I’ll admit it. I’m obsessed with mind maps. My poison is MindNode. I can toss it back and forth with OmniOutliner in OPML formats to move from visual to more linear orientations as needed.

I usually start in MindNode, especially when working in a group setting. Then, I put it into OmniOutliner to make sure I didn’t miss anything and re-organize as necessary. I almost always send out the Mind Map to whomever I’m collaborating with because it’s just easier for most people to process. (And since it’s in somewhat of a novel format, they tend to pay attention to it.)

Enough geek talk! Why does this matter?

I talk with lots of different leaders and organizations who are trying to make sense of the digital marketing landscape. I get it. It’s tough, confusing, and ever-evolving. If you’ve grown weary trying to keep up, don’t sweat it. You’re not alone.

It’s less important that you master everything as you keep yourself open to the native content consumption habits of your core audience. The biggest temptation is simply to project your personal preferences onto your target audience. By default, you will communicate in ways that are convenient for you instead of effective at engaging others.

Where this gets tricky is in the delivery systems required to deliver timely, relevant, and specific information. You must be committed to investing in habits and technology that allow for broad-based segmentation. Doing so will allow you to deliver a personal experience, which, in turn, builds trust.

Let’s zoom out for a moment.

One of the reasons I believe so many smart leaders are missing the full benefit of content marketing is that they’re not seeing it as an interdependent series of systems that contribute to a dynamic ecosystem of influence.

Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of tasks that lose their punch in the midst of chaotic communication schedules that are impossible to executive let alone maintain.

Everything has to work together.

I decided to mind map a basic content ecosystem to inspire you to think differently about content marketing.

This isn’t exhaustive. And … please, please, please … don’t take this as an obligation to act on all of these elements. There are some you can benefit from, some you can ignore, and some you’ll want to add based on your sphere of influence, industry, organizational objectives, etc.

Stop looking at content marketing as an activity. Instead, see it as an opportunity to interact, grow, learn, and respond to your client, donor, or customer.

Do you have a holistic view of content marketing? Is that represented in your team’s habits and approach to implementation?

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