Today, I bring you a guest post from Jessica Sanders.
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Cranking out fresh content is critical to maintaining your social media outlets and blog. Unfortunately, this can be an exhausting task that leaves you with little to no new ideas each week.
Mind mapping can be a great way to generate content ideas for your online marketing efforts.
“By using mind maps, you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject. You can see the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes.” – Mindtools.com
So, what are mind maps? Cogniview.com defines this as a visual diagram, with lines representing the relationships between idea bubbles. With your main idea in the middle, you can expand the subject with sub-topics, categories and ideas.
Choose Your Method
Mind maps can be as simple as the brain storming sessions you had in 3rd grade, or as complicated as that HTML code you just can’t seem to figure out; this will depend on the method you choose to utilize. While both will lead you to more creative blog content ideas, you’ll need to choose the mapping method that works best for you.
Traditional: By hand
- Remember drawing Venn diagrams in high school? Well, mind mapping is quite similar. Start with your main topic in the middle, and branch out to sub-topics, ideas, questions, etc.
Modern: On the computer.
You can complete this same process, but on your computer. There are a variety of free software options online for both the first time user and veteran mind mapper.
- Mind Meister offer a user-friendly platform with all the intricacies of a great mind mapping software.
- XMind is free software. Noted for its simple and intuitive interface on Lifehacker.com, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your brainstorming.
- FreeMind: Great for growing beginners. This simple tool is also highly customizable, with graphics, colors, fonts and more.
Collect Your Ideas
Once you’ve chosen your method of mapping, you’ll need to start collecting the data, ideas, questions and categories. While this seems like a simple task, and it is, there are a few guidelines that will make this process more efficient, easy to read and quick to implement.
- Use simple words or phrases: Don’t get too in depth here. If you find your ideas spinning out into full paragraphs, consider taking these ideas and putting them into a document.
- Utilize color: This will help you distinguish topics and subjects from one another.
- Add visuals: To make the final publishing process faster, consider adding images within the mind map that can be of use in the post itself.
Create Your Story
After the information has been drained from your mind, it’s time to put it together into a well-written post. There are a number of avenues you can take with this information, and that might change depending on the final outcome of your map.
- Pillar article: If you’ve compiled a much larger grouping of information than intended, consider writing a pillar article – usually, this is more than 800 words, extensively researched, and presents a significant amount of information.
- Quick, detailed bullets: If your map is filled with an abundance of short phrases and quick words, consider writing a quick, tutorial style piece, using bullets and short paragraphs.
- Multiple articles: If your mind map lends itself to multiple topics and sub-categories, utilize it for more than one article.
For those who are creating fresh content on a consistent basis, mind mapping is an excellent way to expand your usual subjects into something new. Plan out sub-categories, opposing ideas, image usage, and much more for well written, creative content that will enhance your overall marketing strategies.
Have you ever used mind maps to help come up with content ideas? What tools and resources do you use for content generation?
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