It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, be it white paper, case study or eBook, you can make it better with an outline. Many people balk at creating outlines. However, if you don’t create an outline, it’s going to be difficult to ensure that you cover the information you planned, in the way that you need to, and with enough intensity to affect your audience members and make them want to take action.

  • Choose Your Topic – To pick the right topic, you need to know who the audience is, what they want and need, and how that gels with your skills and solutions. A topic doesn’t have to be the same as the title. You can perfect the title later as long as you know what’s going to be included.
  • Establish a Purpose for This Topic – It can help you choose topics better if you know what the purpose of the content is. For example, if you’re creating a case study in order to help your audience members in the decision phase of their buying journey, then you know the call to action should be to go to the landing page and make a purchase. This can help you highlight the purpose in a way that makes sense going forward.
  • Create a List of Main Ideas – From that main topic, and the purpose, create a list of main or broad ideas to cover. You can just brainstorm this without much thought. Just look at your purpose and the topic and come up with some bullet points you want to discuss.
  • Organize the Ideas Logically – Try to put these main ideas into a logical order so that it makes sense to the reader. Staring at the beginning and ending with the end is often the best way, but it depends on the point of your document. Sometimes people like knowing the end first, then getting to the reasons later.
  • Decide What Sub-Points You’ll Cover for Each Idea – Under each main point, you’ll want to list bullets or sub-points about each main idea that you will discuss.
  • Review and Adjust for Clarity – As you create the outline, you may come up with a better order as the creative juices flow. That’s great; go ahead and review and adjust as you go.
  • Start Filling Your Outline in with Information and Research – Once you have a list of chapters and the sub-points you want to talk about in each chapter, it can also help to write a synopsis about the information to remind you about what you wanted to say when it’s time to write. You can also link to your research within each area to make it easier when you start writing.

After you have done the outline, you have the information you need to research and learn about in order to get the information inside your document.  It can help to describe, for example, the point of each chapter and what it’ll include so that you know what you’re going to be writing about for each area.

The great thing about an outline is that it enables you to start working on the document at any point within the outlines as you learn the information, talk to the experts, or otherwise have clarity on what to write. It makes it simple to determine the parts of the project that needs to be outsourced, where you’ll need graphics, and so much more.

Outlines make writing easier because they help put your mind in the right frame as you develop the content for your ideal customer.

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Now that we’ve looked at the differences and similarities of white papers, case studies, and eBooks, plus the benefits of them such as the ability to distribute easily and reuse the information to increase return on investment, it’s time to get started creating your own long-form content.

One idea is to start with an eBook or a case study, and then you can put the information you learn from the eBook and case study for a future white paper. Start with the information you already have and then build on it as time moves along. Eventually, you can combine everything into a comprehensive white paper that can be used, repurposed and reimagined in a hundred ways throughout your business to promote growth.


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