How Do I Make an Outline for My Podcast Episodes?
Have you ever had a brilliant podcast topic you couldn’t wait to share about? The ideas were flowing, the conviction was there, and you couldn’t get your mind to shut off, yet the page was left blank because you couldn’t figure out where to begin.
As creatives, the issue is rarely a shortage of ideas. The thoughts and dreams can rattle around in our minds so loudly that it can be hard to hear the world around us, yet when it comes time to begin turning those thoughts into content, it can be hard to know where to start.
Without a plan, getting sidetracked and going off on long-winded tangents can be easy. And when it comes to podcasting, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of a recording and realizing you forgot an important point. An outline is a quick and easy tool that solves all of these problems and more, and today we are going to talk about how to formulate a brief outline to make your content enticing and easy to follow. Here are four steps to help you get started.
1. Brain dump.
We’ve all had that experience — the one where we’ve got this brilliant idea and can’t stop thinking about it. Whether in the car, grocery shopping, in the shower or cooking dinner, the thoughts are all-consuming, rolling in at a mile a minute, and the idea of sharing it with the world is exhilarating. The first step of creating an outline is getting all those thoughts on paper. Whether virtual paper or a tangible pen and paper, it doesn’t matter. The point here is to get those thoughts out. I often use the Notes app on my phone, and as I think about the topic, I’ll write down every idea that comes to mind. This part doesn’t have to be pretty or tied up in a bow. The thoughts don’t have to make sense to anyone but you, but just get them out so you can use them for step two.
2. Clean up and get organized.
Next, you’ll want to read through everything you have written out from step one and start organizing it. Typically during this step, I’ll realize I have duplicated a couple of points or forgotten something I needed to add. Now is the time to eliminate the duplicated thoughts, group similar ones, add anything you’ve forgotten, and remove anything that might not fit into the topic. After all of the thoughts and ideas for your topic are out, it’s a lot more likely that you’ll be able to think more clearly.
Now that everything is cleaned up and organized, the last thing that you’ll want to do is list your topics in order of priority. If you have four similar bullet points, you’ll want to pick a central topic for that section and then order the bullet points in a manner that flows best for discussion. You’ll also want to pay attention to the items you have grouped. This will ensure that you don’t forget to hit on any of the points and that everything flows well for your consumer! Once you’ve prioritized your topics in the order you want to share them, you’re finished with step three!
4. Let it be fun.
Finally, and most importantly, have fun! Creating content can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. An outline is a fantastic tool and should not be a point of stress for you. At most, a solid outline should take between 10-20 minutes. Use it as a guide to keep your content flowing, but don’t forget that God created your mind uniquely and in His image, and it’s OK to have a little freedom in your work. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
When you learn how to use an outline to your creative benefit, it is a fantastic tool that will allow you the freedom to create and share easy-to-consume content. Now it is your turn: Think of a topic that has been clanking around in your head for some time and set aside 20 minutes to brain dump and outline this topic. Once you’ve done so, share how it went in the comments!
You’ve got this, friend!
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