Use a Magazine to Improve Your Blog – #31DBBBDay24

Woman's rolled glossy magazine in stack with tea cup. isolated wI can hear many of my fellow bloggers asking, “How can a magazine possibly help me improve my blog? Aren’t magazines on the way out?”

With all that is available online these days, you might think paper magazines are obsolete. But a quick walk through the stationery aisle or the racks by the grocery checkout will convince you that paper magazines are as current and ongoing as paper books.

 

WHY SHOULD I DO IT?

“So what?” you might ask. “What can I learn from the old ways of communicating with others? Why would I even want to? Shouldn’t I stick to other bloggers and writers to show me the way?”

This is one more way of thinking outside the box, and expanding our exploration beyond what other bloggers typically restrict themselves to. It always helps to step away from your own blog for a while, and gain new perspectives. And we bloggers can still learn a lot from what magazine publishers are doing.

Today’s exercise is to spend a quiet hour glancing through at least one magazine, analyzing it and reviewing it. If you can find a magazine in your niche, all the better, but if you can’t, don’t let that stop you. You can learn a lot just by studying any magazine.

Have some sticky notes, and a pen and notebook handy to jot down things you observe along the way.

WHAT YOU CAN GLEAN FROM MAGAZINES

Marketing ideas
Take special note of what they do on the front cover to persuade people to buy the magazine.

Design ideas
What types of designs, colours, fonts, and layout do they use? Is it effective? Why or why not?

Post ideas
New ideas can come even from articles that are not in your own niche. It could be just the headline will catch your attention and give you an idea for a totally unrelated post for your own blog.

Learning about my niche
A magazine that is in your niche will help keep you up to date on the latest news and developments.

Writing tips
You can learn about effective communication from a good article on just about any topic.

Monetization lessons
Mainstream media were monetizing content long before the internet came along. It’s different from the way it’s done on the web, but some of the same principles do apply.

Reader engagement
Magazines are increasingly working at becoming more interactive by running competitions, setting up online forums, and using reader contributions.

 

HOW SHOULD I DO IT?

This is how Darren Rowse suggests doing it, in today’s lesson.

First, starting with the front cover, skim through the magazine, placing a sticky note on any page that catches your attention. This should take only a minute or two.

Next, take note of what grabbed you. Was it a headline, picture, or colour? Was it the opening line of an article?

Now, take a second, slower read of the magazine. Start at the front cover and work your way through to the end.

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

Who is the target audience of this publication?

What techniques are used on the front page to draw people into the magazine?

What makes you pause to read an article? Why do you skip over the other articles?

What types of headlines are they using?

How are pictures used?

What colours are popular at the moment?

How are articles formatted (use of subheadings, bold, lists, etc.)?

What can you learn from ad placement and design in the magazine?

What the magazine do well? What does it not do well? How would you improve it?

What are the limitations of the magazine medium? How could you use this to capitalize on selling your blog?

 

FURTHER READING

Improve Your Blog by Reading a Magazine – an Exercise for Bloggers

Blogosphere Trends + Improving Readability

 

If you’ve learned something new, or otherwise found this post helpful, please use the social share buttons. And I’d to hear from you in the comments below.

Willena Flewelling

Comments

  1. These are great tips. I have three magazines sitting right next to me. I have been flipping through them but now, with your guidance, will be looking at them differently.
    Dr. Elise Cohen Ho recently posted…Eight Great Chinese New Year RecipesMy Profile

  2. Hi Willena Flewelling mam, Interesting post to improve our articles by reading magazines. There are different ways to improve writing this looks valid. I will follow this ..thanks for sharing

  3. Hi Willena 🙂

    Really enjoyed your post as I never really thought about utilizing magazines to improve my blog 🙂 Lots of awesome reasons why I should 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…How To Increase Your Conversions Using Social ProofMy Profile

  4. I started buying a magazine a few years ago because of it’s lovely design. I couldn’t bear to part with them and they look good in a bookshelf. Although my own blog doesn’t suit I’ve always wanted to create a site that uses elements from it.

    I hadn’t thought of getting other ideas from magazines but it’s an excellent idea. If there’s something in a mag that I want to keep (a recipe or a website I want to look up.), I’ll take a photo with my phone. That would work for recording ideas for blogs too.
    Sue Bride recently posted…Blog Profits Blueprint 2016My Profile

  5. Hi Willena,
    Interesting post to improve articles by reading magazines. and very useful tips! I never really thought about utilizing magazines to improve blog.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Willena,

    I have looked at magazines with an eye for what caught my attention, but not recently. I get drawn to an article that is telling me something I want to know more about or write my own article about. And you are so right – the wording of the headline is what first catches my attention, or maybe first is the bright colored image and then the headline.

    I read many mental health counseling, pain management and other journals. They do not follow those marketing rules and can sometimes feel deadly to read. I have to seriously want to know about a certain topic to take the time to locate the article and plod through it without any images.

    Thanks for this important reminder to think like a marketer in creating our title, headlines and sub headlines, as well as choosing the most eye catching images.l

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Television is not dead – 5 reasons to avoid TV and ….My Profile

  7. Hi Willena. That’s a great idea to read a magazine for inspiration either for a post or to improve your blog overall. You’re right, they have been at it a lot longer than we have here in the online world. If the magazine also has a website it might be worth seeing how they translate their print articles into online articles too. I have to head out into the “real world” today so I might just pick up a magazine while I’m there. Thanks.
    Ben recently posted…How to Retail Products in NikkenMy Profile

  8. Hi,

    Yes magazines are really a great tool to get ideas,whenever I become out of ideas tabout my blog I just start searching for ideas from online magazines and you know what most of the times I get some amazing ideas from them.Anyway thanks for this wonderful share.Keep up the good work.
    Debarpan recently posted…White Hat SEO Vs Black Hat SEOMy Profile

  9. For growing our blog there is a big need for good tutorial and i hope this magazine will be helpful for the beginners and all the useful information about post ideas, niche ideas and web design ideas is really important for every blogger so i can say this magazine worth buying also.
    Avnish Gautam recently posted…10 Best wordpress landing page pluginMy Profile

  10. I think this magzine is right step for the beginners, everyone in this field know the importance of post ideas and web design ideas. so who so buy it will now think they have used their money not at the right place,
    Gaurav Vashisht recently posted…Top 10 online shopping sites: Best shopping sites indiaMy Profile

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