Expanding beyond WordPress

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I think this post belongs on Karandi’s blog as it’s 100 word anime that originally made me consider this question. But I m getting ahead of myself.

Some time ago I realized that although the WordPress community is absolutely wonderful and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, it remains for lack of a better word, “limited”. In numbers, not in wonderfulness. For a blog to *keep* growing and getting new readers, sooner or later they have to attract people who are not already on WordPress.

I was reading this very blog (100 word anime) back when I was a wee baby blogger. As I was watching it grow into the 4 digit follower range, I figured Karandi would soon exhaust the amount of WordPress folks interested in anime. Since I knew she was thinking of eventually making a living off this, then she would need to get those readers somewhere else. I started considering myself, how to get followers from some other avenue than the reader app.

This isn’t simply a question of getting your blog out there. I think I’ve spoken enough on SEO and cross-platform promotion. Besides, I was woefully unqualified to do so in the first place. This is more of a question of broad appeal. Once you get new eyeballs your way, how do you keep them coming back?

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just a suggestion

You see, posts about blogging tend to do very well on WordPress because most of us are also bloggers. (Not all but a pretty high percentage). As bloggers, we are of course interested in articles that apply to our hobby and could even potentially help us build a better blog. But to everyone else, those posts are generally uninteresting. Maybe the more talented writers could still make them entertaining enough for the layperson, but I probably wouldn’t have been that interested until I got my own blog.

Then there’s the personal post. These are tricky. They don’t tend to do that well with search words and the like but on the other hand, it can be a big incentive for new readers to follow your blog. Getting a sense of personal connection and a feeling of sincerity goes a long way. The downside is that this tactic tends to be much more effective when your audience can see you, even if it’s just in pictures. Putting a face to the name makes everything seem more concrete and “real”. Of course, you don’t want to overshare. Not only is it risky it may also turn people off. Finally, you need to make sure new readers can at least follow along if this is the first post they read from you but you don’t want to bore your faithful followers by posting the same thing over and over again.

I have also come to notice that our community tends to form its own little echo chamber. We talk among ourselves and read each others’ blogs so we often end up excited about the same shows or disappointed for the same reasons. However, these perceptions may not be in line with what most fans are thinking.

(As a slightly funny side note, I have now been blogging for the equivalent of 7 anime seasons and 6 of which have been declared “the worst” or at least the worst in recent memory. I have to check but I think I have a particularly beloved show in each of those seasons…)

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yeah…this is pertinent

Basically, in order for me to not cap myself on WordPress users, I needed to figure out what other fans out there were talking about and what interested them. I specifically created my Twitter account to interact with readers. I briefly tried following “anime personalities” and accounts to broaden my horizons a bit but found that my readers tweets got completely hurried that way and it degraded the purpose.

I still do get some info that way. When a bunch of mutuals all like the same tweet for instance or when a particular topic gets brought up by a lot of different people. That’s my queue to look into it. I’m usually the last one to know.

Reddit may be the best choice to gauge general Otaku response. And MAL. But it requires a lot of effort. There’s simply so much information there that parsing through it to get an accurate read on what you should be writing about seems like a full-time job. I’ve given up for the time being but I want to get back to it.

The first thing I did when I decided to look into expanding beyond the platform, was to check out the competition. By this, I mean *professional* blogs like Honey, ANN, Crunchyroll, Kotaku and the like… What I found were top 10 lists…Lots and lots of top lists. I’m not trying to talk smack about them, on the contrary, I think it’s a particularly effective format, but it is rather omnipresent.

Tuesday's Top 5
sorry Karandi, it was the most fitting image

***I also publish weekly top 5 lists***

Otherwise what I found was a certain slanted perception of the medium and its fans. A lot of articles were either amateurish or so superficial it left me wondering whether the reporter had really seen the series they were covering. Others were just eager to identify as critics or journalists and NOT part of the anime fan community. Sometimes even showing lightly veiled animosity towards their readership. This tendency annoyed me so much in fact, I wrote an early rant post on the subject which remains one of my favourites.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good anime journalists out there. I once read a wonderful and thought-provoking piece on the Flowers of Evil published on Kotaku. It was clearly written by someone who had both a deep understanding of and love for anime. I don’t know if it says something that that was the last article he wrote there.

At the time I realized that there was a niche for a more informal form of anime adjacent content for the wide public. An editorialist who identifies as a fan. Chronicles of an everyotaku if you will. I was so excited about the idea. I even had this vague concept of a weekly diary blog series, highlighting the events of my life from an animecentric point of view. I might still do it, mind you.

However, I’m not smart enough to have discovered something no one else has. If the niche really existed, someone would have filled it by now. Still, I can’t help but think there’s an audience for this type of content, I just haven’t figured out the proper format yet.

idiot
don’t get me wrong, I’m still a genius

Now that I’ve been blogging for a while, I have come to see that episode reviews get a huge amount of off WP views. However, I have the sneaking suspicion a lot of them may be trying to watch the episode online. Otherwise, character studies are pretty good for drawing the general public on my blog but do poorly with WordPress readers. It’s a bit of a balancing act.

I’m not yet at a point where I need to reach beyond the BBB WordPress boundaries. However, it pays to be prepared and I would like to find a way to do that without alienating current readers. For those of you who are bloggers, do you have any suggestions? Has anything worked for you?

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

May 2019 OWLS Post – Finding Happiness In and Out of Your Comfort Zone

OWLS Image

Hi everyone. Sorry it has been a couple of months since I’ve had a go at an OWLS post but I decided to definitely get back to it in May and then, once I saw the prompt for May I knew I had to write something for this one. Let’s get into it.

Happiness is subjective. We all have different definitions of what happiness means to us and we also feel happiness in varying degrees. This month we will be exploring several questions describing our happiness in our fandoms, communities, and hobbies. Why do we find enjoyment watching anime or reading manga? Why did we decide to join the anime or pop culture communities?  Why do we blog about our hobbies or cosplay as our favorite characters? This topic is all about the passions we have for our interests and why they are important to us.

OWLS Theme for May
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Finding Happiness In And Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When I read this prompt the first thing I was reminded of was Prince from Run With The Wind and while I’ll get to my own experiences in a little bit, I’d like to examine his character first the journey he went on throughout the series.

Run With The Wind Episode 7 Prince

Prince has a clear comfort zone at the beginning of the series. His room in the apartment is floor to ceiling stacked with his manga and he is most comfortable when his nose is stuck inside one of those volumes absorbing the story and the characters within it. While superficially this might seem like a story about getting the loner out of his room and exercising, what we see instead is Prince connecting the new experiences he has with his experiences within stories and blending the two in a way that few anime or stories dare.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Prince

Ultimately, his passion for manga is still burning fiercely at the end of the series. He hasn’t moved on from it, grown up, found a new love that surpasses the old. While the manga is visually less prevalent in later episodes, in case there was any doubt that the message here was about embracing multiple experiences, Prince’s passionate speech to Haiji about the great characters who could inspire him makes it clear that Prince’s head is firmly still with his beloved manga and the characters he has formed attachments to.

Run With The Wind Episode 19 - Prince

Equally though, he tells Haiji at the end that he’s had fun with running the race and its truly the first time Prince acknowledges what the audience has seen in the second half of the series, Prince has embraced the team and the new hobby without compromising on his first love.

Run With The Wind Episode 23 - Prince

I bring up Prince because he’s a truly wonderful example that it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. I am an anime fan and also a fan of gaming, a fairly new fan of light novels, a much older fan of novels and movies, but I also enjoy hiking, travel, and anything that involves eating chocolate. As such, I don’t define myself solely through one fandom or another and nor do I allow one fandom to prevent me pursuing new avenues should something take my fancy.

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NENDOROID NO. 1113 THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO: SHIELD HERO

One of the many things I love about anime is that it is squarely in my comfort zone. It is largely an individual hobby, though there is a thriving online community I can interact with, largely activities involve being indoors, and anime, despite having some interesting variations and themes, essentially follows the same basic rules and structures of narratives that I love from movies, books and other TV shows. Slipping into the anime fandom was easy, getting hooked even easier, and staying within the fandom is very comfortable.

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There’s a genuine happiness that comes from finding a new anime and falling in love with it, watching a terrible anime and pulling it apart, watching an anime with a friend and cringing when you realise that they are about to do something that as an anime fan you are very used to but you are about to get asked to explain by someone less familiar with it. There’s happiness to be found when you finish an anime, whether it was better or worse than you expected and there’s true joy in the anticipation of a new season even if it doesn’t end up panning out. Then there’s the happiness of connecting with others who equally love what you love, collecting figures, books or other merchandise of characters you’ve truly come to care for, and ultimately owning the shiny DVD’s of a series that you will binge again and again.

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However, anime also takes me out of my comfort zone in ways I’ve learned to love and appreciate.

Five years ago I would have said I was never going to watch harem based shows. Now I routinely have these in my list of anime watched for the year, though more reverse harems.

Three years ago I would have said I wouldn’t watch sports based shows. Now I’ve got quite the catalogue of sports anime that I’ve finished and I’ve had in depth conversations with a friend who coaches volleyball around a game we were watching because having watched Haikyu I actually know what is going on now other than the ball goes over the net.

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There are so many anime in so many different genres that I never thought I would try that I’m now loving each and every season.

Two years ago I started reading light novels and some manga. I’ve since had to once again reorganise my shelves in order to find space for the next volumes of Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash and of course Natsume’s Book of Friends. The collections are growing as quickly as I can buy them and yet my shelf space is limited and I already have quite the library of novels that I’ve been accumulating since I was a pre-teen.

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I don’t actually dislike e-books, but there’s something truly magical about opening a new volume and the feel and smell of the paper.

In the last couple of years I’ve been to two conventions (which given where I live is quite the venture) and spent the weekend surrounded by hundreds of people. For me that is an intense and overwhelming experience and yet because everyone there was embracing the fandoms and a love of the same kinds of movies and anime that I love both were incredibly rewarding experiences.

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Even on this last trip to Japan I made a note of a few things I particularly wanted to find and managed to even ask at shops for certain items or shows to see what they had in relation to them, though my tongue tried to glue itself to the roof of my mouth before hand as I freaked out about whether I’d be understood or not.

All of these things bring me happiness even as they push me further beyond what I thought was my comfort zone and I try things I may never have given a chance and interact with people I might never have had any reason to speak with, because of the happiness and joy I’ve found in anime.

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here’s no one reason why I love anime, but because of my love of anime, my life is filled almost daily with small pieces of happiness. For as long as I keep finding those moments of happiness I will continue to love anime. How about you?Be sure to catch Jack’s post on the Aniwriter and next up in the tour is Naja on the 13th.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James