I never realized my little tip would be controversial :o . :wink: I've been looking to offline examples (as well as online examples) for so long, I've forgotten about the offline-online debate.
While it is true that reading on screen, whether on web pages, emails, ebooks, or whatever else comes down the pipe, requires a somewhat different way of writing -- shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences, and so forth -- there are really a lot more similarities than you'd think, particularly when you look at "popular" types of magazines. [Scholarly and real specialty niche magazines can be a whole other thing and aren't always good examples.]
Keep in mind that ALL of the long established "gurus" advocate looking to "print" examples, and not just print but VERY old print models.
Now, here's a couple of things you will find if go off and pick up one of those popular magazines (go on, do it now :wink: )...
There are all different kinds of lengths to the pieces of writing, anything from single paragraph topical blurbs and fillers to multi-page special features, and all kinds of styles. Any kind of writing you could imagine, there's an example for it.
Take a look at how the information is presented. Too many article writers online write as if they are writing high school essays (introduction, three to six paragraphs, and a conclusion). Print magazines do not read like school essays, not usually anyway.
Now, go to one of the really huge online authority sites that regularly produce columns or articles, and have lots of respected, expert contributing authors. (I'm thinking of places like ClickZ.com, not places that just reprint print material...) Anyways, compare those articles to print magazine ones. (And compare to some of the typical articles produced by article marketers...)
Here's a couple of things you will find. Both online and offline quality articles make every word count. No fluff. Interesting facts. Quotes from people. Topical references. (There's real meat on them there bones.) Well written. Engaging.
Now, think about the articles that webmasters will just snatch up to reprint. It's articles like that. Most of the time, though, those great articles are "exclusive" and there is no reprinting allowed. Whenever it is allowed, though, webmasters just grab them. Because they are good! If you write articles aiming for that kind of quality, your article will produce so much more marketing value for you.
There's another reason to look at offline magazines. The way articles are structured is an amazing education. The ways they get readers engaged right from the first sentence is worth learning from. A lot more than you would expect is based in "story telling." (Hmmm. That sounds a lot like some sales copywriter's advice... ). You'll be into the second paragraph before you even realize it. And then the third. And the fourth. Online, that leads to the click through!
There are also other structures done better than online (usually), the "X Tips For Something" type of article being a perfect example. That one is in just about every second print magazine.
Anyways, I think I need my morning coffee, so I'll stop now. :wink: