I was forced to write by outline in high school and hated it. Now I finally see the value. Here’s the form I follow when writing new content for websites or blogs.
Title: I tend to write this last. It’s the hardest piece for me to write.
Meta description: I write this first and then edit it later. It’s like writing a good thesis statement for your academic paper.
Keywords: The meta keyword content no longer provides useful SEO in terms of being used by search engines; it does help me to improve my SEO when I know what words I’m optimizing for on the page.
Call(s) to action: It’s too easy to forget that every page we write can and should include its own call to action. So even if I want to be very low-key, I still need to know what it is.
Page purpose: After writing everything above this should be obvious, but sometimes it helps to write it in terms of the intended audience or strategic goal. I find it very helpful to include if there are going to be multiple content reviewers.
Outline: I write this and then I don’t look at it again, typically. I either write it as a topical outline, or I list statements or concepts I want to be sure to include. I frequently delete this before I send my client the new page.
Review date: I find that if I don’t decide this right away, I forget to review it at the appropriate time. Or the person responsible for reviewing it doesn’t get it on his or her list.
I sometimes also include the following if appropriate for the website or blog.
Related links. This could be from the same site or other credible sites.
Category tags. I find it really easy to forget this step for my own blogs.
Suggested Twitter or other social media content to support the new page. If I don’t post the page myself, then this would also include a note regarding the shortened link to be used for the page. Everyone in the company should be using the same one.