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December 8, 2021 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
Planning is an important stage for any type of content creation. Having a toolbox of systems and strategies to rely on during that stage helps you dig deeper when looking for new ideas. Using a mind map is just one tool to pick from throughout the planning process to make your content creation easier, faster, and more organized. Today, we’re looking at how to use a mind map when creating content:
Image via Tenor by @sblakely
A mind map is a diagram that uses text, shapes, lines, arrows, and symbols to arrange ideas and concepts. These diagrams use an organized but nonlinear graphical layout. Maps make it easier to work through your ideas and arrange them visually without worrying about following a particular structure. Even though they don’t have to follow a specific pattern, the construction of most mind maps is the same:
This structure helps you understand the hierarchy of your piece or projects and where to focus your research and energy.
Related: Choosing an Infographic Style: Flowcharts
Here are five ways you can incorporate mind maps into your content creation strategies:
One of the most fun, but also most challenging, things about content creation is coming up with unique topics. Whether you’re completely out of ideas or you have so many that it’s hard to choose, creating a mind map is one way to find which topics are most relevant to your audience right now. Using a map helps you collect keywords, trending topics, and ideas from your team all in one place to see how they relate to each other.
If you’re stuck for topic ideas to add to your mind map, you can check for gaps in your content to get ideas. Request your free content marketing analysis report from CopyPress today. Inside, you’ll find a list of keywords your content doesn’t cover yet, but should. Put these keywords at the center of your mind map to get started.
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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 helps get your ideas organized. The research phase lets you find sources and reveals 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 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.
Updating your content to keep it relevant, factual, and fresh is just as important as creating new content. Mind maps 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.
Use mind maps within your infographics or illustrations to make your content information more digestible for 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 that information to make it clear, concise, and streamlined.
Related: How To Create an Infographic That Gets Noticed
Image via MindMeister
Around the internet, you can find software programs, websites, and apps that create mind maps. There are both free and paid options for many operating systems and devices. You can explore different programs, including:
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.