DailyWritingTips

Section Two: Creating an Outline

Think of the outline as a roadmap for guiding you through writing the article, ensuring that your ideas are organized and flow logically.

Not all writers need to have outlines to follow, but most do. It keeps things organized and on track and saves a ton of time. There are two ways you can go about this.

1. Client provides a brief

A client brief will usually contain a basic overview of what they want, including the headings or sections. Take those key points from the brief, open a new document, and paste them there. These are your bones. From there, add your own notes and points for what you need to include in each section.

2. No brief provided

At the very least, a client will provide you with the topic. From there, head to Google, plunk on the topic, and see what the top five sites say about it. Make a note of the headings they use and the questions they answer. (But never reuse their content! Always use your own words!)

Head back to your outline and create a list of headings and questions that would provide accurate and direct explanations of the main topic.

Once you’ve established this bare-bones outline for yourself (in either scenario), start making notes under each heading for the content you plan to write there.

In the end, a good article outline should look something like this:

Introduction 

  • Start the introduction with the definition of the main topic/keyword.
  • Define freelance writing and the various types of writing services offered.
  • Highlight the benefits of a freelance writing career.
  • Create an overview of the sections covered in the article.
  • Add a hook to encourage readers to read on.

Keywords to use in the intro:

  • How to become a freelance writer
  • Freelance writing for beginners
  • Launch a freelance writing career
  • Finding freelance writing clients
  • Freelance writing tips  

H2 How to Become a Freelance Writer

  • Introduce the rest of the section

H3 Assessing Your Readiness (numbered list)

Cover the following:

  • Essential skills and traits for freelance writing success
  • Honest evaluation of your current writing abilities and work ethic

H3 Developing Your Skills and Portfolio (numbered list)

Cover the following:

  • Resources for improving writing and grammar
  • Strategies for building a portfolio without paid experience (guest blogging, speculative samples, etc.)
  • Finding your niche or areas of interest

H3 Establishing Your Online Presence (numbered list)

Cover the following:

  • Website or portfolio basics (tools and platforms)
  • Optimizing your LinkedIn profile and other professional platforms
  • The importance of a professional headshot and author bio

H3 Finding Your First Paying Clients (numbered list)

Cover the following:

  • Utilizing job boards and content mills for initial experience
  • Strategies for direct pitching and networking
  • Cold emailing tactics

H3 Setting Your Rates and Managing Your Business (numbered list)

Cover the following:

  • Basic rate-setting methods (hourly vs. per-project)
  • Using contracts and outlining expectations
  • Simple invoicing and bookkeeping tools

H2 The Freelance Mindset    

Cover the following:

  • Overcoming imposter syndrome and fear of rejection
  • Embracing self-promotion and marketing your services
  • Developing a growth mindset and seeking continuous learning

H2 Conclusion

Becoming a freelance writer is achievable with dedication and strategy. Provide links to additional resources and freelance writing communities.