Use the Magazine Approach for Your Platform – The Impact Equation

The Magazine Rack

In The Impact Equation, one of the prominent parts of our prescription is the realization that you must learn to master your use of your platform to communicate your ideas and build a network of value. We talk about thinking of yourself as a fledgling TV station. Another helpful way to look at what you’re doing is to think about how magazines are put together, and consider applying the same concepts to how you use your platforms, especially your blog. How do you get people to care? Here’s a recipe for using the magazine approach to improve your platform.

The Magazine Approach- Ingredients

  • A Solid Mission – What’s the mission of your magazine/platform? If you have no idea who you’re serving and why, how will you know which magazine you’re designing?
  • An Editorial Calendar Frame – When Susan Kane goes to put together an issue of Success magazine, she doesn’t start from scratch.
  • A Commitment to Delivering Value – If you’re writing for yourself, you’ll only attract yourself.
  • A Community/Network Mindset – People want you to entertain and inform them, but also to see and acknowledge them.
  • Delivery Quality and Success Every Time – If you’re not putting out great work, why should people give you their time?

The Magazine Approach – Preparation

Without a Solid Mission, it’s hard to know what you’re bothering to create. The mission has to be bigger than whatever it is you’re trying to sell. There needs to be room to breathe participation and your buyer’s success into the story. What’s my mission at Human Business Works? To deliver a vision, a plan, and a community of support to help you do the work you want to do, only better. That informs all I do.

The Editorial Calendar is key. If you think about your favorite magazine, it has a certain format. It has ads. It has an editorial page. It has lots more snippets (very small bits) than it used to). It has features. It might have reviews and also interviews. Put your content together appropriately. If you write only about yourself, that’s like a magazine with only editorial pages. If you sell all the time nonstop, it’s like a magazine of only ads, aka a catalog. If you write only features, you’ll be out of business in no time. It’s the mix. That’s the magic trick.

People are Reading For Value for themselves, not for their appreciation of you. They may or may not like you. It’s better when they do. But they are there for them. They want something they can use, or at the least, they want to be entertained. Where do you spend your time online? Why? What do you get from it? Convert that for the marketplace you serve and make something of use to these people.

The Difference Between a Community And a Network is that the community cares, but the network is so enmeshed in their participation that they’ve taken to sharing and spreading your platform to others. That’s the real gold. Communities are great. But once the community feels a certain ownership, they will spread your ideas and that’s when you grow.

“Sorry I Haven’t Written Lately” has never been printed in a magazine, and yet bloggers write it all the time. They fall in and out of love with their online properties (it’s happened to me). You owe your community a magazine/platform experience that they can count on. Deliver value and do it repeatedly. That’s what they seek and what they will respond to most.

Serving Suggestions

To wrap this up, I’ve written this from a reasonably vague implementation premise for a reason. You could do this model via email, via a blog, via some social networks like Google+ or Tumblr, or even in the offline world. None of this is technology-specific. What matters is that you use the tools you have available to tell the story in the best way possible for your buyers. If you are a painter, an audio podcast isn’t right for you. ( My audio podcast, on the other hand, is waiting for you to discover it!) It’s not about the mic. It’s about your use of whatever tools you wish to use to reach people and improve your channels for impact.

By the way, if this has been interesting and you’ve yet to pick up The Impact Equation, you’ll find a lot more on this and more within.

As for you, what’s holding you back? What excuses are you making? What has worked or not worked for you around this concept? Have you considered the magazine approach for your business? If you want to deliver impact, that’s what might help. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • The Money Mail

    Chris, you said it. I am working on The Money Mail with a similar idea. I am starting it as a blog, but want to convert it in to a magazine style edition. Last night itself I was working on the schedule of publication for the site. I have also fallen in and and out and back in love with The Money Mail but this time its different. I am working on it full time, till I see it reach its goal.

    • Chris Brogan

      Understand that when I say “magazine,” I just mean the content. It can be a blog, an email, you standing around with a piece of paper. I just mean to make sure the content has that magazine effect of covering what your community wants.

  • Jeff Korhan

    Yep, and to this I would add stories about real life and people. It’s what’s keeping those magazines in print while others are going all digital. Of course, that may be inevitable. Have a great week!

    • Chris Brogan

      No question. And thanks, Jeff. Glad you added your $5.31

      • Jeff Korhan

        You bet – good luck with your project this afternoon. Hope you get a crowd :)

  • The Franchise King

    Thanks for this post, Chris.

    And, thanks for sharing your knowledge-your passion again, with another great book.

    I just finished it. A review is coming shortly.

    Magazine style, huh?

    Interesting approach…


    • Chris Brogan

      It helps you center your choices.

  • Marc Ensign

    Great post Chris! I feel like I am forever struggling with my mission. Whatever I come up with is either too fluffy, out of focus or encompasses way too many things. After reading The Impact Equation (nicely done ole chap) and a few back and forths with you and Julien, I know that I need to zoom in to find it. I’m just not quite there yet. I even read every post on my blog this weekend to see what the common theme was and what got the best reactions. Is there a secret formula to this that you are holding back with us on? If there is, I sure could use it! :)

    • Chris Brogan

      The easier way to figure it out is to know who you’re hoping to attract as a buyer. Before you have a sense of who you want to buy, it doesn’t matter. Just entertain and inform. Some of your crowd will find you. : )

  • Drew Griffin

    I know when you say ‘Magazine’ you mean content. This post directly correlates with one of my businesses. Literally, I launched a digital magazine on Newsstand for iPad. Its my chosen tool.

    Despite the tool, your message resonates because it really should be about the message, the story and the audience. The intrinsic struggle, at least for me, is our love affairs with our projects coupled with content creation/curation (Editorial Schedule). Ironically, the content for the community is the lure and reason to publish in the first place.

    Remaining enchanted (hungry), we feed ourselves by satiating our audience first.

    Thanks for the outline and map. Perhaps even though I struggle with the editorial calendar, its something else…procrastination? ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder?) Time to get back to work.

    • Chris Brogan

      Drew – exactly. It’s more about the content, but yes, it applies to a magazine, digital or otherwise. : )

  • Tania Dakka

    I have a few choice words for you, sir. :D I LOVE THIS. You stink and I’ll explain why another time. As always, and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, you rock and so do your words. Thanks for an awesome pov!

    Sincerely yours,
    Green :p

    • Chris Brogan

      Thank you, Tania. Glad it worked for you.

  • Owen Marcus


    You said so much better what I was telling my partner that I’m I’m pissed. I’m slowly reading your book going YES ever few pages as it adds clarity to what I know or need to know.

    This post nails the essences of what it takes to be successful today on the Internet. It’s a big task, but with your clarity doable.

    I will continue to be piss as I share the post with others.


    • Chris Brogan

      Sorry to keep pissing you off. : )

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  • Bobbi Klein

    I love how you said that it is the right “mix” that sells. Trying to apply that to my site and help it grow to be something bigger. The right content is key plus a solid network and it will take off. Thanks for always keeping me thinking ahead Chris!

    • Chris Brogan

      Excellent! :)

  • ChadMillerBlog

    This approach is helping me to better prepare my content on purpose. My material is scattered all over the board, usually prepared in haste.
    The magazine approach, I believe, can help propel my vision to the next level.
    Thanks for always providing great insight and fostering new thoughts.

    • Chris Brogan

      Happy to help. : )

  • Cision NA

    Hi Chris!

    Great analogy, it really rang true to me. The magazine approach is ironic, considering we have seen the ‘print is dead’ headlines for years, but I think your theory proves that a medium may change, but it doesn’t mean that content will go away. We have more platforms than ever now and more ways to send content. Looking at successful models for content – such as magazines – is a good way to lay the foundation for any content model, no matter if they’re online or off.

    “Sorry I haven’t Written Lately” is my favorite point. Incredibly true in the online world (I’m guilty!) but in print, you’re right, you never see that. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard to expect a faithful audience, and rightfully so.

    Thank you for sharing!


    • Chris Brogan

      Every time you see the “print is dead” headline, walk to Barnes & Noble or any old newsstand. For “dead,” there’s tons of it. Is it wounded? yes.

      Glad to hear it. :)

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  • Cathy Tibbles

    Re: the mix of content, each post is not a mix, is it? It is that the blog in a whole is the right mix?

    Another q – do you think you can re-publish content through various channels? For example, I love print newsletters – my audience likes online, but some like blogs. If I did an online newsletter (4 page or so) and then could I also re-post verbatim the features on the blog?

    • Chris Brogan

      No, I think each post shouldn’t be a mix. Unless you’ve got a potpourri premise.

      As for q2, you *can* and mainstream media does it, but what it’s saying to your audience is that you only have limited content and you should pick only one channel to tune into. If people get a different experience via different media, then they will tune in to the larger collective. Make sense? Meaning, if I know that your FB, your blog, and your NL will give me all the same stuff, I’ll pick whichever one I want. Great, until you decide to stop posting at one of those places and lose me, or you get banned, or whatever.

  • Roshan Perera

    This is a brilliant approach. Not sure if this would work for everyone. But it certainly works for me. Although figuring out the mission is a little bit hard for me because I have a blog with multiple categories. So it’s not easy to target a certain crowd. But still it’s a valid approach.

    • Chris Brogan

      So first question: why multiple categories? Because you have lots of interests? Fine. Figure out the larger vector OR don’t post them all.

      • Roshan Perera

        It’s a tech blog. I was hoping to reach a bigger crowd. Then I realized that It was a bad idea. Do you think I should focus on one topic ?

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Identifying a
    need and supplying a solution for it is the first thing entrepreneurs need to
    do to be successful. Magazine approach for business is a brilliant idea
    although I have just realized the same. Thanks Chris.

    • Chris Brogan

      We agree. : )

  • Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    “Strong ideas, simply presented.”

    This is a theme Carl Ally stands on. His ad agency is the one who introduced Fed-Ex and the strong and simple to understand idea of “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” to the world.

    I believe that magazines are so pressed for headline space that they are forced to live and die by “Strong Ideas, Simply Presented” if they want to stay in business.

    It just so happens that if you’re a content creator for a blog, it serves you best for your headlines to be compelling yet tight enough to serve your SEO needs.

    So with this being the case, it seems to me that stalking the cover pages of magazines and modeling their headline style is also in the blogger’s best interest.

    • Chris Brogan

      You’d be right. I stole that idea a few years back from Brian Clark at Copyblogger. My headlines stink, but when I remember to try, I use magazines as my guideposts.

  • AL Spaulding

    Hey Chris.
    As usual the gems you drop are key towards success with your business online. It seems every time I have a question in regards to my exposure online all I have to do is come and do a search on your site and I find it.

    Much appreciated… I truly mean that. “magazine style.” hmmm

  • Bill Saragosa

    Nice timely prompt there Chris! Lots of important nuggets. I am going to slowly digest what you wrote here and consider what it means for me. Am enjoying Impact Equation and I am also letting that soak in to affect my own Here an Now.

    Thanks for sharing Ideas and Inspiration so generously.

  • injections

    It’s better when they do. But they are there for them. They want something they can use, or at the least, they want to be interested. Where do you invest online? Why? What do you get from it? Turn that for the industry you provide and create something of use to these individuals.

  • injections

    t’s better when they do. But they are there for them. They want something they can use, or at the least, they want to be interested. Where do you invest online? Why? What do you get from it? Turn that for the industry you provide and create something of use to these individuals.

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  • Susan Jones @ ReadySetStartup

    Chris I totally agree with your approach here and it is what I am evolving to on my blog. What I’m finding hard though is editorial planning and scheduling. Can you suggest any good resources to help with editorial calendars and scheduling?

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  • Amy Hagerup

    Loved your analogy to magazine writing. I think I will take the editorial calendar idea and run with it. Thanks for the tips.

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  • Callie Durbrow

    Great post Chris. I especially like your point about being “sorry they haven’t written.” It’s so true and I think we’ve all been guilty of it. I just picked up The Impact Equation and I can’t wait to dive in.

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