City Stroll: Outlining and Deciding Where to Share – Phase II

by on October 27, 2016 · 0 comments


The Journey Thus Far


In this post we continue to explore Mike and Josh’s “city stroll” in Ann Arbor, Michgian. These concepts build upon the techniques we discussed in last week’s class “Getting Local Results – Operation City: Stroll“.

This is the second post in our “Getting Local Results” worshop series and will build upon our previous post on Initial Local Research.

The big idea is to use deep local research to find interesting, historical, even mysterious things about your local city that can be used to create compelling content and get links from authoritative local websites and institutions.

This blog post shares the techniques they used in outlining and refining topics identified during their initial local research. In addition we will explore the process of finding the right websites to offer your work.

This post will be followed with additional articles to flesh out the entire process.

Begin Outlining Topics


Now that you have established a handful of interesting topics it is time to begin outlining. A note of Mike’s, apparently to himself, stands out as good advice as you begin this stage:

Don’t freak out!

Many of us experience less than happy thoughts when the prospect of outlining comes up. Perhaps it was a college composition class from the past, or a more contemporary requirement, outlining isn’t always fun. It is, however, a crucial step in further refining your content as part of this process.

Your outlines don’t even have to be that complicated, or even complete, at this stage. Essentialy, they serve as snap shots of the articles you may write in the future. At this point we need more than just a topic title BUT we do not require a fully completed article.

Let’s look at a few of the examples of outlines Josh and Mike put together for their city stroll project:

Argus Camera Corporation

Topic statement: The Argus C3 rangefinder camera was designed and manufactured in Ann Arbor during the first half of the 20th century. With close ties to the University of Michigan, Argus Camera employed, at its height, 1300 workers and occupied two city blocks.

Working Outline:

  1. Argus Camera Corporation
  2. Introduction – history of american rangefinder cameras
  3. Argus Corporation info
  4. The reign of the Argus C3 (27 years)
  5. Historical impact on Ann Arbor
  6. Argus Legacy on Ann Arbor
  7. Conclusion

Michigan Theater Organ – Barton Opus 245

Topic statement: The historic Michigan Theater, in downtown Ann Arbor, MI features one of the few remaining working, Barton Theater Pipe Organs in existence. It is thought that the Barton Opus 245 has been heard more often then any other theater organ in history. It is still played before most film screenings at the theater.

Working Outline:

  1. Introduction – history of the Michigan Theater
  2. History of the theater organ – specifically the Barton Opus 245
  3. The Barton Opus 245 at the Michigan Theater
  4. Legacy and future of the theater organ
  5. Conclusion

Expand and Refine Your Outlines


At this stage in the process you will want to choose one or two of your most appropriate subject matters to refine. Try to consider who you may share your articles with as you make this decision. The local historical society, for example, may be more likely to accept and publish material connected to the history of your city than perhaps the local chamber of commerce.

Once you have chosen your topic(s) begin to expand and refine them. Add pieces of supporting content to the major points you included in your first run. Interesting facts, appropriate links, images, and more can now be fit into your outline.

Although it seemed a few pages were missing from this part of the research journal, it was apparent that Mike and Josh chose to expand and refine their topic on the fairy doors of Ann Arbor.

Here is a copy of their expanded and refined working outline:

Ann Arbor Fairy Doors

Topic statement: Magical fairy doors began appearing outside businesses and residences in Ann Arbor sometime in 2005. Shrouded in mystery the doors have become an important piece of the local mythology. Many have sought to catch a photograph of an Ann Arbor fairy, it is believed none have succeeded to date.

Refined Working Outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. General info regarding fairies
    2. Accepted spellings and etymology
    3. Mythology of faeries in modern society
  2. Fairy doors explained
    1. What is a fairy door?
    2. Historical precedence
    3. Ann Arbor context
    4. Are they real? (leave as open question)
      1. The fairy DOORS are real
      2. Fairies are fictional – or are they?
      3. The residents of Ann Arbor believe
  3. Appearance in Ann Arbor
    1. Local history
    2. First appearances
  4. Fairy doors in Ann Arbor today
    1. Location list and map
    2. Businesses and residences
    3. Fairy door tours – focus on children
  5. Fairy door controversy
    1. Original artist -vs- local merchants (real)
    2. Fairy doors cited for ADA non-compliance (satire) –
  6. Fairy sightings – moving the mythology forward
    1. The Crazy Wisdom incident
    2. Personal experience while on city stroll
  7. Conclusion
    1. Future of fairy doors in A2
    2. Legacy of fairy doors – fairy doors that have outlived the businesses they were associated with

Identify Appropriate Local Sites For Potential Publication


Now that your topics are identified, and you have created outlines, you can begin to identify which sites you will target for publication. It is important to take the time to do this step before writing your articles. By doing so you are able to keep the target audience for the publication site in mind when writing your article.

It is important to keep in mind that a website is more likely to publish your article if it is relevant and customized for their audience.

In this section of the journal, Mike and Josh mention Domain Authority often. Clearly whatever they discovered gave them the distinct impression that they needed to be pay careful attention to the Domain Authority of publication sites. They also made mention of tools they plan to use to check the Domain Authority.

Check Domain Authority

As you compile a list of potential publication sites, be sure to check their Domain Authority. Domain Authority looks at the ranking strength of the entire domain. It takes a number of factors into account such as the age of the website, the number of external backlinks to the website, internal links between pages, and more.

Choose Sites With Solid Domain Authority

The best backlinks will come from local websites that have an existing high Domain Authority. While there is not a standard benchmark for a good Domain Authority, when looking at local websites, try to focus on ones with a domain authority of 30 or higher.

By collecting the Domain Authority for all of your publication sites, you can easily prioritize the articles you want to write. Focus on articles for the highest Domain Authority sites.

Tools For Checking Domain Authority

There are many free tools available to check the Domain Authority of a potential publication site. We wanted to highlight a couple of our favorites.

MozBar Extension: This browser extension from Moz Local gives you the ability to look at the Domain Authority (and a lot more) for any page you are browsing.

Please note: A free Moz Community account is required in order to see Domain Authority.

To check out the MozBar visit:

Website Authority Checker: This free tool from SEO Review Tools allows you to enter any URL and it will provide the Domain Authority, External links to page, and URL age. All of this is helpful data for deciding which publication sites to choose. The tool can also display how many times people have shared the website on social media.

To try the Website Authority Checker visit:

In Conclusion

I think I have exhausted the content of the research journal that arrived mysteriously a few nights ago. I’m still holding out for a communication from Josh or Mike. As soon as I hear more I will definitely let you know.

In the next installment of the city stroll series we will be looking more closely at who you choose to share the content from your deep local research. In addition we will share some tips on getting started writing your content.

I really look forward to seeing this adventure through.

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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