We’ve all heard of mind mapping but do you know how to use it effectively? Executed right, it is an amazing technique helping to expand your thoughts on a particular topic. Anything that requires planning can be mind mapped.
Mind mapping comes under the umbrella of lateral thinking. Or, you could say, ‘thinking outside the box.’
So, for anyone who wants to create awesome content, mind-mapping can produce amazing results.
If you’ve never tried it before, now’s the time to give it a go. So, fire up those creative juices and read on to find out how to use mind-mapping to create awesome content.
Being in the right frame of mind is crucial if you want to make the most of your mind-mapping session.
You want to give yourself enough time, so don’t try to squeeze this activity in between other tasks. Make sure you have a quiet, undisturbed slot in the day where you can work and focus.
Begin by brainstorming
Before you can mind-map your ideas, a brainstorming session on your chosen topic allows you to let ideas flow freely onto the paper.
This is your chance to go totally wild with your thoughts and ideas. Think of it as a brain-dump and let nothing hold you back.
It could be likened to ‘free-writing,’ a tool many established writers use before they begin work. The plan is to write down whatever comes into your mind when you think about your central theme.
Don’t stop or try to determine if it will be a good idea or not. Just put everything down without judgement in a short burst of 10 to 15 minutes. Even the most absurd thoughts can be listed, as they often lead to the best content.
Once you’ve recorded your ideas, it’s time to mind map them.
Highlight key ideas
When you’ve finished populating your list, you’ll find that certain words and phrases leap out as key ideas.
Go through and circle or highlight them, ready to start building your mind-map. As you go through your initial ‘brain-dump’ you’ll be sorting and organising your ideas into a more logical structure.
Create your mind map
Mind mapping is a brilliant tool that can help you organise and effectively apply your ideas. You can expand and explore your topic revealing new lines of opportunity.
Starting with the central topic, transfer the key ideas from your brainstorming session into branches leading from it. These are your main branches.
Then look at the remaining ideas from your brainstorm session and begin to group them logically onto your main branches. You could use different colored markers, each color representing a connection between the ideas.
At this point you could continue branching out with more ideas, connecting each one to the relevant branch.
How to use your mind map
A mind map should be a working tool that you can come back to, time and again. It should become apparent which ideas are worth pursuing and expanding even further upon.
When you are planning content, a mind map will not only produce ideas, you will also be able to see overlaps, connections and solutions.
It makes internal linking in content so much easier, having all the connections and overlaps laid out in front of you.
You will be able to see which ideas are good enough for a long-form blog post and which ones are better as a shorter post.
Some of your thoughts may act only as reminders of vital pieces of information to go into a longer post.
Mind maps are easily created on paper but there are also software programs such as MindMeister if you’d rather keep everything computer-based. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from creating it on paper and then transferring to a computer.
Mind maps work just as well in a group setting as they do working alone. The only thing to be aware of when mind-mapping in a group, is that everyone is open and non-judgmental. Every idea must be seen as worthy, even though sometimes comical.
Each person in the group must be happy to speak up with their thoughts. So often, it’s the radical ‘outside the box’ idea, that may at first seem comical or weird, that goes on to hit the mark.
Sandra Shannon is a B2B Technology Copywriter. She specializes in writing data-driven blog posts and content that drives traffic and wins more customers. You can hire her to write for you here.
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