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If Your Blog were a Magazine… (part 1)

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Something I’ve noticed quite interestingly over the past few months is that the best bloggers out there, at least in my opinion, take a very magazine approach to blogging. The print world might be dying, but we do have a ton we can learn from this more traditional form of media. After all, at the end of the day, it’s all about getting your message out there and gaining more subscribers, which are the same goals as magazines.

Some things to consider:

Design

It really ticks me off when a blogger puts no thought into his/her design. That doesn’t mean that I’ll automatically hate you if you have a minimalist look to your blog. Minimalism is a design aesthetic. But you can’t tweak the colors of an out-of-the-box theme? Or add a non-pixalated header? Or make sure that the items on your sidebar actually fit instead of overlapping onto your content? It’s just lazy. I know there are some bloggers out there who have basically given design the middle finger and preach that content is all that matters, but you know what? I don’t read those blogs. Seriously, I don’t. And they point to the fact that ha, I don’t care about design and I still have a million readers per month. Well think how many  more readers you would have if you did care about design, jackass.

Education in a New Way

We always make fun of magazines like Cosmopolitan for essentially repeating the same 100 or so sex tips in every issue, just repackaging it in a different way. This month it’s 101 hot ways to please your man and next month it’s 99 bedroom tricks that will blow his mind and the month after it’s 100 moves that will make him moan…but essentially, almost all of the tips are the same, just repackaged.

But we shouldn’t make fun of Cosmo when we pretty much do the same things as bloggers, just not a well most of the time. Think about the last 10 articles you wrote. How many of them were truly new concepts or ideas? Probably one or two at most. Maybe none. It was information that could be found other places online, maybe even in your own archives, but it was information that your readers needed, so you published it. That’s great – but did you repackage it to make it interesting? So many bloggers out there are boring. It isn’t that they don’t have good ideas about topics that are valuable. They just fail to actually entertain me by presenting the information in a new way.

Subscription Marketing

When you pick up a copy of your favorite magazine at the grocery store, approximately how many subscription cards are inside? Roughly three to four thousand, right? That’s because the magazine knows that if you subscribe, they’ve got you for a year, where as if it is up to you pick up the magazine every month, you’ll likely drop the ball. They also know that you probably won’t fill out the first subscription card that falls out of the pages. Or the second. Or the third. They know that it has to be drilled into someone’s head that they should subscribe if they like the content, mostly because we’re all lazy by nature and think repeatedly “I’ll do it later.”

On some blogs, I have a hard time finding the RSS button. Even more often, I don’t see a email subscription list, or if you do have one, it is hidden. Why – WHY – are your subscription tools not prominent on your sidebar? Heck, I put them at the end of my posts as well. You have to smack readers in the face with what you want them to do sometimes.

As I’m writing this post, I realize that I have a lot more to say about blogging like a magazine than show go into a single post. So, check back later for part 2  of If Your Blog were a Magazine… for some more tips we can take from print media!


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  • Judy Helfand

    Alli,
    Everyone seems to be talking about the importance of keeping your the look and feel of your blog inviting, intuitive, etc. Over and over again people have insisted that you need to have a way for readers to easily subscribe by email. Like you said above: ” I don’t see a email subscription list.”

    So today, I determined I was going to solve my lack of an email subscription box on my personal blog. I didn’t want to bother one of our designers, so I searched for an article on-line that would give step by step instructions. Here is a link to the article: http://www.bloggertricks.com/2008/01/how-to-add-email-subscription-form-to.html

    I followed their directions and what do you know? I now have a “Subscribe by e-mail” box on my personal blog. I hope you will stop by and subscribe.

    Thanks for the motivation. Tomorrow I will have one of our designers add the feature to our business blog.

    Judy

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