How to produce a constant stream of content for your SME business blog

blogging and mind maps

Never run out of blog post ideas again

Whenever I begin working with a new client, one of the biggest challenges they face is coming up with a stream of ideas for their business blog. They know that the stats prove small businesses that blog are more successful. They understand that to write great blogs takes time, and each blog needs to be composed in line with the 11 essential elements for small business blogs to crush their competition. They even have a couple of fantastic topics lined up, but then they struggle after that.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use mind mapping to create content ideas for a blog calendar. You’ll never run out of ideas for your business blog again.

Five steps of mind mapping for business blog content

Mind mapping is one of the best brainstorming methods I know. Used effectively, mind mapping will focus your thoughts while simultaneously freeing your creativity. You’ll find that as the mind map grows, so, too, will your ideas for blog post topics.

Some people construct mind maps like a tree, others like a spider’s web. You can use pen and paper, or one of the online mind mapping tools available (such as MindMeister). Personally, I prefer to doodle mind maps on paper. Whichever method you use, the basics are the same: you start with a large topic, and drill down to the detail. Like a tree growing from the trunk outwards, sprouting branches, twigs, and leaves.

Here are the steps to follow to create a blog content mind map for your business.

1.      Choose your main topics – the trunk

Think of four or five broad areas of interest directly related to your business and customer needs. For example, a financial advisor might decide that the big topics most important to their readers are:

  1. Investing for income
  2. Investing for growth
  3. Money management
  4. Tax
  5. Financial news

OK, you now have five ‘trunks’. Create a separate mind map for each. Now let’s think about the branches.

2.      Choose your first-level subtopics – the branches

Your first-level subtopics are the branches that sprout from the trunk of your mind map tree. These are the things that next spring to mind, hanging directly from your main topic (the trunk). So, let’s take our financial advisor’s first topic: investing for income. These are the next things that the financial advisor might think about. These branches might include:

  • Income assets
  • Types of income
  • Methods of investing

You get the idea. Now, let’s take the mind map to the next level: the twigs.

3.      Consider your second-level subjects – the twigs

Work on each branch one at a time, and think about the next level down. For example, let’s concentrate a few moments on ‘Income assets’. Here’s where this might lead to:

  • Stocks
  • Corporate bonds
  • Government bonds
  • Property (real estate)

You’ll notice that the further you move along your mind map tree, the more ideas and subjects you produce. The trick is to not overthink things. Let ideas come into your head and jot them down immediately. Remember, this is a brainstorming session and not your absolute list of blog subjects. You can add/change/delete along the way, or upon a final review.

Now you need to move down to the next level of detail.

4.      Time to start fleshing out with blog post topics – the leaves

Once more, you need to work on one twig at a time, considering the problems that your target audience will be seeking to solve (or the information that they are looking for). Again, working on stocks as the first twig, our financial advisor might come up with the following ‘leaves’:

  • How do investors use stocks for income?
  • Dividends: what are they?
  • How do companies pay dividends?
  • Where can you find the best dividend stocks?
  • What stocks are best for income seekers?

OK, so here’s the thing: you’ll notice that every one of these leaves is a question. They don’t have to be, but I’ve already got my blogger’s hat on. I’m already starting to think like the target audience, considering the questions that they might want answered. Without really realising, I’ve started to write working blog titles, too.

Now let’s take this mind mapping to the final level.

5.      Detailed blog topics – the raindrops falling from the leaves

The final level of your blog content mind map are the raindrops that fall from the leaves. These are the fine-detail blogs that provide magnified information for your audience. Again, you drill down one leaf at a time. For example, when thinking about “How do investors use stocks for income?”, our financial advisor may come up with these detailed blogs:

  • Factors to choose the best dividend stocks
  • Stock valuation ratios for income investors
  • How to build a dividend portfolio
  • Yield v. Income – what’s the difference?
  • Covered calls for income investors

So, let’s see what we’ve got, just from a couple of minutes and following just one line of brainstorming on the mind map, with a couple of blog ideas added as we work down the list:

  • Main topic – Investing for income – maybe a blog about why invest for income, benefits, etc?
  • 2nd Level – Income assets – What are the assets investors use for income?
  • 3rd Level – Stocks – Why stocks as an income-producing asset? Number of benefits of investing in stocks for income.
  • 4th level – How to use stocks for income.
  • 5th level –  Factors to choose the best dividend stocks – Stock valuation ratios for income investors – How to build a dividend portfolio – Yield v. Income – What’s the difference? – Covered calls for income investors. Etc.

Just from this single strand of a mind map, the financial advisor has produced 10 or 12 potential blog post topics. After 15 to 30 minutes, this financial advisor will probably have produced somewhere in the region of 100 potential blogposts for just one of their main topics. Remember, there are another three main topics to mind map, and then, on top of this, there will be the occasional news blog, too. Perhaps as many as 400 blog post topics, plus news blog posts.

And get this – this style of mind mapping also takes your customer through the customer journey, funnelling them down to where you need them to be: a hot lead for you to follow up. A readymade sales funnel.

Now all you need to do is produce your blog calendar from your mind mapping. I’ll show you how to do that next time. Right now, it’s time you started mind mapping content ideas for your business blog.

Don’t know where to start with your business blog?

If you’re finding it difficult to come up with ideas for your business blog, it could be that you’re just too close to your subject. Let me help you. Email me today and let’s start work on getting your blog the audience it deserves.

Because quality content matters,

Michael

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