Magazines and other print publications have been around for a really long time compared to the Internet. It’s also a highly competitive business where profit margins drive a lot (if not everything) of what goes into the covers and in the magazine itself.

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With such stakes at hand, you bet they know how to sell or they’d go bust. So learning from them is truly smart.

In Simon Penson’s post about learning from magazines at Search Engine Watch, he breaks down a magazine cover and and shows us how to spot editorial pillars. These are crucial since these pillars need to be covered in each issue.

He also goes on to reverse engineer the personas – types of people who read the magazine. This area is one that I got the most from.

I’ve long known about writing to a specific person and even learned to envision them in my mind but somehow, it never quite occurred to me to actually jot it down with a picture and have it saved into my Evernote (or printed). Also, for some strange reason, I’ve never created more than one persona for the blogs I write. How silly!

This is something to put into action for sure. I can already see how much it will help coming up with a variety of content.

Finally, this post gave me another action step – visit the local library or bookstore, scope out magazines in or close to my blog topic and try to figure out their editorial pillars as well as targeted personas.