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Andrew Chen uses outlines to consistently generate blog post topics.

An Outline Insight curated by WriteMapper

For Bloggers Blog Post Resource
Having a short outline or starting a paragraph or two of the post helps me sketch out the idea in enough form to easily execute it at a later date. Otherwise, if you just have a fun headline but no body, going from 0 to 60 can be quite rough.

ANDREW CHEN IS a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, where he invests in new consumer startups. Previously, he led Rider Growth at Uber, advised/invested in dozens of startups, and has been writing for over a decade about startup metrics, monetization, and growth, which he publishes at his personal blog.

His advice has been empirically shown to work — of the 650+ pieces on startups he has published on his blog, some have ended up being featured and quoted in The New York Times, Fortune, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Industry veterans also have good things to say about the writing he publishes, including quotes from notable organisations and individuals such as Wired Magazine, Eric Ries, and Mitch Kapor.

The Main Takeaway

Being able to consistently write popular pieces for your audience and having them recognise your writing as being some of the best work in the space is the envy of many if not all new bloggers and writers, regardless of the domain they’re in.

Chen begins this post by writing that he never expected more than a few subscribers to his blog, but has, over time, now amassed a very healthy following — enough that a sharing of his accumulated knowledge would be very useful and helpful to newbies in the space.

Here, he looks back at over a decade of blogging experience, drawing on that to give aspiring bloggers who wish emulate the success of his very popular blog his top ten tips on writing one professionally.

Obstacles and Difficulties

There’s numerous possible pitfalls when it comes to blogging. It can be a daunting task, especially if you think of how there are essentially unlimited topics there are for you to cover. There’s also the pressure of facing a blank canvas every time a new blog post is tackled.

Writers with new blogs may also face issues with not focusing on any one particular topic, having the brand of their blog come across as distracted, or end up running out of ideas to write about after the first couple of posts.

This may lead bloggers to feel pressured to write about the latest ongoing happenings of current affairs, which might not have fit into their blog’s narrative in the first place.

Using an Outline

Chen does frequent research and brainstorming to help combat these issues of facing writer’s block and not having topics to write about, which he states is a problem he faces on a weekly basis.

He takes advantage of when he’s in a good creative mood to brainstorm short outlines of startup topics he finds interest in or compelled by to expand his thoughts on. This act of outlining his blog post on a startup topic, he states, is tremendously helpful in making it easier to pick up on later, expanding it into a full blog post.

By constantly working on these outlines, he's able to generate a constant stream of not just ideas and headlines, but also have a rough first version of a startup blog post topic to write about every week.

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