I don’t just mean that your message isn’t clear or you don’t have a clear call to action.
I’m talking about a deeper level of clarity.
Does your message as a brand reflect who you say you are as a company?
Not just when you decide to post a picture of engagement with your favorite charity or retweet something that’s profound.
Does every single piece of content you produce in the name of your brand align with who you say you are and what your purpose is?
This coherence of your message and your purpose is what many online thinkers refer to as authenticity. And working without it can be the kiss of death for online marketing. Not because there’s anything special about social media, which there isn’t. It’s just one more channel that’s accessible to the average person with a computer and a connection.
Actually there’s one thing about social media that makes it special. The speed at which your message can be shared and amplified is truly breathtaking. And this means that if there’s a disconnect between your message and your purpose, it won’t take long for your fans to discover it.
I’ve recently discovered the tool of mind mapping and a mind mapping app I can use on the fly. (I like the MindMeister app) Lately, I’ve been working to incorporate it into my content on a more regular basis. My brain has some ADD-tendencies, and the act of focusing sometimes demands that I use some tools to be more effective.
But even if you don’t struggle with thinking tangentially all of the time, I think regular use of mind mapping (an app or otherwise) can seriously elevate the quality of your content by its very nature.
(What is a mind map? It’s a diagram you create to visually represent information. Mind mapping tools are sometimes referred to as brainstorming tools, though I think mind mapping takes the usefulness up a notch by including a way to show the connections between ideas)
Sometimes it’s easy to get down in the weeds with our content and forget to step back and make sure that we can still see the proverbial forest. And by this, I mean that we need to make sure that each piece of content fits within the whole of our overarching message. We need to be crystal clear on our brand’s story so we know if any given piece of content is a harmonious part of that story or if it’s a plot twist in the story that really doesn’t fit.
While mind mapping is often thought of as a tool to help capture and then refine ideas for their logical fit, I think it has even more value. Using the tool of mind mapping and exploring the many interconnections among ideas can be a simple way of evaluating our content against the broader story of our brand.
How to Use Mind Mapping Tools To Focus Your Brand’s Message
1. Create a mind map template that tells your brand’s story
Include the elements in your brand’s mission, vision, and values. If you have causes that are near and dear to your heart, include these as well. Add lines to connect the pieces that should be connected. Ideally, if your brand is focused and aligned, there should be a rich web of connections among each of these elements of who you are as a brand.
2. Each time you produce content, test it against this core mind map.
Are there obvious places of connection? Are there only a few or are there many places where your content connects to your brand’s story? The more points of intersection there are, the more focused and authentic your content will be to your audience. (And conversely, content with fewer connections might need to be examined for its relevance or appropriateness within your overall content marketing plan.)
When’s the last time you stepped back to evaluate the bigger picture of how your content tells your brand’s story? I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below!