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31DBBB Day 24: How To Use a Magazine To Improve Your Blog

Written by Dan King

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This is Day 24 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers. You can read an overview here.

One of my favorite parts of going to the grocery store (aside from sampling anything that I’m allowed to try) is checking out. There’s something about the display of magazines and tabloids that I just have a hard time pulling my attention away from. Those magazine folks must be doing something right if I struggle to tear myself away from the headlines that captivate me!

As we have through other parts of this project, it’s important for us to look at other ‘experts’ in marketing and see what we can learn from them. This time it’s print media that gets put under the microscope.

The cool thing about this one is that I believe that magazines are more similar to blogs than any other offline example that we could be looking at. We both run regular ‘articles’. We both strive to get more subscribers. And in some cases, we may both try to monetize our work based of our [impressive] numbers.

By looking at magazines, we learn some cool things that we can apply to our own blogs:

  • Marketing Ideas
  • Design Ideas
  • Post Ideas
  • Monetization Ideas
  • Reader Engagement Ideas

While there are certainly many differences between magazines (offline media) and blogs (online media), it won’t take long evaluating a magazine to walk away with long list of things that you’ll want to try right away.

In addition to looking at the print versions of magazines, you may also find it helpful to look at websites for magazines. A good magazine website will take the print version and apply online concepts that may translate into more ideas for your blog. But if you decide to also look at what magazines are doing online, I would recommend having the print version in hand at the same time. This will allow you to see how the print ideas manifest themselves into online formats.

A couple of good Christian magazines (our primary niche) that I would suggest are:

Finally, there’s also some wisdom in looking at non-faith based magazines. There’s a lot of great work being done out there that we can glean from, and it would be a shame to not learn from others who are doing great work in media.

Discussion

  1. What general lessons have you already learned from observing how magazines do things?
  2. What magazines do you think would provide the most value for you as a blogger trying to learn from them?
  3. What magazine websites do you think are particularly impressive, and what techniques are you able to identify that might be valuable to you?

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.

Dan King is… Christ-follower. husband. father. corporate training development guru. bible college instructor. blogger at bibledude.net. social media editor for highcallingblogs.com. occasional contributor for the 8-BIT network.

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About the author

Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. corporate training development guru. school of ministry and missions instructor. social media editor for thehighcalling.org. blogger at bibledude.net. co-founder and media director for the activistfaith.org movement. social media director for help end local poverty.

74 Comments

  • 1) I have learned from magazines that the title of an article is important. The title itself can bring you to open the magazine or set it back down.

    2) I have gotten some good ideas from the "Penticostal Evangel" that the Assembly of God puts out weekly. I also like "Leadership".

    3) I occasionally look at "Charisma" online, but prefer hard copies of magazines and rarely visit their sites.

    So my homework is to look at magazine websites and see how they do things online and see if there is anything that I can learn from them.

    Today's post is a personal one – "Saying goodbye to my next door Mom".
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/06/saying-go

    • I'm with you on the preference to paper! I love online media too, but books and magazines just have a feel that online can't replace. And the title thing is one of the biggest things that I am getting out of this task as well.

    • You've done it again. If using a shopvac to pick up rose petals arrested you, you can imagine the shock I had seeing Vanity Fair magazine on your post. Love it and your sense of humor! Sorry I can not participate in your poetry feature at High Calling. You would never let me participate in anything again–sort of like me singing in public.
      Have fun with National Enquirer, although that may be too tame.
      In Him,
      Janis

  • I have not up till now recognised the parralels but since reviewing bibledude's site, have started preparing to reposition my site in a magazine format. I have to agree that the parallel's are relevant, although there are some real differences. Generally a site should not be too pagey and most of what matters must be accessed on the first click, with subsidiary clicks onto to items of interest. As for looking at magazines for ideas – yup, agree with that, but the same applies to just observing life, reading the news, talking to others, etc.

    • I like the magazine format, but will be the first to admit that it's not for everyone. There are several blogs that I really like that use a traditional template. I run lots of series (which get featured in the rotating images at top/center of the homepage, and the template allows me to use categories to highlight different types of content in different places.

      I think that some other ideas that I'm picking up from this project and other magazines (and their websites) are helping me improve that ever important click-thru rate.

      Let me know if you switch templates. I'd love to check out the makeover…

  • Based on when I remember from the last time I went through the check-out isle at the grocery store, I think I need to add the following to my blog…

    1) Big picture of a sexy, young model in a swimsuit.

    2) Picture of an overweight celebrity without make-up and headline sensationalizing their mental breakdown and/or eating/drinking/drug binge.

    3) New article about the best diet ever… every week.

    4) Story about a woman in Idaho having the baby of Obama's Martian half-brother.

    😉

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