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
“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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Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to business management. She is a professional blogger and web content writer for ResourceNation.com.
7 replies on “How to Use Mind Maps to Build Better Content”
This is fascinating to me. I would never use this tool to write my blog posts; it seems like another lengthy step to me. As a PR practitioner perhaps I’m more accustomed to writing in my head and being able to put ideas into a flow?
I see a headline in the paper, think on it, begin to formulate ideas as to how this is important, begin to write in my head, then hit the iPad and write. This takes less than 1 hour; sometimes a post is written in 20 or 30 minutes.
I’ve heard mind mapping used to brainstorm campaigns and a strategy; I can imagine that works well for many moving parts.
Soulati, that is definitely a gift that not everyone has! That is awesome that it’s so simple for you – and for a lot of people that is how it works. However, I find that this tool is a great way to get started on a day that you just can’t seem to get any fresh ideas in your head. While it may seem like a lengthy extra step for someone with you excellent writing skills, for some it may actually be necessary. Thanks so much for reading the post – if you get stuck writing, though, you know what to do 😉
Shoot. Didn’t want to come across as tooting my horn; me no like. I was actually genuine in relaying my process. Sorry if it sounded arrogant. Thanks for the share!
I’m with you, Jayme. I think mind mapping would be an extra step for me too. I usually come up with a general idea, then use bullets or an outline to shape it and flesh it out. But, as
pointed out, I think this could be a good exercise for someone who struggles coming up with ideas. Actually, it might be a good way to come up with a bunch of topics instead of doing this for an individual post.
Thanks for weighing in!
Hi, Jessica! Do you use mind mapping periodically, when you run out of ideas, or on a regular basis? It seems like a good way to come up with ideas for clients when planning a content strategy.
Shakirah, thanks for asking; I have used mind maps in my own way, and when I’m running low on ideas – yes. I think its a great way to get your mind working. And yes, this would be a great way to work with clients you’re curating content for. Thanks for checking out the post! 🙂
we use mind maps considerably when planning site structures and developing content, they’re great for
I thought I would add Mindjet Mind manager to the mix – A paid for app but works a treat!