Tech Review: Best Mind-Mapping Tools for Writing and Content Projects

There are a lot of mind-mapping tools out there, but a lot of them are created with teams and businesses in mind. That’s why I decided to separate the mind-mapping tools listed here, just for writers and content creators. And, like most of the tech I like to review and use myself, they’re free (or very inexpensive) to use.

What is a Mind-Mapping Tool?

A mind map is a visual way to represent ideas and concepts. So, a mind-mapping tool is a visual thinking tool. It lets you organize text, images, and other information into what looks like a flow chart. Each block represents a piece of the puzzle that flows to the next piece. If you can’t visualize this (pun intended) right now, don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of examples of mind maps below.

Remember the main reason why mind maps are helpful tools: they’re simple to use and understand.

How Will a Mind-Mapping Tool Help You?

While ideas are great, it’s typically the execution of the ideas you have that you’re after. You don’t want to just think about creating the next best online magazine, you want to actually create it. However, when you’re in the beginning development stages, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you need to consider when developing a new online magazine. You need to think about coming up with a catchy name, logos, potential columns, who your contributing writers will be, how you’ll promote it, etc. etc. A mind map can help you visualize all these tasks in a way that is organized and clear, which will make your content project seem a lot less intimidating.

A Mind Map Can Help You:

  • Document and structure information as you’re brainstorming
  • Analyze ideas and topics, and how they relate to one another
  • Comprehend and see the complexity of your project or idea, and how you can break it down into more manageable bits
  • Synthesize information
  • Recall and generate new ideas

While most of the mind-mapping tools listed below weren’t made with content writers exclusively in mind, they’re the best ones for them to use.


Mind 42

I’m going to start this list of mind-mapping tools with my personal favorite: Mind 42

It’s my favorite because it has a lot of features that are free to use. It’s easy to use. And, as a writer, I can add text notes, checklists, images, and links to each subtopic. Other options don’t allow you to add text notes to the different subtopics, which aren’t ideal for writers. Mind 42 also allows you to have an unlimited number of mind maps.

What it Looks Like:

mind42

Cost:

FREE

How to use it:

Create a free account at https://mind42.com/

With Mind42, you can do the following:

  • Link nodes (subtopics) to your main topic
  • Add notes and checklists to your different nodes
  • Attach images and links to your nodes
  • Include icons for categorizing topics and nodes
  • Color code your nodes and subtopics
  • Export your map to save on your device or in the cloud

You can also add tags to your mind maps and share them with others so you can collaborate. Or, if you need to get ideas for creating your own mind map, you can scroll through mind maps that others share publicly. Sharing is not mandatory and all mind maps you create are private unless you choose to share them. Mind 42 also hosts a forum where you can post questions to other users.


Coggle

Coggle is another great mind-mapping tool. It would probably be first on this list if it weren’t for the fact that the free version only allows you to have three mind maps. Its interface is amazing and colorful. It’s also very easy to use.

What it looks like:

coggle.PNG

How to use it:

Sign up for an account at https://coggle.it/

Their pricing structure and what you get with each type of account:

coggle_plan titles and cost.PNG

coggle_what plans include.PNG


FreeMind

FreeMind is great for long lists and detailed mind maps that have a lot of subtopics. It’s great for documenting the details of a complex content project because you can write a lot of text and include links to resources. However, it’s not necessarily easy to use (at first) which is why it’s lower on the list. And it also doesn’t allow you to add high-quality images to your mind map. While this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for writers, it can make it more challenging to visualize a project.

What it looks like:

FreeMind.PNG

How to use it:

Download it at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Download

Cost:

FREE

With FreeMind, you can do the following:

  • Easily add HTML links in the nodes, and links to local files on your desktop.
  • Fold your nodes closed (toggle them closed) so they aren’t all open at the same time.
  • Drag and drop multiple selected nodes, lists, and text.
  • Export an HTML mind map with folded nodes (see example).
  • Search through your mind map for key terms.
  • Use icons, colors, and different fonts to differentiate your nodes.

Bubbl.us

With Bubbl you can create a mind map that’s visually appealing, and connects different subtopics to the main topic. It’s great for writers who don’t want a mess of notes when they’re brainstorming and organizing a larger content project. However, if you aren’t a premium member, you miss out on some of the functionality that could be helpful.

Here’s what it looks like:

Bubbl.us.PNG

How to use it:

Create an account at https://bubbl.us/

Their pricing structure and what you get with each type of account:

bubbl_pricing.PNG

Bubbl is probably best for small content writing teams, or writers who need easy access to someone else’s mind map. They have a user-friendly interface and it’s easy to share mind maps and collaborate if you’re a premium or team-level member.


Scapple

Oddly enough, the mind-mapping tool that was actually created for writers is at the bottom of the list. Why? Its interface isn’t as user-friendly as the others listed above. It doesn’t have as many features. And it costs more. Scapple was created to be used with Scrivener (a tool that’s helpful when you’re compiling large documents).

What it looks like:

scapple.jpeg

How to use it:

Download it at https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scapple.php

Cost:

$14.99

With Scapple, you can do the following:

  • Write notes anywhere on the “virtual paper” page.
  • Connect notes using drag and drop.
  • Stack notes in columns of related ideas.
  • Drag notes directly into Scrivener.
  • Customize the appearance and shapes of notes.

Did I miss a mind-mapping tool you use that would be great for content creators and writers to use? Please share with us in the comments!

Like and share this post if you found it helpful so others can see it too. Thanks!


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