Here’s my notes and some further thoughts on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 24 Use a Magazine to Improve Your Blog. The complete list of challenges can be read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction.
As I’ve mentioned before, to get the full benefit of this series I’m going to go at a slower pace by posting this series typically on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites.
So lets do this together! Day 23 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB
Day 24: Today the challenge is to use a magazine to improve your blog.
Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or smoothie and settle down with your magazine. Today old media or the magazine is going to help you improve the new media or your blog.
This could be quite fun!
You probably want to buy the magazine or newspaper. If you can’t afford one feel free to find one at a local library for example.
You might learn about some marketing ideas or about calls to action. You might pay particular attention to the front cover, headlines, colors, and fonts of the magazine.
This exercise is a great place to generate post ideas. This is particularly true if you chose a magazine that relates to your niche. This is a chance to learn about your target market. You might find the latest trends and developments in your niche. You might find some great writing tips. You could find tips on monetization. Mainstream media has been monetizing for a very long time. It should come as no surprise that they are very good at what they do.
6 Steps to Use a Magazine to Improve Your Blog
- Set aside 30 minutes to an hour.
- Go to your local library, coffee shop, outdoors, or a place where you can work undisturbed.
- Get the magazine. Bring the magazine or some magazines that preferably relates to your blog topic or niche. An alternative is to buy a newspaper.
- Bring a notebook, pen, highlighter, sticky notes, scissors, and your laptop.
- Skim through magazine in 5 to 10 minutes. Start with the magazine cover and work your way through the magazine. Place a sticky note on anything that catches your attention.
- Take about 20 minutes or more to slowly dissect the magazine. Start with the magazine cover and slowly work your way through the magazine
Ask these 9 questions when you skim through the magazine.
- What could you learn from the ad placement and design of the magazine?
- What level is the magazine pitched at? Is it written for beginners, intermediate, or advanced readers?
- Is the magazine pitched for a particular demographic?
- What does the magazine do well?
- What does it do poorly?
- What could you improve?
- What are the limitations of the magazine medium?
- How could you use this to capitalize on your blog?
- What grabbed you in the first pass?
What grabs your attention is really important. Remember you only have a few seconds to grab your reader’s attention. This is true in both the magazine and blogging world. Did a color, headline, an opening line, a picture or something else grab your attention?
Gather up your sticky notes. Now it’s time to slowly dissect the magazine.
Ask these 12 questions when you slow down to dissect the magazine.
- What techniques were used on the front page to draw people into the magazine?
- Who is the target audience of this magazine?
- What makes you pause and read an article?
- Why did you skip over other articles?
- What type of headlines are they using?
- How effective are the headlines?
- How are pitches used?
- What colors are popular at the moment?
- How are the articles formatted?
- How long are the articles?
- How do they use formatting like sub-headings, bold, italics, call outs, lists, etc.?
- How does the magazine sell itself?
There’s a slew of possibilities that could jump out at you. You shouldn’t necessarily copy the same format as the magazine. And certainly don’t take this as encouragement to copy the content of the magazine. Remember this is a great exercise in brainstorming ideas for your blog.
The value of this exercise is to step away from your blog for an hour and generate some fresh ideas for your niche.
If you’ve purchased your copy of the magazine remember to feel free to make notes, cut pictures, or highlight the magazine.
I hope you found this useful!
Previous Challenges in this Series:
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What creative or fresh ideas could you get today from analyzing a magazine? What will you differently on your blog as a result of this challenge? Leave a comment below!