This is Day 18 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project we are doing together in an attempt to improve our blogs and help each other become better bloggers. You can read more about it and still sign-up to participate here. Please subscribe to our RSS Feed to stay updated on the project.
- Day 16 (Monday): Breathe Life into an Old Post
- Day 17 (Tuesday): Call your Readers to Action
- Day 18 (Wednesday): How to use a Magazine to Improve your Blog
- Day 19 (Thursday): Ask a Question
- Day 20 (Friday): Develop a Plan to Boost your Blog’s Profile and Readership
- Day 21 (Monday): 17 Statistics to Monitor on your Blog
- Day 22 (Tuesday): Plan the next step for your blog
Have you ever picked up a magazine and wondered how much work goes into making it as easy and pleasant to read as possible? Have you noticed that when you come near a magazine display, there is a strong attention-pulling effect? Wouldn’t it be neat if your blog was the same way?
Today, we are going to spend some time analyzing some magazines to extract some valuable lessons that can be used on our blogs.
Any magazine will do but if you have something that covers your niche (movies or even entertainment) then go ahead and pick one (or preferably several) of those. Now with an eye toward improving your blog, look out for those potential source of ideas:
- Marketing – How does the magazine markets itself to readers and potential readers? How does it convinces us of buying it simply using its cover? There is a lot to be learned simply by analyzing how a magazine market itself.
- Design – The best magazine usually have the best design. By best, I do not necessarily mean flashy. You can learn a lot about design from reading a good magazine. Look out for color schemes, fonts, layouts and how each components attracts your attention to certain content.
- Post – Reading a magazine is almost always a source for new content for your own blog. Sometimes, all it takes is being exposed to some creativity or discussion fodder even when it’s unrelated to your niche.
- Learning about your Niche – if you choose a magazine that covers your niche. it’ll keep you updated on the latest news and developments in it.
- Writing – a well-written article on almost any topic can teach you a lot about effective communication.
- Reader Engagement – while a very different medium magazines are increasingly trying to get more interactive with readers by running competitions, setting up online areas, using reader contributions etc…
Darren highlighted some of the questions you should ask yourself while reading your magazine:
- 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 other articles?
- What type of headlines are they using? How effective are they?
- How are pictures used?
- What colors are in at the moment?
- How are articles formatted (use of sub headings, bold, lists etc)?
- How does the magazine sell itself (looking forward to future issues, subscription pages etc)
- What can you learn from ad placement and design in the magazine?
- What level is this magazine pitched at? (beginners, advanced etc)
- What is the magazine doing well at – what are they not doing well at? How would you improve it?
- What are the limitations of the medium of magazines that you don’t have with a blog and how could you sell your blog on these things?
I think this is one of the most fun assignment in 31DBBB. Simply grab a magazine and start getting some ideas for your own blog. Do not forget to visit their website to see if you can’t gather more ideas. As always, come back and tell us everything you learned today!
- What general lessons have you already learned from observing how magazines do things?
- What magazines do you think would provide the most value for you as a blogger trying to learn from them?
- What magazine websites do you think are particularly impressive, and what techniques are you able to identify that might be valuable to you?