Mind maps are indisputably the tool to visualize thoughts precisely and creatively. A mind map is not only suitable for individuals or internal team meetings, but equally as a content format.
The idea of the mind map comes from the British psychologist Tony Buzan. Since the 1970s, he has been working with mind maps as a working tool, and in 1997 his highly acclaimed mind map book was published. As a cognitive technique, mind maps can be used to explore complex topics thanks to the visual representation – they also help with planning or as an effective tool for taking notes at meetings or for learning. Mind mapping – the process of creating it – follows certain rules and principles.
Mind maps can be used individually for individuals and also in teams for corporate projects. The step of turning these visualizations into an engaging content format for publications isn’t that big of a leap. Because basically the thought cards, as they are somewhat clumsily called in German, serve to represent a fact or subject area. Thus, mind maps can easily be used as a graphic in a text, white paper or for a social media post.
For which target group are mind maps suitable?
Any form of public content on websites or networks, as well as social media channels, is content. With this content in mind, it should always be clear for which audience the content is being created and what it is intended to achieve. Mind maps are not bound to any topic and can therefore be used in a variety of ways. The visual representation of facts or a subject area can be realized in a colorful, creative and attractive way as well as in a reduced, straightforward and clean way. Generally speaking, it can be said for the mind map that it can be of interest to any person. As an eye-catching post on Facebook, as a visual element of a white paper, or for a pinboard on Pinterest.
Whether a mind map fits the target group of my company can only be found out by an analysis. In the ideal case already an efficient system exists in things content, which arranges the planning, the production, the Seeding and the Controlling of content effectively. Based on the data and findings about the impact, reach and benefit of content, it is easy to see whether mind maps are a good idea or not. Because, as with any content format, the cost-benefit calculation also applies to mind maps. Of course, a mind map could be created or commissioned based on gut instinct. However, the creation is associated with costs, which should be profitable in view of the goal of the mind map in a previously defined form. It would be annoying if it turns out afterwards that the company’s core target group has absolutely no use for mind maps. This would be even more annoying, because in advance, analysis and planning, while not completely eliminating the likelihood of such failures, can significantly reduce them.
Ideally, you know your customers or target group. Just try. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. And start sketching out a topic relevant to your target audience as a mind map.
What to consider with mind maps?
In order for mind maps to work for your own use or as a content format, different rules must be followed. On the one hand, these are fundamental aspects of the approach to mind maps, on the other hand, they are formal points.
- Ideally, name the central topic with a core concept.
- Collect all relevant keywords related to the core term.
- Sort the keywords hierarchically into top and bottom terms.
- Go through the terms again and again until the collection of terms for the core concept is complete.
This is an uncomplicated way to define and structure the content of a mind map. The next step is to connect the above steps with the essence of the mind map. One possible approach is the following:
- Position your core concept in the middle of a sheet of paper. Pictures or sketches greatly increase comprehension. Therefore, if possible, combine the core concept with a meaningful visualization.
- Write the generic terms around the core term.
- Connect the core concept with the generic concepts through lines.
- Name the lines with catchy labels to show how the generic terms connect to the core concept.
- Connect additional sub-keywords with lines to the respective generic term.
Now you have basically created the mind map. To make it even more understandable for yourself and the target group, you can increase its visualization power with two little tricks.
- Colored lines and colored writing can visually emphasize sense units and facilitate comprehension.
- Symbols, images and sketches can replace words and are often easier to understand than pure text.
The trick is to make the mind map appealing without creating a confusing, colorful and incomprehensible something. A mind map is a more challenging content format because the viewer needs to be able to follow the presentation and understand the subject matter. With a little practice and following the trial-and-error principle, interesting and appealing mind maps can be created, which are still somewhat exotic online and therefore offer good chances to present something new to the target group.
Tools for mind maps
The range of tools for mind maps is immense. From free solutions to iMindMap (the Bentley of tools – at least in terms of cost) you can choose software for visualization. However, if the mind map is to be used as a content format for social media channels or white papers, I personally find most software solutions not suitable or too expensive in terms of graphics. Ten tools for creating mind maps were presented in detail in an article.
Ultimately, these helpers are intended for personal or in-house use. For the pure creation of a mind map they are ideal. But if the possibility exists, a graphic artist should dedicate himself to the mind map. This should be able to create a modern mind map that appeals to the target group without too much expense. And with the right planning, you may already be able to commission several mind maps for a series of the content format.
Conclusion on mind maps
Mind maps are a great tool to be creative. Businesses and bloggers have the opportunity to use them in a targeted way on websites and blogs. The mind maps are not limited thematically and can serve as a graphic for branding and have a positive effect on your own key figures via social sharing as a ranking factor.
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