolkit.