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
Take special note of what they do on the front cover to persuade people to buy the magazine.
What types of designs, colours, fonts, and layout do they use? Is it effective? Why or why not?
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.
You can learn about effective communication from a good article on just about any topic.
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.
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?
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.