Whether you’re an influencer with a personal blog you write and manage all on your own or a content marketer trying to oversee contributions to your company blog from several staff writers and freelancers, you need a blog mind map.
A blog mind map can help you generate new ideas, outline your blog posts, find connections between your content, map blog posts to buying journeys, and much more.
Here are nine creative and practical things bloggers and content marketers can do with mind maps to make their jobs easier—along with several example mind maps you can use for inspiration.
1. Use Mind Mapping to Generate New Blog Post Ideas
One of the most common uses of the mind mapping technique is for brainstorming. You start with a central concept and branch off from there with all of the ideas that pop into your head.
Mind mapping lets you capture your ideas quickly: you’re just writing brief descriptions rather than lengthy summaries. And the more ideas you capture, the more ideas you’ll have: as you capture ideas, your mind will make associations that will lead you to additional ideas.
For this reason, mind mapping is a great way to generate new blog post ideas.
When it’s time to come up with new ideas or plan your editorial calendar, sit down in a quiet space where you can be creative, and start documenting your thoughts in a mind map. You can use a sheet of paper or a mind mapping tool like MindMeister.
MindMeister is great because you never run out of room for ideas, you can add your team members and brainstorm together in real-time, and you can quickly create tasks from your mind map in MeisterTask to turn your brainstorming session into an editorial calendar.
2. Use Mind Mapping to Plan Your Keyword Strategy
If you’re using your blog to generate organic search traffic, your goal may be less to come up with general ideas and more to come up with ideas that are related to specific keywords you want to target. A blog mind map can help with that, too.
First, gather a list of keywords you want to target on your blog. Place each keyword in its own branch off of the center, then sit down (alone or with your team) and brainstorm topics you could write about or landing pages you could create to target each of those keywords.
With Mindmeister, you can even add links to the existing search results so you can quickly see what’s already ranking for the keywords you want to target. This can be helpful when planning your blog posts:
- Do videos rank highly for this keyword?
- Are most of the search results list posts?
- Are the search results informational or transactional?
You can follow these links to put together content briefs more quickly when you start adding your ideas to your editorial calendar.
3. Use Mind Maps to Create Blog Outlines and Content Briefs
Once you have ideas for the blog posts you want to write, you can create mind maps to use as outlines for your blog posts to quickly capture what you want to write about or—to use as briefs for the writers who will be writing the blog posts you came up with.
Let’s say you’re writing a post about the best productivity apps. You can collect all of the apps you want to consider in branches, add links to the homepages of each app, and then make notes about each app’s use cases, pricing, etc. Then, you can use icons to signify which apps you want to include and which you want to exclude.
This same mind map could be used as a content brief to hand off to a writer to pick the apps and write the blog post. Additionally, you can include things like keywords to target, images you want the writer to use, topics to make sure to cover, etc.
A blog mind map is a great place to gather all of your notes, assets, and research so that it’s easy to jump right into writing when it’s time—or to hand off your instructions to another writer in a way that’s extremely accessible and easy to understand.
4. Use Mind Maps to Create an Index of Your Content Library
For many bloggers and content marketers, you start off by just creating content. But after you’ve been blogging for a while, you start to lose track of what you’ve already covered.
Are you targeting the same keywords with multiple blog posts? Are there opportunities to curate some of your posts into collections to take advantage of the hub and spoke strategy? Do you have any gaps—topics you should have covered but haven’t?
A blog mind map makes it easy to take an inventory of all of your published content and categorize it by topic. Then, instead of looking at a long list of titles or multiple pages of blog posts, you can see a high-level view of your entire library at a glance.
From there, you can look for gaps and opportunities. For example, here at MindMeister, we noticed that while we had lots of blog posts covering examples of using mind maps in different professions, but we didn’t have a blog post targeting the more general keyword “mind map examples.”
So we created a mind map with our hub post “mind map examples” in the center and then pulled all relevant blog posts from our library to illustrate how each spoke post would connect to the new hub post we were writing.
5. Use Mind Maps to Map Content to Buying Journeys
Once you’ve inventoried all of your content, you can also use your mind map to map all of the blog posts you’ve written to their respective spots in the buying journey.
Not only will this help you find new ways to connect content together with internal links to move prospective customers deeper into your funnel, but it will also help you see if you have too much content in any specific stage of the journey.
If you have 200 awareness-stage posts and only five decision-stage posts, you probably need to spend some more time writing decision-stage posts that cater to prospects who are very close to being ready to buy.
6. Use Mind Maps to Plan Your Content Promotion Strategies
The general rule of thumb when it comes to blogging is that you should spend 20% of your time writing a blog post and 80% of your time promoting it. But to do that, you have to do more than just post a link on Twitter and call it a day. You need a dedicated content promotion strategy.
Just like you can use mind maps to brainstorm ideas for blog posts, you can use them to brainstorm content promotion ideas. Start by adding a branch for every single content promotion idea you can think of, and don’t stop until you’re completely out of ideas.
When you’re finished, review your mind map and make notes. For example, some posts may do better on LinkedIn than Facebook. Some are designed for SEO—not social. What’s the best way to promote those posts?
Ask questions like:
- When is it appropriate to post it to LinkedIn, and when should you opt for running a Facebook ad instead?
- What posts will you highlight in your newsletter?
- When should you focus most of your time building links to a post?
When you’re finished, you’ll have a detailed, visual guide you can reference to find the right way to promote every new piece of content you publish.
7. Use Mind Maps to Plan Your Content Upgrades
If one of your goals is to get your readers to provide an email address, content upgrades are a great way to make that happen.
Unlike just asking someone to sign up for your newsletter, content upgrades provide an incentive for a reader to provide his/her email address: they’re getting something valuable in return.
To brainstorm some ideas for things you could offer as content upgrades, open a blank mind map and think of assets you could offer to compel people to provide their email addresses.
When you’re finished, you can finalize your mind map with notes about when each upgrade type is appropriate—kind of like you did with the promotion mind map above—then reference it each time you write a blog post for a quick way to identify which type of content upgrade you should create.
8. Use Mind Maps to Illustrate Your Content
Having a designer to help create images for blog posts is a luxury that many bloggers and content marketers don’t have. Instead, you’re stuck using stock photos, taking screenshots, and begging for reprinting rights from other publications to add some color to your blog posts.
Mind maps are an easy way to create visuals for your blog posts and require no design skills at all. In a 2013 article for Content Marketing Institute, Chuck Frey shared some creative ideas:
- Create a resource map. If you want to point readers to a series of articles they might be interested in, don’t just publish a long, boring list of links. Instead, create a mind map that includes links to those resources and embed it into your blog post.
- Create a quote image. Publishing a post where you interviewed a thought leader? Pull some of your favorite quotes and put them into a mind map to illustrate some of the most striking comments your interviewee made or lessons you learned.
- Illustrate a process. Mind maps work as well as flow charts for outlining steps in a process, so you can build a process mind map to illustrate the steps you’ve written out.
With MindMeister, you can also turn your mind maps into a presentation that you could use to create video content for your blog.
9. Use Mind Maps to Come Up With Ways to Repurpose Content
Speaking of content upgrades and videos, high-quality blog posts often take a long time to write.
Say you spent two months conducting original research to create a data-driven blog post about the best ways to promote new blog content. If possible, you want to turn that time investment and blog post into multiple pieces of content you can use across multiple channels.
Instead of just publishing your blog post, promoting it, and calling it a day, spend some time creating a content repurposing mind map where you brainstorm different ways you could turn a single blog post into other assets.
Maybe you could turn it into a video, speak about it on a podcast, take a section you cut and turn it into a guest post, transform the major takeaways into a Twitter thread, etc.
Once you’ve created a mind map showing all of the different ways you might repurpose a blog post, you can reference it each time you publish a new post to come up with more ways to turn your hard work into additional traffic-driving and lead-generating assets for your blog/company.
Create Your First Blog Mind Map with MindMeister
If you’re ready to get started on your first blog mind map, check out MindMeister. On our free-forever plan, you can create up to three mind maps—and collaborate on those mind maps with your team—so you’ll have everything you need to try out the tactics above.