Have you experienced sitting in front of your computer wanting to write a blog post, or send an email or a newsletter to your subscribers, or even to create a video... but your mind is a complete blank?
You have no idea what you want to write about or talk about?
If you want a solution for writer's block, I have a really cool idea for you that I'm sharing in this video.
It involves tapping into the expertise of people who make a living out of creating content and, not creating just any content, but creating content consistently and content that's so good, people pay for it.
This little-known source of topic ideas is the printed magazine.
Even though the internet is accessible and information is on our fingertips,
magazines have not died. They're still around and there's a magazine for almost every topic you can think of.
One of the things I like to do is to browse magazines in my local book store, just to check out all the obscure topics they cover.
Whether you're in parenting, sports, lifestyle, arts and crafts, business, or
technology - whatever industry you're in - there's probably at least one or a
handful of magazines in your industry.
This is why magazines are a great source of inspiration for content creators.
Magazine publication involves publishers, writers, designers, art directors, and editors. A lot of talent goes into publishing a magazine!
What's more, they have to sell the magazines to both readers and advertisers, so their content needs to be compelling. They need to attract readers so they can, in turn, attract advertisers.
So, do you think you and I can learn a thing or two about content creation from the people who create magazines?
Absolutely! Watch the video to see how:
Find out which magazines are popular in your industry and which magazines your audience members are reading and subscribing to.
If you've been entrenched in your industry for some time, then you're probably subscribed to at least one or more of these magazines yourself and you probably know which magazines are popular in your industry.
But if not, or if you want to explore and discover other magazines, then there are several ways to do that.
I already mentioned going to your local bookstore and simply browsing the magazine racks there to look for magazines in your industry.
If you don't want to leave the house, there's an online source that I really like
exploring as well, and that's the website called magazines.com.
You can browse this website or, to find magazines about specific topics, then you can type your keyword in the search box and it will let you know what magazines are available around that topic.
Magazines that have survived the onslaught of the internet are great sources of headlines and blog topic ideas.
Let's parenting as an example because there are a lot of magazines on parenting.
You will see different ones, like Working Mother and Family Circle. There are magazines around family fun, family trees, even Pediatrics for Parents.
As you can see, some of these are really very specific. Did you know that there's a magazine for military spouses?
You can find a magazine for different types of audiences within a specific industry.
Or you can just Google your industry plus "magazine" and find new magazines that way.
Now that you've identified at least one or several magazines in your industry, the next step is to find out what topics these magazines are going to be publishing in the future.
On magazines.com, you can see the cover of the latest issue of the magazine and that can give you an idea of what topics they're currently covering.
That in itself is useful because you can get inspiration for topic ideas from the current or recent covers of magazines,
But what's even more fun is finding out what's coming up in the months ahead.
Magazines plan their editorial content in advance. The way to find out what's in their editorial plan is by getting your hands on the magazine's media kit.
How do you do that?
First of all, let me explain what a media kit is. A media kit is an information packet that publishers prepare for potential advertisers. It's prepared to attract advertisers.
You'll get information in the media kit about how many people they reach, how many readers they have. and what the demographics of their readers are, such as age, gender, and geographical location.
And sometimes they have other information as well, like what are the interests of their readers and also a description of what the publication is about, its philosophies, what kinds of audience, it attracts, and so on.
All that can be helpful for you, too.
A final element of a media kit is the list of future topics of that particular publication or their editorial calendar.
That's the information you want to get hold of if you're looking for inspiration for topic ideas.
How do you find or get a copy of a particular magazine's media kit?
Simple. Google to the rescue!
Google "[title of the magazine] media kit" -- It's that easy.
For example, by typing "parenting magazine media kit," the first result I get is Parents magazine media kit.
When I click on the editorial calendar, I can find out which topics are going to be covered in future issues of Parents magazine (click the image to enlarge).
As I'm recording this video in April 2018, and the topics coming up in May are:
... and so on and so forth
As you can see, they also have different categories of topics. If you're in the parenting field, this can also inspire you in terms of identifying categories for your blog. These are all the different categories of topics you could be covering.
Now, what do you do with this knowledge? What do you do after finding out what topics are coming up in this particular magazine?
Sure, you could copy the entire topic and create your own content around the same topic. But it's even better to get inspiration from it rather than writing about the exact same topic.
For example, going back to the magazine's list of topics, let's say you decide to tackle mental health. Given your platform and your audience. what could you write or talk about in terms of child mental health?
You don't have to create content around this particular topic of trusting your
instincts about your child's mental health. Maybe you could talk instead
about the common signs parents should look out for that might indicate that their child has mental health issues.
Or, you could zero in on a specific mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression, or whatever else in children.
The other value of magazines is to get different ideas for how to write your headline.
Headlines can be difficult to write and sometimes we get in a rut with our headline writing. That means all your headlines start to sound the same.
The headlines you find in the media kit aren't necessarily the final headlines of the the articles.
If you're looking for headline ideas, a better way to get that would be to look at the covers of the magazines, either in a bookstore or at magazines.com.
For example let's look at Men's Health magazine. If you look at the current cover you can get an idea for headlines, such as (click the image to enlarge):
Pay attention to these headlines because publishers are counting on these headlines to sell the magazine. If I'm not a subscriber yet and I just happen to be looking at magazines and thinking which one I'm going to buy, these headlines are ultimately what's going to make me buy a particular issue of the magazine.
And so, editors, publishers, and writers work hard on these headlines because their income depends on it!
You can take a headline and massage or tweak it to make it your own, to make it relevant or to align it with your particular topic.
What if I can't find a magazine in my industry?
You're probably not looking hard enough. Or if you're in an industry that's so obscure that there isn't a magazine for it, you can look at magazines in a related industry, even if they're not exactly covering the same topic or the same industry you're in.
What if you're looking for the media kit of a specific magazine and it's not online?
Sometimes you have to email the publisher. You might even have to pretend to be a potential advertiser in order to obtain a copy of their media kit.
It depends on how comfortable you are with pretending that you're a potential advertiser.
Tell me: What are the top magazines in your industry and what topics will they be talking about in the future months?
PS: If you liked this post and now your mind is overflowing with topic ideas, I invite you to go here and sign up for my free PDF, "3 Unbelievably Easy Ways to Create Authority-Building Content (Without Writing)."
This is a free pdf that shows you the three types of authority-building content you can create even if you don't want or have no time to write, including the specific steps to follow to create that content, the equipment and software you'll use, and the services you'll need to implement them.
You'll also learn how to leverage your content to create other pieces of content from it, so you create content that builds your authority -- without working too hard!
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.