8 Smart Bracket Ideas for Magazines

by Liz Huff Second Street

Cover Photo

Magazines have the unique opportunity to utilize their stunning cover designs for audience engagement. Run a bracket to allow your readers to choose your next cover photo. Whether you run a monthly bracket for the cover of every issue or pick a special issue to highlight a readers’ choice cover, your audience will love the chance to see their favorite delivered in their mailbox. Consider doing a year in review – match your bestsellers head-to-head for the title of Cover of the Year.


Your magazine publishes outstanding content. Engage your audience and repurpose your content in a bracket. Have your readers vote for their favorite stories, interviews, and photos with a bracket. This is a great way to remind your audience of popular content and also collect valuable insight on which content is resonating with your readers.

Local Interests

If your magazine is focused on a specific city or region, a bracket is an ideal way to highlight the great things about your area! Tapping into local passions is a way to tap into every potential reader in your community. Consider a bracket for the Clash of the Neighborhoods, Historical Figure Face-Off, or Battle of the Local Bands.

Food and Drink

Food is a language we all speak. This makes it a mass-appeal theme and a huge win for your magazine. Consider brackets like the Ultimate Backpacking Snacks, Stadium Food Challenge, or even Kid’s Menu Mania. If your magazine is focused on a specific region, tap into the restaurants and establishments in your community with a Battle of the Burgers or Sushi Showdown. St. Louis Magazine drove huge engagement with their Food Fight bracket featuring iconic St. Louis foods.


Product brackets are a great chance to let your readers share their opinion and for you to create content with the results. Use brackets to let your audience vote for their favorite gear, fashion, or lifestyle products. Think Mom Must-Haves Mania, Yoga Gear Showdown, or Battle of the Backpacking Essentials. Enthusiasts are passionate about their favorite gear – tap into that passion!


The holidays make it easy for magazines to incorporate brackets. If your magazine reaches a specific region, create a bracket to feature local holiday lights, fireworks displays, 4th of July celebrations, or Valentine’s heartthrobs.

Enthusiast magazines can tie the holiday into their special interest, with a battle of the best holiday gifts for your niche like Santa’s Workshop Woodshop Must-Haves for a woodworking publisher.

Sports and Athletes

Sports fans are passionate about their favorite players and teams. Enthusiast sports magazines should consider brackets like Top All Star of All Time or Clash of the Quarterbacks.

More regional publications can highlight their local sports with professional and high school teams. Create a bracket featuring mascots or tailgate snacks and use this as valuable reader interest data to repurpose into content in future publications.

Music, Books, Movies, TV

Even if you’re not strictly an entertainment-based publisher, you likely can come up with an entertainment bracket perfect for your readers and your niche. Consider a bracket for summer blockbuster movies, best seller books, 80s sitcoms, scariest villain, sweetest tv mom, etc.

Ready to launch a bracket for your magazine? You can chat with someone from the Success Team 9am-5pm CT Monday-Friday using the chat box in the bottom right corner!

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