This is post #8 in the series: CHOOSING A NICHE
Yesterday we made a preliminary mind map of the niche you’ve chosen for your blog. (If you haven’t done the preliminary mind map, or the brainstorming exercise that comes before it, be sure to go back and do them first!). Today we’ll go on to make your mind map into a truly useful and practical long-term guide for your blog and its niche.
The mind-mapping Tony Buzan recommends enhances and enriches the preliminary mind-map method by adding features that involve other parts of your brain’s thinking possibilities:
- images (pictures)
Using these features adds interest, beauty, and individuality to your mind map. It also stimulates your creatively, and aids in memory and information recall as you refer to it later to develop your blog. Pictures use a wide variety of cortical skills and trigger a wide range of associations. Using a combination of words and your own images multiplies your intellectual power, as you use the full range of your brain’s skills. Pretty exciting, right?
To choose the main themes,Tony Buzan also suggests some great questions you can ask yourself as you seek to develop your blog’s niche and create your mind map.
- What knowledge is required?
- If this were a book, what would it’s chapter headings be?
- What are my specific objectives?
- What are the 4 to 7 most important categories?
- What are my basic questions?
- Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
Once your primary ideas for your blog’s niche and its main themes are in place, secondary and tertiary ideas can follow quickly and easily. Placing them on your colourful, well-organized mind map brings them together into a harmonious thought structure.
You can use a variety of methods to enhance your mind map. Aim for your own personal style that reflects your unique patterns of thought. Not only will it make your mind map easier for you to use, but it will also be reflected in your blog – and of course one of the signs of a successful blog is its uniqueness!
For example, to provide dimensions, you can draw 3D shapes around your key ideas, or use shading. You can use different colours to emphasize different themes. You can use bold lettering or other methods to make important ideas stand out. You can use arrows to show connections or associations between ideas. You can also use codes, such as ticks, crosses, circles, triangles, etc to show connections. And you can use curved lines, straight lines, loops, and other kinds of lines to make associations. (Check out the many examples in Tony Buzan’s book).
Some other ideas Tony suggests to make your mind map easy to read and use:
- Use organized spacing, numbers, or other means to create order and structure.
- Use only one key word per line if at all possible
- Print all words rather than write; and print as upright as possible
- Print key words on lines (underline), and make your line length equal to your word length
- Make the central lines (the ones between the key idea and main theme ideas) thicker, and the radiating lines progressively thinner
- Make your images simple and clear
- Place your paper horizontally rather than vertically
Be sure to review your mind map on a regular basis. Make additions and changes as you think of them. Remake your mind map if necessary – but keep focused on your key ideas and themes. Don’t end up going down rabbit trails or emphasizing one theme and neglecting the others. Remember why each theme is important and how they connect to each other.
Of course you do not have to be a great artist to create a mind map that will help you focus on your blog’s niche, and that will help you be creative yet focused as you then build your blog. I certainly am no artist. In fact, I’ll prove it by bravely posting my current mind map! You’ll notice that in the mind-mapping process for my niche, there are some important changes from my original brainstorming and even from my draft mind-map I posted yesterday. That’s good. The process helps you define and outline your blog niche clearly so you don’t end up with a confused blog!
Here is my effort 🙂
Do it now! Make your colourful mind-map of your blog’s niche and themes. Why not scan it and feature it on a special page of your blog – perhaps your “about” page or a page dedicated to your mind map – so your audience can see where you are going with your blog.
In fact, why not email us a copy of your mind-map? Then we can post some of our readers’ blog niche mind maps here on the blog from time to time so that we can all get inspired by your great ideas.
Question of the day: What have you learned about your blog while doing your mind map? Has it helped you focus in on the main themes and the sub-points? Do you see now how the different parts of your niche are associated? Are there any sub-points that should actually be main themes? Or maybe a theme that is really a sub-point of another theme? A mind map helps you see these things clearly so you can work them out before you get half-way through your blog and go “Oh no!”
Tip of the day: Sketch your mind map out with pencil first. Then use ink and colours to complete it.
Put it into action: What are you waiting for? Get busy and create your mind map now! And then put it into action on your blog!