And I’m back. As you can potentially imagine, I’m writing all of these in a row. It’s a lot of non anime content for me. I’m finding it surprisingly challenging.
So what do we blog about? Yeah…yeah. I know I blog about anime, wise guy! That’s not what I mean and you know it. At least you do if you’ve read my intro post for this series. Cough over here cough. Oh man, sorry. Had something in my throat there.
So today, I’m trying to figure out “what” exactly the WordPress anime community publishes. Despite the fact that most people declare writing about whatever wakes their muse, we do end up with general post formats that come back fairly frequently. In my experience, hobby anime bloggers stick to a few tried and true post identities.
By far the most common seem to be the reviews. Pretty self-explanatory title. And of those, seasonal episode, first impressions and/or wrap up reviews are generally more frequent than full series reviews. This makes perfect sense as watching entire series when it’s in no way part of your job, simply takes a bit of time so you won’t be able to post as frequently.
The second types of posts I see are opinion pieces or essays centered around general anime themes. These are also pretty easy to find. Groups like OWLS for instance are specifically dedicated to these types of posts and you have a few bloggers that also write exclusively in that format.
A similar but not entirely identical offshoot of that is the diary post. Some bloggers will take a basic anime theme and use it as a jump off point to write about something that’s happening in their own lives. I would say these are a bit rarer. There are people that use blogging as a form of therapy and as such, writing about personal experience is an inherent part of their blogs.
Surprisingly few blogs follow anime news. Only a couple come to mind. They do tend to be fairly active though.
Finally there are an assortment of different post types that usually fill out a blogging schedule but I’ve rarely seen them as the primary material for a blog. A lot of bloggers will have occasional haul (merch) or travel posts. I’ve grouped them together because they tend to be photography posts really. You have a lot of pictures and you talk about them. Many bloggers also have regular top list features. The Spooky Redhead used to specialize in those but I haven’t seen her in a while. Then you’ll have very occasional tag and creative posts (poetry or short stories). These tend to be sporadic and WordPress may not be the best place for artistic endeavors.
I think that covers what we tend to publish for the most part. So how does it stack up against professional blogs?
Well much like us, professional anime blogs tend to center on reviews and more specifically currently/recently airing anime reviews often episodic. However the rest diverges with a large amount of posts being dedicated to news while the rest tend to be easily digestible listicles. Essays are fairly rare and generally tend to be editorials.
This makes perfect sense when you think about it. Most amateurs don’t really have the means to obtain any real news and are reliant on professional sites for their information. General News outlets for their part are unlikely to dedicate much if any time on what is happening in the anime industry. This gives professional anime blogs a monopoly on this type of content and it’s a smart move to exploit it.
For the rest, a blog created for profit has view count as a primary goal. This means broad appeal and search engine visibility. Anime fans are most likely to be looking for information on the latest shows so that’s what you want to concentrate on. And episode reviews are an easy and endlessly renewable source of material for daily content.
As for top lists, these allow you to include any interesting or even click baity tag and provide the sort of article most people will be psychologically inclined to at least skim to see how number one is whether they are actually interested or not. This is a sort of artificial engagement that works in the site’s favor.
If you are choosing content from a business standpoint, news, reviews and lists are pretty safe bets. They are unlikely to alienate your audience and create the sort of reader behavior you’re looking for.
So how about non anime hobby blogs. A very quick look around Blogger and WordPress let me pick up on certain trends. Once again, reviews are king. Every sort of entertainment, establishment and product has at least a dozen reviews out there. Heck, even retailer or aggregate sites like MAL or Amazon could count as collaborative review blogs.
But the main post types that seemed quite prevalent out there but completely underrepresented in anime blogs are The Self Help articles and the Instruction posts. Self help is still a big trend. I’m not talking just the classic motivational speaker types that try to sell you a seminar. 5 ways to become a better happier you!
The new wave of self care, wellness or healing blogs are more personal. They share the authors’ journey to improvement in the hopes of helping others. They’re cheery and optimistic collections of quotes. They are YouTube Vloggers that also have a blog. You can have people trying to make the world better through just about every means from religion and spirituality, to diet to politics. Even posts that come of angry or divisive, calling for traditional values and stripping away rights or identity of particular groups somewhat fall into this category.
They are all trying to improve the world or help others in accordance with their own experiences and beliefs. Whether you agree or not is another question.
As for the instructional. These are the huge amount of articles that teach you how to do something. From everyday tasks, to troubleshooting, makeup tutorials, recipes or even game walkthroughs. One of the greatest achievements of the internet is this fluid sharing of skills and knowledge.
These last two seem all but nonexistent in our anime blog realm. Although I could see some type of self-improvement through anime concept (not sure how much staying power it would have though) I am completely at a loss as to incorporating how to posts with our theme.
So what, if anything does this tell us. For one, reviews are plentiful because there’s a market for them. Essays are a fairly unique feature of our blogs but can be risky and hit or miss. There is an avid audience for fun instructional posts though, so if we can figure out how to create those, it could be a great new direction for anime bloggers. All and all, there is still some individuality in our realm and that’s good to know.
Do you have a genius new type of post in mind? Tell me about it in the comments. I won’t tell anyone!!!