EzSEO Newsletter #327

In this issue:

1. The Power of Mind Maps

2. Writing Product Reviews

3. An Interesting Marketing Tool

Hi Again

I think it was a month ago that I wrote the last newsletter.  My parents came over for a visit for three weeks, so I have had a lot less time to work.  Still, that is why we become affiliate marketers, isn’t it – picking your own working hours?

Anyway, it’s only a quick newsletter today.  I want to tell you about the one tool that I use on a weekly basis – mind mapping, and I’ll tell you about a free mind-mapping tool you can use on PC or Mac.  Also, I want to tell you about a great (and cheap) course on writing product reviews.  It’s one of the best course on writing quality product reviews that I have seen and at less than $15, it’s a steal.

Finally, put your feet up and watch a really funny “movie” created by a well-know internet marketer.  If you think it’s really cool, perhaps you could use the same technology to promote your business?  It’s free to start.

Let’s get on with it….

 

1. The Power of Mind Maps

One of the most powerful tools I use in my business is my mind mapping. The reason it is so powerful is that you can Brainstorm just about anything and get your ideas down in a graphical format. You can then rearrange and connect your ideas so that it makes sense.

Using mind maps you can create plans for just about anything. I use it when I want to map out a new site, or plan out a new article and even when I’m planning a new course, e-book or piece of software.

Let’s look at an example.

I wanted to write an article on creating a themed content for something Michael Campbell was putting together.

The first thing I did was create a new mind map and just get down as many ideas as I can.  Initially, the brain dump was a little sparce,  maybe looking like this:

image

As I sat there thinking, more ideas came to me of the things I wanted to include:

image

Once the initial brainstorm was complete, I then started to organise my thoughts into specific groups, lining items together if they were related:

image

As I kept organising my thoughts, the mind map grew into something that became very useful to me when it came time to write my article.

Here is my finished mind map for that project:

image

What I had done in creating a mind map was to map out the main sections of my article.  The mind map became my article plan.

Back in 2007 I created a mind map to help me write a sales page.  Here is the original draft:

image

I spent 15 minutes or so brainstorming the things I thought a good sales letter should have adding them to my mind map. After little bit of organisation, the mind map became my blueprint for creating that sales page.  The nice thing is that if I want to create another sales page in the future, I can refer back to their mind map and add new stuff as I think of it. In this way mind maps can grow and evolve over time as you find new ways of doing things.

Here is another mind map I created to help me organise my thoughts on the website I was creating. I brainstormed the main categories that I thought the site could have and this is what I ended up with:

image

This became my plan for the website.

I even created a Mind Map to help me plan out my “Insider’s Course“.  You can see that on the sales page.

I highly recommend you try out my maps yourself.

Just dump all your ideas down into the software, and then organise them.

Save it, and the beauty of doing things this way is that you can open the mind maps in the future and add/edit them.  Mind Maps can evolve and you have permanent records of your thoughts.

Why not map out a plan for 2012 for your online business?  I do this every year in January for the year ahead and it helps keep me focussed on what I want to achieve that year.  I have my annual mind maps going back to 2008!

Although I use an expensive program call Mind Manager (by Mindjet), there is an absolutely free mind mapping tool called Free Mind.

If you own a tablet, there are mind mapping programs for both iOS and Android tablets. These have the added advantage of being a lot cheaper than a desktop equivalents.

If you currently mind map, please leave a comment at the end of this newsletter and let us all know which mind mapping tool you use, and any novel uses you have found for mind maps.

2. Writing Product Reviews

I have found a great course on writing high quality product reviews and it costs less than $15!  But first, let me give a little background information.

In newsletter #300, I recommended an Amazon course called Amazonian Profit Plan.

The best thing about the Amazonian Profit plan in my opinion was the excellent way in which the two ladies described their review writing process.  The big downside of this course was the price – it’s $97.  However, after reading Amazonian Profits, I started writing my reviews the way it described and my Amazon income quickly increased (as I am sure most people did after they took the course).

This week, I found out about another course being offered on the Warrior Forum that is specifically about writing high quality, high converting reviews.  These reviews can be for Amazon products, or just about any other product you want to promote on your site.

The good news is that this course only costs $12.80 (at the time of writing – though price increases as more people buy it).  Even better news is that I rank this method above the one described in the Amazonian Profit Plan course.  There are some obvious similarities, but I feel this one adds even more valuable information like the “cliffhanger” method mentioned on page 18 to get people to click though to your merchant.  It’s so simple and easy to add! It’s just one of many tips I have highlighted in my own copy.

I recommend that all affiliate marketers who write product reviews MUST read this course.  It’s packed with great tips and a fool-proof system of writing high quality reviews that your visitors will enjoy and Google should love as well.  You’ll also get a section on outsourcing your article writing (though I felt this section could have been expanded a little).

They even include a second PDF that walks you through as they write a sample review.  They create a “template” for the review, then flesh it out, bit by bit.  They end up with the final  review article which you can study.

Finally, they also include the results of a test they did on whether short reviews or longer reviews are better.  This is just a comparison table showing various factors and the reviews SERP ranking.  Very interesting stuff!

BTW; in the course they will mention another of their products called Extreme Review.  Don’t buy it yet as I have just got a copy.  I will tell you what it’s like in the next newsletter.

I highly recommend you check out this great little product review course on the Warrior Forum.

 

3. An Interesting Marketing Tool

I first found out about this tool when I watched a very fun movie created using the tool.

The movie in question was called  Google Panda Update Content Farms vs Youtube Video Farm.  In it, “Matt Cutts” explains the difference between Youtube and content farms.

I highly recommend you watch it.  It’s very funny.

You can find some other funny, “tongue in cheek” videos by the same creator here.

If you want to create your own movie using this technology, you can get started for free at Xtranormal.  I am already brainstorming (with a mind map) ways I can use this to promote some of my own sites.

OK, that’s it for this newsletter.  Hope there was something you found interesting.

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Comments

  1. brian says

    By the way Andy that share module that doesn’t go away is really annoying. I was hoping by liking the page it would disappear but it didn’t. It blocks out the text behind.. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Just noticed you can minimize the pesky thing!

    Still, I enjoyed the Newsletter!

    Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Brian

  2. says

    I was just thinking about you and that it was about time for another positive shot of EZSEO good news goodness…..and the next mail check…blammo…there you are. I have been doing that more lately. (Seeing 30 seconds into the future.) I wonder what it means?
    Norm

  3. says

    Mind mapping is as described above, it truly allows your mind to rest when completing the mind map of whatever your focus may be. Once starting though be prepared not to finish it as ideas will happen and your mind will race until you note everything down… the best part is that you are segmenting it as you’re writing. Just by two cents of experience.

    • says

      Gregg
      Totally agree. That is a point I didn’t make so thanks. Mind maps allow your brain to rest. Get the stuff down, and you dont have to worry about remembering it any more.

  4. Chris Moore says

    Hi Andy,

    You have your share buttons on the bottom of your post; good idea. They’re also floating on the left hand side of the page. Not so good. They block a good three-quarter inch of the page, so I can’t read it. Or is that only happening to me and Windows XP? Sorry to be so blunt! Merry Christmas.

  5. Mark says

    Hi there Andy,

    Thanks again as always for your newsletter with your info and thoughts…

    Yes, Mind maps are at least to me – crucial, as it’s very difficult to try and store all of our ideas in our heads (as much as we’d like to think we can), and seeing it all laid out in what I call my ‘spider web’, is really helpful. For those using Macs, there’s a free and paid version called MindMode which I have and use it everyday.

    Thank you about the Review WSO!!! Great reviews of her product and for $13.70, ya just can’t beat it! Will be going over it tonight.

    The animation software I checked out and all of its reviews. Unfortunately there are more bad ones than good ones, but I found a very fair and seemingly unbiased review here where they actually use the software to give the review itself – check it out –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXvi66RLDgQ

    I think I’ll happily pass on this Andy, as the constant monotone robotic voices drive me absolutely nuts, and I would think it would do so with many of my visitors as well.

    I had to stop the Google video after the first 2 minutes solely because of the voices! Kind of gimmicky if you ask me, something you’d have to be careful not to overuse.

    I personally feel I would put a slight (or perhaps more), blemish in my credibility if I was to use something that is not as polished as it should be. There’s much room for improvement, but since it’s free, one shouldn’t complain too much. But VERY happy about the WSO though! :)

    • says

      Yes Mark, for a serious topic I think it is a little gimmicky, but I love it for those tongue in cheek topics. I think the Google ones are great!
      I wouldn’t try to do a serious movie/cartoon with this tool.

  6. says

    Although I used a free desktop task list program (download: taskcoach.org) for IM projects, I’ve used mind maps extensively in teaching. I started out using FreeMind, which you recommended, but some of the developers have created a fork, FreePlane, that is now more powerful (download: http://www.freeplane.org).

    • says

      Thanks for the recommendations Lane. I am downloading Free Plane now to take a look. Also interested in the Task Coach.
      OK, playing with Free Plane I just removed the menu at the top and cant find a way to get it back.

  7. says

    Thanks for letting me know about that new product reviews guide. I just bought it since it is such a good price. I’ve got the Amazon Profit Plan and it helped greatly, but your suggestion to get this new one to improve is going to help me too.

    Hopefully using these new tips, having lots of content, original photos of the product and a video of my own personal review will help when the next Panda is released and boost my rankings! My conversions are pretty good, just need more traffic. :)

    • says

      I think the WSO adds a few nice extensions to the Amazonian Profits plan. Combine the best of both approaches and add your own unique twist.

  8. Marc says

    The more I play around with freemind the more I like it. You can actually copy or write entire paragraphs into those nodes so that the mind map doesn’t just represent your article, it IS your article.

    You can label a node as intro and then give that node a child node which contains the actual content of the introduction. Then you can collapse the child node with the actual content back into the node labeled as intro. Do the same for the various article points and conclusion. Now you have a mind map representation of your article that allows you to grab the content of each node by expanding out it’s child node containing the content.

    You can do the same thing when you are doing research. Copy and paste material off the internet into the mind map. Then collapse, label, and rearrange these notes as required.

    I can also see using this technique for programming where each node represents a subroutine which has a child node that contains the actual code for the subroutine.

    Really excited about this!

    • says

      Yes Marc I also use it to plan out software. It’s a really cool tool to use and once you start using it, I doubt you’ll want to stop.

  9. Tony says

    Hi Andy

    I’ve always wanted to use mind maps but unfortunately my mind doesn’t seem to want to process stuff the way you show in your examples. To me they just become messy maps that confuse instead of being something useful. I tend to work in linear patterns and go step by step and I want to see me information that way. So I always thought mind mapping would be useless for me.

    However, I’ve recently seen mindmaps used in webinars that are shown in a form I can at last understand. They are done a bit like computer programs. Each sub-section has its own linear path and then joins the main path at the point where it is required.

    For example, putting a squeeze page, a thank you page or any type of page together is a sub routine that can be prepared separately. Each then joins the main path which shows which routine goes where. A side shoot can go off from any routine to serve as a reminder if needed. This method even beats spreadsheets as they don’t really cater for the visual effect so easily and can be difficult to add to.

    Mindmaps formatted this way are rather like schematic wiring diagrams. I used to be an electrical engineer so perhaps that why I can get on using mindmaps that way rather than the messy map way.

    I noticed the review writing WSO when it first came out. As I already write reviews in the way described in the WSO I thought it wasn’t for me.
    To read your review and see that you rated it so much, even though I know you already use similar methods, I thought I’d better go and see if it can help me after all. So I’ve just bought it, mid-newsletter read, using your link. Nice to be able to give you a bit of payback for all the work you put into these newsletters for us. I’m about to re-do a review site I’ve acquired and I’ll try the methods out on there.

    Thanks for all your newsletters this year Andy. Much appreciated and always read.

    Wishing you a great Christmas and a fantastic health trouble free New Year.

    Tony C

    • says

      Tony,
      First thanks for buying through my link. I hope you’ll find it useful!
      Secondly, it’s funny because I also didn’t like Mind Maps when I first started playing with them. I, like you found them confusing because information wasn’t linear. However, the more I used them the more I liked them, and my productivity grew as a result. If you can find a mind map tool that can create the maps that work for you then give it a go. I am sure you’ll become hooked.

  10. Marc says

    I just finished researching and writing a blog post using free mind. I normally hate writing but now it’s…fun.

    • says

      Great stuff Marc. Takes a lot of the effort out of writing when you have all your ideas down in a map, doesn’t it?

  11. says

    Hi Andy,

    After reading your review of the “Reviewer’s Edge” I purchase it and found that the information was great and at a good price too. I also own Amazonian Profit Plan and have been following Paula & Wanda’s methods for the past 6 month and my sales have increased ALOT because of the quality reviews I am now writing. The Amazonian Profit Plan is excellent – although expensive. However, they do get into so much more information than Reviewer’s Edge and I think that it offers a bit more guidance for the reader.

    So, that’s my 2 cents worth. Up until now, I have started incorporating reviews into existing sites. But if I wanted to start a review site from scratch, do you have any recommendations for good WordPress templates that you would use a Review Site? Appreciate any input on this. Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Jacquie
      I don’t really have any recommendations for templates, but I can tell you that I use StudioPress themes running the Genesis Framework for nearly all of my sites. I know there are better themes out there designed to make review sites easy, but I don’t use them. Maybe another reader can offer suggestions.

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