Mind mapping software is not only useful for outlining articles, reports and other forms of content. It is also a powerful tool for planning and managing many aspects your blog business.
As a blogger, you must manage a prodigious amount of information every day: content ideas social network strategies social network content, people with whom to network, monitoring competitive blogs, identifying opportunities for new reports and resources of value you can provide to your readers, identifying potential collaborators and much more.
In short, to run a successful blogging business, you must gather, analyze and make decisions about a mountain of information, ideas and opportunities. In addition, you need to elevate and differentiate your thinking and your blog’s content to capture the attention of potential readers and customers.
To do all of this effectively, you need a tool that can efficiently gather, organize, distill and communicate information with a great deal of flexibility. Mind mapping software enables you to handle thinking, planning and basic project management tasks in ways that aren’t possible with any other type of business software. It also works the way your brain does – by associating ideas, concepts and information in a visual hierarchy, which means it tends to be fairly intuitive and easy to use.
Mind mapping software also helps you reach clarity faster on complex business issues, make better informed decisions and be more productive. In surveys of the readers of my Mind Mapping Software Blog, users of it say that it increases their productivity by 20-30% – the equivalent of gaining an extra day per work week of productive working time.
In addition, over 59% of survey respondents indicated they wouldn’t be able to create the same quality of work if they didn’t have mind mapping software.
Mind mapping software enables you to take a more strategic approach to blogging rather than just hacking away at projects haphazardly. Most importantly, it can help you develop a tightly integrated approach to build a strong, distinctive online brand. No, it’s not a panacea. It won’t make you better looking or help you find a cure for cancer. But it does bring some unique capabilities to your work that no other productivity software can match – capabilities that are ideally suited to your needs as a blogger. If you’re not using mind mapping software in your blog business, you should be.
What can you do with mind mapping software?
A-list bloggers like Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse (CopyBlogger), Chris Garrett and David Risley (Blog Marketing Academy) make it no secret that mind mapping software is their preferred power tool for thinking and planning.
Because it helps them see information and ideas from new perspectives that tend to be invisible in linear documents and outlines. Based on what they have written about it, you would think the only way that bloggers can use it is for brainstorming blog post and information product ideas. But it can be used for far more – it’s actually a powerful tool that can help you manage your business and operations more effectively.
I have identified 10 ways bloggers can use mind maps to grow your business:
1. Brainstorm, capture and organize ideas
2. Conduct competitive intelligence
3. Develop reader personas
4. Develop a blog content plan
5. Search engine optimization and keyword research
6. Develop and manage a blog marketing plan
7. Track key influencers in your niche and plan how you will interact with them
8. Outline longer writing projects and information products
9. Track what you’ve published – content management
10. Perform a SWOT analysis and do strategic planning to help drive your blog’s growth
How does mind mapping software compare to traditional information management?
Consider for a moment how most bloggers manage information. Typically, it’s stored in text-based files, such as Word or Evernote. It’s scattered in e-mails and files that are stored in numerous folders. Chances are, you waste several hours a week hunting for information you need.
What if you could do away with that, by being able to see a higher-level view of all of your project and blog assets, and could organize them and link out to all of the supporting information you need? Mind mapping software enables you to do that. You can attach numerous types of content to individual topics, and add links to web pages and other assets. When you rearrange the topics, these assets follow along. In other words, each topic acts as a “container” for information. This enables you to centralize all the information, data and resources you need to manage your blog’s operations in one place, which can save you countless hours of time and a eliminate a great deal frustration.
Software-produced mind maps can incorporate almost any kind of digital data – everything from Excel spreadsheet ranges and Outlook e-mails to links that help you keep project files and supporting information well organized, only one click away. Think of it as a “visual database” of your ideas and information.
In addition, most mind mapping program enables you to export your visual maps to other popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Project. This enables you to do your thinking and planning in visual outline form using your mind mapping software, and then transfer your ideas and information to other applications to continue the process of refining your ideas and adding details to them.
Now think about the way in which you write plans. If you use a popular tool like Microsoft Word, how do you know that the structure of your plan is complete? How can you tell if something is missing, or if you have completely thought through all aspects of it? How do you decide what’s superfluous and can be eliminated? It’s difficult at best. Why? Because the structure of your document is hidden within its sentences and paragraphs.
In contrast, mind mapping software can help you to see a higher-level view of your information and dig down into the details when you’re ready to do so. You can work with the forest AND the trees, so to speak. You can move topics around at will, grouping and regrouping information until it makes most sense to you. You can perform “What if?” analyses with ease. You can see how all of the pieces of your plan fit together. Ultimately, it can make you a better, more strategic planner. And that, in turn, can make a major difference to the success of your blog business.
Light-weight project management
From a project management standpoint, mind mapping software can help you do everything from the “front end” work of projects (envisioning what you want to create, setting the scope of the project and determining the people and resources you’ll need to accomplish it) to managing its implementation (collaborating with others, creating, assigning and monitoring tasks and monitoring project progress by creating a visual “dashboard” to see clearly what’s going well and what isn’t) – all within a flexible visual interface.
Better thinking – better results
In short, when it comes to growing any kind of business today, better thinking tends to lead to better results. Most of us are blogging in niches that are increasingly crowded. In order to survive and grow your blog, you need to differentiate and elevate your thinking. Mind mapping software can help you to do that.
As you’ve seen, mind maps enable you to see information and ideas from new perspectives that tend to be invisible in linear documents and outlines. It isn’t just a powerful thinking and planning tool, its light-weight project management capabilities make it a great tool for managing your ideas from “birth to death” – from ideation and development to implementation and tracking of progress and results.
In short, mind mapping software can help you to manage your day-to-day tasks with greater efficiency, which can free up more of your time to think about strategic opportunities and ideas to help you grow your blogging business.
When you switch to thinking and planning mode, it can be your companion there, too, helping you to capture, organize and refine your ideas into winning solutions that meet the needs of your blog’s readers and help you to capture their minds and hearts. It can help you to extend your thought leadership in some exciting ways and can help you build a more innovative and successful business. If you want to play at the A-level of blogging, you need to up your thinking. Mind mapping software can help you to do that.
Learn more in this webinar recording
In mid-August, I conducted a 70-minute webinar where I described how to use mind mapping software to manage each of the blog management tasks I have described in this article and the benefits of doing so. A recording of it is now available.
As part of this information-packed learning session, you will receive 11 mind map templates, which you can use to get started using these techniques immediately. They will save you many hours of time and will help you benefit from this webinar faster. Not only that, but instructions are embedded in the templates that will help you understand how to use them.
Click here to learn why one webinar participant said, ““This is excellent. You covered everything I hoped you would – and more. In a world of useless webinars, this was definitely worth the time and money.”