Planning is an important stage for any type of content creation. Having a toolbox of systems and strategies to rely on during that stage can help you dig deeper when looking for new ideas. Using a mind map is just one option you can use throughout the planning process to make your content creation easier, faster, and more organized.
What Is a Mind Map?
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A mind map is a diagram that uses text, shapes, lines, arrows, and symbols to arrange ideas and concepts in an organized but nonlinear graphical layout. It makes it easier to work through your ideas and structure them visually without worrying about following a particular structure or order. But, the construction for most mind maps is the same:
- Place the main idea in the center of the map, represented by a shape or symbol.
- Connect the most important themes to the main idea with lines or arrows, known as branches.
- Connect subtopics to the branches, also represented by shapes or symbols.
- Add additional themes from the subtopics on lines or arrows known as twigs.
This structure can help you understand the hierarchy of your piece or projects and where to focus your research and energy.
5 Ways To Use a Mind Map To Help Create Content
Here are five ways you can incorporate mind maps into your content creation strategies:
1. Choosing a Topic
One of the most fun but also most challenging things about content creation is coming up with new and unique topics. Whether you’re completely out of ideas or you have so many that it’s hard to choose, creating a mind map may be one way to find which topics are most relevant to your audience right now. Using one helps you collect keywords, trending topics, and ideas from your team all in one place to see how they relate to each other.
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2. Brainstorming and Research
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You haven’t finished researching or developing your ideas after you pick a topic. Brainstorming before you write or create your piece of content on that topic can help you get your ideas organized, find sources, and see ways to connect different points of information. Mind maps are also helpful when you’re brainstorming content in a team. The nonlinear structure lets you incorporate everybody’s ideas and find ways they relate to each other in the larger scheme of the project.
Though we generally think of an outline as a linear listing of topics, like a table of contents, you can create one with a mind map, too. Some mind map programs allow you to take the map you created and turn it into a traditional outline, eliminating the need for a separate tool. You could also create a duplicate of your map and rearrange the elements in the second document to form an expected outline structure.
4. Updating and Repurposing Content
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Updating your content to keep it relevant, factual, and fresh is just as important as creating new content. Mind maps can help you figure out where you have gaps in the content you’ve already created by connecting new information with previous research. They’re also helpful for taking content from the past and repurposing it into new mediums or pieces. For example, you may create a mind map to help you figure out how to take an old blog post and turn it into a new how-to video.
5. Creating Infographics and Illustrations
You may use mind maps within your infographics or illustrations to make your content information more digestible for readers or viewers. Because mind maps are visual tools, they’re a natural complement for sharing information within your infographic. You can also use them as a planning tool to discover which ideas are most important to your topic and frame the infographic around just that information to make it clear, concise, and streamlined.
Tools for Creating Mind Maps
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Around the internet, you can find software programs, websites, and apps that help create mind maps. There are both free and paid options for many operating systems and devices. You can explore different programs, including:
- Microsoft Visio
No matter which program you choose, or if you decide to take your planning offline and use pencil and paper, learning how to make a mind map can aid your content planning during every stage of the process.