If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you’ve probably gathered that I love mind maps. They help you think outside the box and creating them is a great exercise in seeing connections between topics.
The mind maps I’ve shared on this website so far can definitely help freelance writers diversify their niches and find more places to pitch their articles. But what about bloggers? Can bloggers who don’t freelance be helped by mind maps? Why, of course!
Mind maps are a great tool for generating content ideas. For the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing mind maps I might use to create content for my own two sites, www.multitalentedwriters.com and www.marianamcdougall.com. I hope by looking at these mind maps, you’ll get a better idea of how this practice can help you create an endless stream of content for your own blogs.
If you have categories set up on your blog, you can create mind maps for each category to come up with ideas for blog posts.
Here’s a mind map for the Get Organized and be Productive category of the blog you’re currently reading. Feel free to steal some of these ideas for your own blog if you write in this space. Remember, it’s all been written before—but it still needs your take on it!
My process for creating content mind maps is usually to first come up with associated words to a main topic, and then replace these words with potential blog post titles. This mind map doesn’t mean I’ll write about everything I’ve come up with, but it’s a good starting point for thinking about what kind of content I’d like to write in the next few months.
Since the wording on the mind map above is quite small, I’ve added the topics below the mind map in bullet list format for ease of reading.
Blog Post Ideas for Blog Category: Get Organized & Be Productive
Sub-topic: Project Management
- Best project management software for freelancers
- Should freelance writers get a project management certification?
- What could a project manager do for your business?
- Can you afford a project manager?
Sub-topic: Work Locations
- How to Organize your home office for maximum productivity
- Why you need a home office as a freelancer
- Is the coffee shop the best place for writers to work?
- Eliminating Distractions when you work from home
- Is Your home office blocking your productivity?
- Best Places for writers to work: coffee shop, library, home office, coworking space (compare pros and cons of each in a post series)
Sub-topic: Productivity (general)
- Why you need to “waste time” to be productive
- 10 Ways to procrastinate writing (humorous post)
- How creative planning helps you get more done
- This year, I found the Happy Planner. And it really does make me a happy planner
- Habits of Prolific Writers Series
- Writer’s block: does it even exist, or are we just making excuses?
- How to beat writer’s block
- How to prevent writer’s block
- What do do when you have writer’s block
Sub-topic: Time Management
- Best planners of [insert year]
- Best planners for bloggers
- How to find time to write when you’re working full-time
- How to find time to write when you’re a homeschooling parent
- The Hour-a-Day Commitment & Contract
- How to find time to write when you’re a stay-at-home mom (you’re busier than people think!)
- Hilarious stock photos that are nothing like real entrepreneur life (moms with babies on lap while working)
- Hilarious photos that show entrepreneurial moms in real life
- Be honest: how much time are you really wasting?
- Best calendars for freelance writers
- Best calendars for bloggers
You may notice that some of the blog topics above may seem to contradict one another. That’s OK. I may decide to take one of those angles and run with it, or I may actually write conflicting posts and link them to one another for a full examination on a topic.
Create your own content mind map
To create your own content generation mind map, simply put your main blog category in the middle of the page or screen, and then start thinking of related words and/or blog titles. Write these and attach them to the main topic with lines. I was able to create the mind map above in less than 10 minutes, and now I have several weeks’ worth of ideas for blog posts. It’s definitely an exercise worth doing.
Your mind map is written; now what?
After you finish your mind map, it’s time to take action to populate your blog. Where you go from here will depend on your writing process. I’ve never been much of an outliner (I feel that it hinders the creative process for me), so I just start writing once I think of a topic, and get all my thoughts out. I leave it for a bit if I can, and then come back and reorganize paragraphs until they look good. Then I leave it alone for at least 24 hours if I can, before coming back to edit.
If you do like outlining, then your process will look different. You’d take one of the topics from your mind map, think about what you’d like to say about it, and then create your outline. Then you’d write the post.
If it’s a topic that you want to write about but need to know more about, you’d start with some research. But don’t get lost in the rabbit hole of doing research by reading 5,000 articles before hunkering down to write your own. Read a couple of things, preferably skimming them as you go, and then get to writing. You can always read these articles in more depth after you’ve committed to getting some writing done—and you can always add more to your own post later. But get the first draft done first.
If your intention is to create blog posts to sell a product, your mind map might look a little different. For example, you might put the product in the middle of the mind map, and then generate topic ideas that relate back to the product. You could then create a blog series and/or email series that ends with a call to action to purchase.
Ready to make your own mind maps and get more writing done? Be sure to check out my eBook, Mind Maps for Freelance Writing Success, on Smashwords!