How to Use Mind Mapping to Write Blog Posts People Want to Read
If you’re like 98% of the rest of the blogging population worldwide, you probably run dry on ideas for blog posts occasionally. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you had a store of ideas you could dip into whenever you ran out? In fact, if you had that store of ideas, chances are you wouldn’t run out of them to start with.
Enter mind mapping.
What is mind mapping?
Mind mapping is a method that allows you to explore a topic in a new way. Consider how you develop ideas now. You probably jot them down whenever they come to you. That’s fair enough, but if those ideas don’t come to you, you’re stuck. True, practice does make it easier to find suitable ideas for your blog. However, those ideas can and will still run dry.
Mind mapping provides you with a way to prevent that. It allows you to ditch the linear structure so often used in note-taking, replacing it with a method that is more visual and more accessible.
Here’s a great example of a mind map for success:
When you create a mind map, you jot down the topic in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then you draw lines from that topic that lead to sub topics. In the image shown above, we’ve got inspiration, motivation, leadership, and communication, among other things. That image also shows how doodles and drawings can help flesh out your mind map. Don’t worry if you can’t draw though – it’s not a requirement. I can’t draw a stick person without someone asking me what it is, and I love using mind mapping to generate ideas.
Each branch that veers out from the main topic can grow sub branches too. They can grow their own twigs, if you will. Therein lies the power of mind mapping. One topic begets other sub topics, and those will lead to other topics. Each topic can create ideas, so be ready to jot down plenty of them as things come to you.
Can you do mind mapping incorrectly?
Aside from the basic idea, starting from that central topic and branching out, there is no right or wrong way to create a mind map. You might love it so much you end up sticking multiple sheets of paper together as each map grows. Mind you, it might be easier to deal with each burgeoning sub topic as a separate topic, creating a new map for each one. Do whatever works for you.
Just to prove that point, try searching for ‘mind mapping examples’. Google Images returns dozens of great examples for you to look at on all kinds of topics. Some use mind mapping software, others use good old pen and paper. Personally, I prefer the hand-drawn variety, using different-coloured pens to make different areas stand out. You may prefer to use software; there are several good options out there in that area, some of which are free. MindMup seems to be one of the better ones. You can upgrade to the Gold membership if you wish, but the free version may suffice. Full disclosure – I’m not an affiliate and I don’t have any financial interest in that or any other mind mapping software. I’d recommend you try a few free ones and go from there. What works for one person may be a turn off for someone else.
If you want to see some more mind maps before you toddle off and create your own, check out Mappio. Plenty of people upload their own contributions to that site. It provides inspiration if you are new to it and you are hesitant on how to begin.
How can mind mapping help you write blog posts?
Ah, I thought you would never ask. Let’s suppose you run a small business selling accountancy software. (That’s the first thing that came into my mind… not sure what that says about me, but still.) So, you’d put that in the middle of your sheet of paper. The first thing that occurs to me is to branch out to some of the advantages of using the software:
- saves time
- keeps your accounts in order
- allows for automatic monthly invoices to be sent to regular clients
- you can grant access to your accountant when it comes to your tax return
… and so on. Each of those might generate its own ideas for blog posts as well. For example, the time-saving aspect might lead to these ideas:
- using time more effectively
- using accounting software means everything is in one place, thereby reducing the need to spend ages looking for a piece of information or an invoice
- you can run reports in seconds, giving you some insight into more information
You get the idea. The best way to develop numerous ideas for blog posts, no matter who your target audience is, is to use mind mapping to generate them. Just keep your maps in a safe place so you can refer to them whenever you need to. A mind map need never be finished either – you can always add to it when something else springs to mind.
Mine your map for different blog post ideas
When you have created a good map, look at it more closely. Which sub topic stands out? That would be the ideal one to choose for a blog post. I find a different area of my mind map stands out each time. Sometimes, I might jot down some post ideas around that topic. My post, 5 types of content you should add to your blog (with examples), was inspired by thinking about developing ideas for blog posts. So was this one. Sometimes, the posts are so diverse, it’s hard to believe they came from the same branch of the mind map.
By letting your creativity flow when developing a mind map, you’ll find it easier to think of topics that would interest your audience. This will also help generate more ideas in each area.
In future, when you are stumped for ideas for blog posts, all you’ll need to do is consult your mind map. Chances are you will find plenty of ideas to keep you going for weeks. And if you’re stuck? Just create a new mind map on a different topic your audience would like to hear about.