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This is part of a series of posts on different methods and tips for how to do research on the internet for content creation.

 When writing content for yourself or your clients, internet research can be an important part of how you educate yourself about the topic. Earlier this week I talked about an internet research method I often use which I call the Brain Dump method. Today, we’re discussing a different technique, the Mind Map method.

 Where the Brain Dump is about getting a lot of information in one place so that you can write from your notes, the Mind Map is about building connections between information. These two techniques can actually be used together – the Brain Dump can get your data for you, and the Mind Map can help you organize it so you can write. You can also use the Mind Map directly from your internet research to help you come up with several different angles or articles from one main topic. That’s the technique we’ll talk about today.

Step One: On a Piece of Paper, Write Your Main Topic in the Middle. This is the overall topic you are writing content about, without any slant. For this article, I might write ‘Internet Research’.

Step Two: Find Out What People Want to Know. For this step I like to use online question sites, such as Quora or Yahoo! Answers. You can also Google your topic, using a term like ‘Internet Research Questions’.

Step Three: For Every Question or Sub-Topic, Make a Branch. From your central term, draw a line and at the end of the line write a sub-topic or question you found. These will be the sub-points in your main content, or perhaps the subjects of several smaller pieces of original content.

Step Four: At the End of Each Branch, Make More Branches With Data or Information. This step will help you flesh out your paragraphs or smaller articles. What data did you find to answer the question? What resources are available? What ideas do you have on the topic?

Step Five: From Your Mind Map, Write! Once you have a sufficient number of branches and sub-branches containing questions and key information, it’s time to write. You can take one of two approaches, as I’ve alluded to here. You can create content once on the main topic, using your branches as paragraphs or sub-topics; or you can use the branches to create several smaller pieces of original content that each focus on a single issue.

Step Six: Edit. Insert necessary keywords, re-read the content a couple of times, and check for grammar or spelling errors.

Step Seven: Publish! You’re done! You’ve created excellent original content that addresses real user questions and issues. Great job!

 The Mind Map is my favorite method for brainstorming about a topic, and for creating series of posts or articles. It’s a great way to see everything on paper and to be able to easily see the relationships between all the pieces of information you’ve gathered. I only wish I knew how to mind map in college!!

 Do you use mind mapping when you write? How do you organize content before you write? Let me know in the comments!


Anna Brown 

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