How an Outline Can Help You Write Web Content Quickly

It would be a stretch to call myself an organized person. I’m not disorganized, mind you. I’m simply not someone that’s gone out of their way to utilize or develop organizational strategies. When I was freelancing I kept all of my tax data on a basic Excel sheet. I have several resources for one of our ongoing projects, and most of them are splattered in a Microsoft Word document with little to no information beyond the URL.

I don’t lose things, and I’m never late on work, but if someone were to take over for me they’d probably cry and quit within a few minutes.

So when it comes to writing, most of the time I wing it. I wasn’t trained to be a writer. I was trained to be a freelance copywriter, and usually that involves whipping out as much writing as I can and moving on to the next project as quickly as possible.

Finding Strategies to Save Time

Unfortunately, the wing it method was holding me back. There was a point before my fingers decided to get mad at me that I could write an error free 500 word keyword article in 3 or 4 minutes – over 100 words per minute. And yet despite that incredible speed (this is me patting myself on the back), I was still working 10 to 12 hours a day and barely making enough to cover my expenses.

That’s because almost every article went like this:

  • Finish previous article.
  • Think about what to write about.
  • Think about what to write about.
  • Get bored, check baseball scores.
  • Think about what to write about.
  • Facebook.
  • Think about what to write about.
  • Figure out what to write about.
  • Write in 3 minutes.

The process in between finishing a previous article and writing a new article could take as long as an hour. That hour would be filled not only with coming up with topic ideas – it would also be filled with distractions, because time spent not writing was time spent not doing anything.  It wasn’t always upon completion of the article either. There were articles where only 200 words in I’d have to stop everything and come up with the next sentence, only to waste time and get distracted.

This was a problem, and it was something that held me back from providing as fast a turnaround as I would have liked. That’s when I took some advice from Anthony that I should have taken years ago – outlining numerous articles before writing about them.

The Benefit of Outlining Articles

At first, I didn’t get the point. Outlining a 500 word article always seemed like time wasted. It already took me a long time to come up with the next article topic. Why would I come up with a topic, outline it, and then come up with the next topic and outline it when all of that time wouldn’t net me a single dollar. We’re paid by the word, not by the soon to be deleted outline.

Then one day I was completing a project about survey research, and I had all of these ideas for great topics. Unfortunately, it was getting late, and I was expected to meet up with some friends for a baseball game. So I wrote out all of the title ideas I had – I believe there were 7 or 8 – in order to keep note of them later.

Then I realized that the titles weren’t descriptive enough, and if I didn’t get back to the project in time I would be at risk for forgetting what I wanted to write about. So I jotted down notes with each article, like “explain this, this, and this” or “focus on this component, and minimize that component.”

The next day I went back to work, saw all of the titles and information that I set out for myself, and wrote all 7 or 8 articles in less than an hour and a half. I didn’t stop for a break once, and I didn’t get distracted, because there was no reason to stop writing – I knew everything I was planning to write about already, and all that was left was typing it all on the document.

Another Benefit of Outlining All At Once

So I started adopting an outlining procedure, and doing so allowed me to realize an additional benefit as well. One of the issues that many freelance writers have is that when coming up with topics themselves, they have a good idea and write about it right away. But that good idea may have spawned other good ideas. Unfortunately, you didn’t have the opportunity to sit and think about it, or get into any type of zone that would allow you to come up with multiple great article topics.

Because I was no longer interrupting my thought processes by writing, I was able to come up with more topics at once, and more ideas about how to explore those topics. This meant that I could come up with 10 or more topics in an hour or less, outline them, and then write them over the rest of the afternoon. I cut hours off of my time, and I was considerably less distracted and more productive throughout the day.

If you need to write content more quickly and you’ve found that distractions and wasted time are your biggest issues, outlining may be the solution you need. It worked for Anthony, it works for me, and let’s be honest you want to be exactly like us someday because we’re so cool.

Author

  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios (https://GreatLeapStudios.com) and High Volt Digital (https://HighVoltDigital.com).
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content