Mad Libs and Magazines: Inspiration for Blog Posts

As you are building your online business you’ll produce an amazing amount of content: blog posts, Tweets, Facebook status updates, ebooks, video scripts, program materials, sales copy, the list goes on and on.

Here’s a trick for coming up with blog post topics for your editorial calendar.

You can also try this tactic when inspiration isn’t striking and you need a quick blog post topic.

Content Strategy Tip: Pick up a stack of magazines and use their cover lines to create fill-in-the-blank formulas, like Mad Libs, to spark post ideas.

Here are a few examples to get you started.

Cover line:
The Novelist’s Survival Kit (from Writer’s Digest)

Mad Libs style fill-in-the-blanks template:
The _____ Survival Kit

Twist to fit your niche:
The Weight Loss Survival Kit
The Product Launch Survival Kit
The New Mom Survival Kit
The Solopreneur’s Survival Kit

Cover line:
Story Essentials: What Every Writer Should Know (from Writer’s Digest)

Mad Libs style fill-in-the-blanks template:
_____ Essentials: What Every _____ Should Know

Twist to fit your niche:
Weight Loss Essentials: What Every Woman Should Know
Product Launch Essentials: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know
Breastfeeding Essentials: What Every New Mom Should Know
Outsourcing Essentials: What Every Solopreneur Should Know

Easy, right?

Now, let’s see what you can do. Post a comment with your twist on one of the cover lines above (or an alternative cover line from one of the magazines you have on hand). I’d love to see what you come up with!

p.s. This is a great thing to do while you are waiting for doctor’s appointments, oil changes, etc. There are always magazines on hand and often they are ones you’ve never seen before. Fresh inspiration for your brain.



  1. Very helpful. I will share this with other business owners struggling to come up with topics for their blogs, articles, etc.

    Here are my twists:
    1) The Cubicle Survival Kit
    2) Cube Life Essentials: 10 Things Every Corporate Professional Should Know to Have a Vibrant Cubicle Life (this will be posted asap).

    Another option to use to create your editorial calendar, is create a questionnaire for your customer avatar. Use their answers as topics for your content.

    • christie on at

      Excellent twists Brenda. I love how you expanded #2 to flesh it out even more. Very juicy topic and I know you’ll have a great post to go with it. Great tip, too: creating a questionnaire for your customer avatar. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Julie McMahon on at

    Great idea! I’m often stuck and can stare at the white blank computer screen for a very long time. This is a fun way to get the creative writing juices started AND create content. I was just cracking myself up thinking of the Cosmo magazine cover lines with a twist.

    Here are my twists:
    Birthing Essentials: What Every Mother To Be Should Know
    Hypnobirthing Survival Kit

    I foresee blogging to get easier with this fabulous tip. Thank you!

    • christie on at

      Julie – I love the fashion magazines the most for this exercise. They go so over the top to get attention. Great twists. Now I want to know what is hypnobirthing? There another blog post for you!

  3. Yvette on at

    Christie I absolutely love this tip plus the fact that you gave us clear examples of how to do it. – priceless! Coming up with content is no problem for me, coming up with catchy, edgy titles, well that’s a whole other ball game. So, this tip will help me quite a bit in that area. I’m a magazine junkie so I’ve got a big stack to harvest titles ideas from and a nice excuse to buy some more mags!
    This post is a keeper! xo

    • christie on at

      Yvette – You’ve put your own twist on the whole post by applying the trick to come up with title for the content you already have. Love it!

  4. Mic on at

    Mine: The Drawing Survival Kit, The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Creativity Survival Kit

    Nice!!! Love the simplicity of this exercise. Ok, you will laugh, but I read your post while I was at the doctor’s office yesterday…and soo I took their Architectural Digest and used it for taglines and tweaked it to create my own: Oil Paintings – created to inspire. What’s good about this exercise is it gives you a direction when there’s a feeling of overwhelm. It can be used as a stepping stone to create something totally new.

    • christie on at

      Ha! That’s so great that you were in the doctor’s office and able to take advantage of the exercise. I love the oil change place here in town because they always have magazines I’ve never seen. And The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Creativity Survival Kit….I want to read that post (or ebook!).

  5. Fawn on at

    Christie, fab idea! This should get my editorial calendar filled up.

    My twists:
    E-book Essentials: What every author/solopreneur/marketing team should know
    Brand Identity Survival Kit (oooh, juicy!)

    • christie on at

      Yeah, Fawn! So good to see you here! Both of those are juicy, juicy and so needed. Go write & post!

  6. I so love this strategy. I don’t have to much of a problem with coming up with content, but catchy titles always stump me. I like this – let someone else do the work.

    Here are a few variations from the yoga journals I have handy:

    Strong Body, Open Mind, 9 Recipes to Feel More Alive
    5 Energizing Strategies to Get You Into the Flow of Life
    Surprising Way to Build Energy >>> Slow Down

    How fun. thanks for this.

    • christie on at

      Laurie – I love how you and Yvettte twisted the idea to help you out with creating catchy titles! I want to read “Surprising Ways to Build Energy >>> Slow Down”… slowing down is something I have trouble doing!

      • Christyna on at

        Me too! Slowing down is advice I can get behind.

  7. Jana Martin on at

    This is an absolutely amazing idea. I’ve got the urge to go skimming through my magazine pile! : )

    • christie on at

      HI Jana… go skim through that pile and them let’s hear some ideas for living big, bold.

  8. Oh, Christie! This is fabulous…I have been struggling to get ideas for my editorial calendar past the middle of the year and this will certainly take me through the end of 2012 if not farther! My twists are:

    The Woman Entrepreneur’s Survival Kit for Starting a Business
    Business Essentials: What Every Woman Entrepreneur Should Know

    Thank goodness I haven’t cleared out the magazine basket for quite awhile!

    Jennifer Peek | Start-Up Business Strategist
    Find Your New Groove
    The Freedom to Build Your Business Your Way

    • christie on at

      Jennifer – so glad to help out and your twists are perfect. Can’t wait to read the articles to go with them!

  9. Tina Pruitt on at

    This is so HOT! And I love how you gave the original title, some examples, AND the template! AMAZING TIP!

    The Green Juice Survival Kit
    The Breast Cancer Survival

    Green Juice Essentials: What Every Newbie Should Know
    Breast Cancer Essentials: What Every Newly Diagnosed Woman Should Know

    Thanks many times over!
    xo, Tina

  10. Tiger Willis on at

    If I was to use this title example for my own blog, this would probably be quite redundant “The Survivalist’s Survival Kit” 😀