Guest Post: Organize Your Content With An Outline

16 Apr

The weather was beautiful this weekend in Boston. I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy it! In case you missed it, I did a rare weekend post on the box squat, you can check it here. I’m excited to deliver a great guest post for you today by my friend Mike Pelosi. Mike is a very intelligent dude, and one of the strongest guys I know.

If you keep a blog, aspire to keep a blog, or even just enjoy writing – this post is for you! Below the article is a little more about Mike, and how he can you help you as an aspiring writer / blogger. Feel free to contact Mike with any questions, his em-mail is listed below. Enjoy!

 

     Writing is an art, not a science. Attractive writing involves style, grammar, clarity, and the understanding that a blank piece of paper is a canvas waiting to be painted. However, unlike a painter or a musician, you have a duel duty of making sure that your art reads well internally and aloud. You are a communicator of content, nothing more and nothing less. But to communicate good content requires a certain level of message architecture which begins with a foundation and solid frame work. All forms of communication refer to this as an outline.

When writing, no one does an outline. I’ve worked with a variety of people ranging from stressed out college students to niche bloggers. They all had one thing in common: outlines were boring and belonged in a high school literature class. Not true friends. A business plan is an outline, as is a marketing plan and a training program. Is your writing/blogging/message communication any less important to your business?

                If the answer is “no,” then let’s examine how an outline is done.

1.       Scribble down the main points of the message you are trying to communicate. If it is an article about squatting I would write “feet placement, bar placement, elbows under the bar, sit back, explode, chest up, rack” etc. These are just some terms to loosen up the mind.

2.       Analyze how many words and in which style you wish to write the piece. For a typical blog post, 300-500 words is good. Staying with the squat scenario, I would write:

  1. Introduction – talk about the importance of the squat and the primary muscle groups being used. Here are some basic coaching tips.
  2.  First part – foot placement, bar placement on back, how to perform a walkout, where the eyes and head should be.
  3. Second part – how to break at the hips, what you should be doing with the knees, and a brief detour about reaching parallel.
  4. Third Part – how to come back up. Use compelling words like “explode” and “drive back.” Rack the bar.
  5. Closing – go over a few issues regarding comfort with stance, a few different squatting styles, maybe some basic programming tips. Reiterate the introduction.
  6. Edit and revise. Take out any words that shouldn’t be there and limit direct dialogue. Spell check/grammar check.

That’s it; a clear and concise way of talking about the squat. More often than not, a blogger will try to turn a simple concept like the squat into a Pulitzer Prize winning article. It’s not going to happen. Keep simple things simple. If there is a concept that is complex still keep it simple by breaking it up into a bunch of different posts, each building off the last and with a separate outline. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as if you are writing a scientific, technical, or scholarly article. Even then, your primary goal is to communicate the message in mind and develop easily digestible, simple, and attractive content.

Content remains king only if people read and accept it.

 

 

About Mike Pelosi:

Michael Pelosi has been writing since he’s been a child. All of his efforts now go to helping forward thinking small businesses and entrepreneurs develop and manage website and social media content. However, in the past, he has written for a variety of online magazines and websites and has served as a professional writing tutor and mentor in the college setting. No, he won’t write your papers for you! He’s also a bit of business geek, currently studying towards a bachelor’s degree in accounting and taxation. As a powerlifter and strongman competitor, his best lifts were a 685 raw squat, 425 pound raw bench, 750 pound deadlift, and 395lb overhead press.

He can be reached at michaelepelosi.mp@gmail.com

His biggest passion in life is Diet Coke.

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