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Mindmapping is a great brainstorming technique for crafting your book marketing strategy

In a recent post, I suggested brainstorming some ideas for ways to tie your book marketing campaign to a February holiday or commemoration. Brainstorming is an informal, spontaneous way of generating ideas on virtually any topic: book chapters, marketing ideas, prospective readers, potential partners, and blog topics, to name just a few. When brainstorming, there’s no right or wrong – and you should not worry about being brilliant. Just get the ideas down as quickly as possible, without filtering.

There are loads of options for brainstorming, but the one I’ve found the most useful over the years is mindmapping. I’ve been using it so long I don’t even recall where I first learned this technique, but I frequently teach it as a great method for generating multiple levels of ideas.

Essentially, a mindmap is a picture of your thoughts. Mindmapping is used extensively in advertising, and any industry in which a collaborative brainstorming process is important. However, it also works as a solo approach to brainstorming and idea wizardry. An easy technique to master, mindmapping can help you to break down an overwhelming topic into more precise, specific points. Your specific points spin like spokes from a wheel around the central theme or topic.

Write your primary concept in the center circle, beginning to uncover related words or phrases. Then, in the surrounding circles, you add more detailed ideas for each word or phrase, spinning another layer of circles. Don’t struggle over these. Just punch them out, as quickly as they come. Don’t filter or argue with yourself about the usefulness or appropriateness of the category, either. You just want to open your brain’s font of ideas so you can pour them out. You will have time later to clean up your list.

For years, I did mindmaps on paper, using grids much like the one above. However, virtual mindmapping systems are everywhere these days. I’ve found a nice one that offers a free basic version, as well as a 30-day trial of its professional version. Beyond simply helping you organize your thoughts, this system (and many others like it) enables you to organize related documents, graphics, and other projects. I would compare it to a right-brainer’s project management system. Although my printed mindmap grid only allowed for 6 topics, the possibilities are endless. Another great reason to think about a digital version.

Next time you need to do some brainstorming, think about using a mindmap, whether on a whiteboard, flipchart, blank sheet of notebook paper, or tablet computer.

Happy mindmapping!

Laura

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