How to Quickly Establish Yourself as an Editorial Anime Blogger

link to Oguie Maniax

link to Mono no aware

link to 2-D Teleidoscope

link to We Remember Love

Introduction, by Impz:

The needs and attraction of an editorial blog is quite different from the typical episodic blog. It is not about speed or quantity, but it really the quality that oozes when you write. ghostlightning, our guest blogger, did rise above the many anime blogs that remain obscure, and now has a decent following on the anime blogosphere.

If there is anyone who can probably give some advice to the aspiring editorial blogger, he should be more than qualified to give some pointers on how an editorial blog should start. In my opinion, the hardest thing to do in a blog is to start it, and then maintain it.

I present to you ghostlightning, our editorialist in residence who I’m counting on to give you some strong advice on the pitfalls that he has experienced, and how he will spend his first three months if he was to start all over again.

Thank you for the confidence, boss. I won’t cover all the fundamentals here, as there’s a wealth of advice out there that you can research on. I will mention some in brief:

Develop a point of view that’s easily identifiable as yours

Note that I am not saying that you be unique or original. It is very difficult to achieve both, but what’s important early on is however you communicate your opinion, it is something that can easily be attributed to you. A shortcut to this is to establish your biases and put them at the forefront.

You can hate moe, or love it to pieces. You can be very enthusiastic about a particular genre or franchise, or have a particular dislike for it. These are all shortcuts, and I don’t advise them. At this point to merely be for or against these things are already generic points of view themselves. You must have something to say about this that is very true and important to you.

In my case, I founded my blogging on two things:

  1. A festive appreciation of vintage anime, particularly the Macross franchise.
  2. A willingness to go into the bones of particular themes: (in)authenticity, then pleasure and guilt.

The subjects that are areas of my interest are often explored in the context of the foundations above. This is all I’ll say for now regarding editorial content. Anything goes really, as long as you communicate it clearly and interestingly. This will make up your brand of blogging beyond your brand as an anime fan.

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Editorial Anime Blogging is a Community Exercise

It takes a special kind of anime fan to care about editorials about anime. Often, these people also have their own opinions and points of view, and if you’re interesting enough they will engage you in discussion. The best examples of these are other anime bloggers. They are outspoken and have an point of view they enjoy sharing. The will be a big part of your readership no matter how you look at it and no matter what you do.

In my experience in WRL, most of my commenters are other bloggers. Some of them who do not have blogs when they start commenting on my site eventually started writing blog posts themselves. If I have 1300 page views a day, about 300-500 on a post on its first week of publication, and under 300 subscribers (Google Reader) I still only get 5-20 unique commenters on any given post (sometimes I get lucky and get 40+ unique commenters but this is rare).

Regular commenters will often be people who enjoy discussion, and often these are people who make anime blogs. I took great pains to be hospitable to commenters, and this gave me a very gratifying experience as a blogger.

Impz: What is the one ugly thing you did that you knew made your blog more popular?

I begged people directly. When I published my first post, I went to other peoples’ blogs and commented this way [the gist]:

Hi I’m ghostlightning and I’ve been reading your blog for some time. I think it’s really great and you’ve inspired me to make my own. I made my first post today and feel free to drop by to read my first post.

Even if I had been lurking at their site and have been commenting there fairly regularly, I still felt embarrassed. In hindsight, I would have done the same but I would never do this now. The people who responded to my request and commented on my post – they are very good, insightful respondents – gave my post some credibility, which accelerated the eventual getting linked to, reacted to, and quoted by other anime blogs in the context of making new content.

Now let us put all this into an actionable method. This is something you can really do.

The Three Month Plan

If I were to start from scratch, assume a different internet name and persona, and set up an editorial anime blog again, this is almost exactly how I’d do it.

The primary assumption: I have been reading (lurking in) anime blogs for at least three months, ideally six. This time frame allows me to have sampled a wide range of active anime blogs, and perhaps even some of the inactive ones.

Month One

Start commenting, everywhere, as much as you can. A big team blog such as T.H.A.T. is a great place to comment in because there is a built-in community of commenters already, and the post frequency due to the multiple authors makes it very convenient to establish relationships. Each comment you leave here builds you capital to potentially all the authors of the blog. For even better results, comment on Sea Slugs! Anime Blog. I will explain later.

The game is to establish relationships. Ideally, your comments actually contribute to the discussion. Work hard at this. Just leaving fawning comments is no good. It isn’t easy, but a good comment forwards the conversation, and gives the post author something to think about and consider. Hard mode: comment on other people’s comments. It is very gratifying to be a post author and see how commenters are having fun by themselves in a discussion presented and initiated by the blog post.

Put up a twitter account and start following bloggers whose blogs you frequent. This twitter account will help you keep up with their posting schedule, their interests outside of what they mention in their posts. This is also what you’ll use to broadcast your posts to your first reader base when you finally start publishing.

While this is going on, start writing posts. DO NOT PUBLISH anything yet.  Your objective is to compile 20 post drafts. This will last you two months at a publishing rate of twice a week. This rate is a reasonable publishing schedule. When you become very busy with other concerns, this won’t be prohibitive to maintain.

The content of these posts must be able to introduce your tastes, your point of view, and your preoccupation.

Within the context of the preceding, write some of your posts as a reaction to particular articles of bloggers you read. Link multiple posts by different bloggers to the post you write. Of course, your post must be relevant enough to link to these. Sometimes, the older the post you link to, the better. There are few things more gratifying to a post author than to have an old post still generate conversation. Remember, do not publish anything yet.

Month Two

By the beginning of month two, you want to have accomplished the following:

  • 20 written blog post drafts.
  • A twitter account with at least 50 followers (at least 25 must be other bloggers). Follow 50-100 anime fans, half of which could be bloggers themselves in various states of activity.
  • A My Anime List account where people can check out how your taste in shows are similar to theirs. If you like the same shows they may want to discuss things with you. Sometimes this leads to blog visits and comments.
  • A blog name.
  • A blog service provider account. Let us assume you are not savvy at programming or design. In this case I recommend WordPress.com.

Now, set up your blog. Pick your layout and learn your editing window. Write your about page. Build your first blog roll and include the blogs you admire. Transfer your drafts into the blog so you can begin editing online.

Publish your first post. This is then supported by:

  • A twitter announcement.
  • Announcement in the forums you frequent (I barely frequent forums, so this doesn’t quite work for me).
  • Comment on the latest posts of the bloggers you want to comment on your first post. Announce that you’ve just started a blog, and that they’re bloggers who you enjoy discussing things with and request them to give you the honor of visiting your site so you can return the hospitality they’ve given you at theirs. BAM, THAT’S HOW TO ASK WITH CLASS (when I begged coburn, Iknight, and Lbrevis, to comment on my very first post I don’t think I had very much by way of class LOL).

Respond to every comment religiously. Make people welcome at your blog. This will pay dividends later, I promise.

Do this for your first 10 posts this month. If your content is varied enough, you’ll be able to solicit different bloggers to comment on your posts. If you’re lucky, the regular commenters on their blogs pay you a visit as well.

Now at this point, all your readers are practically other bloggers, and maybe some forum regulars (most likely your internet friends). This is how it works, don’t feel bad about this, there is no way for you to reach a wider audience yet. It will take a long time to eventually get a wide readership, but you will get conversations going if your articles are engaging, and your responses to commenters are interesting and makes them want to keep talking to you.

Month Three

Set up an account at Anime Nano. This will be the source of your blog’s freshest page views. Since you’ve published 10 posts and have been doing so for at least a month. You should be able to get in with no complications. If you have been commenting on Sea Slugs! and banter with @Kabitzin on twitter, any problems (technical &c) you may encounter in the application process will get better attention.

Within this month, given your work building relationships (farming comments) you will give your blog a shot at getting established. Remember you still have a full month’s worth of posts on your publishing queue so you’re not in a lot of pressure to write.

I don't have to write anything until I feel like it, which ends up being on or two days in a week. Thing is, I don't get feel pressured to produce and sustain the blog under 'duress' anymore.

However, at this point you start managing your relationships in such a way that the other bloggers whose posts you regularly comment on don’t feel bad when you start commenting less and less. It can and does happen. You will have to balance your time watching anime and reading manga, reading blog posts and discussion in them, then making your own content. If you look at any particular blog’s links – you will notice that the writers of the blog don’t comment on every blog in the roll.

What you don’t do is stop commenting entirely. Sometimes making content and responding to comments will take up almost all your time for this hobby, but this won’t happen yet, not on your 2nd month of blogging and your 3rd month of this plan.

If you write your posts well enough, and say enough interesting things, someone with social capital will eventually Stumble your post, re-tweet your post announcement or share your links on twitter, and/or share your post on Google Reader Shared Items. When these things start happening for you more than once, chances are people will start linking to your posts, quoting what you say, and reacting to your writing all in the context of generating new discussion that makes this hobby as fun the way I know it to be.

Keep in mind that this plan will only establish you — in a way that says you exist, and post regularly. Your first readership (other bloggers) while nice, will eventually stop responding because they will know you pretty well and find other ways to discuss things with you. You will need to attract new readers, and I don’t think there’s a quick and easy way to do this. It’s really up to your ability to make interesting posts that readers would want to subscribe to your feed, and respond to your posts with comments.

Further Reading

Lessons I learned after one year of blogging.
Advice from assorted anime bloggers, rounded up by T.H.A.T.’s own EO.
This entry was posted in Editorial, Editorials and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

90 Comments

  1. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    I wish there were some sort of guide like this when I had started. Ah well, this seems a little too simple. Now I need to get back to trying to establish myself as an editorial anime blogger after 20 months.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      It needs to be simple to be effective. Remember, this plan will only establish you — in a way that says you exist, and post regularly. I have advanced tricks, but to reveal them here would be revealing too much I think ^_~

      But keep in mind that I don’t believe in short cuts. This method requires you to work hard.

      For your blog to catch on, you need to provide consistent, value-filled content that readers will find interesting.

      • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        …Wait, no wonder I’m still stuck at looking at 200 hits a day on a good day.

        I’m never interesting.

        • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          You get 200 hits on a good day never being interesting? That number would be my 2nd highest total. So if you aren’t interesting, I must be the most dull person here.

          • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

            For both of you, work on your blog post titles.

            Then aggressively label images.

            Remember, editorials don’t get a lot of aggregation hits on the day a post goes live. You need to rely on google for fans to reach your post. I really play the numbers:

            of the 100 page views an older post gets from image searches in a month, 10 will read the post; 1 will like it enough to read others.

            So in a year, maybe that post will generate 1 subscriber and/or one commenter. If you have 200 posts in your archive, you increase your chances 200 fold. Labeling images aggressively can make a difference.

          • Posted June 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            To further stomp on Drm’s blogger esteem: He’s been in business two years longer than you have bro. AHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA.

            Well okay, I can get to around 400ish when publishing, 250 otherwise. Compared to other bloggers who started around 2007 it’s a rather poor track record so I’m not in the position to talk really. It started improving once I stopped trying to be an editorial blogger though. Gee, I wonder why.

  2. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    So, about stylizing your blog, do you need knowledge of CCS, the use of Photoshop and all to create a unique blog of your own? Too bad I have neither of them.

    Great advice for most of us here, especially me. I was thinking of creating a blog on my own for some time now.

    Too bad I’m a sucker at finding people following my Twitter account. Need moar people!

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      I have none of those skills as well. However, since I networked well, good people have volunteered to consult and sometimes outright make banners and images for WRL. These are other bloggers who are regular readers and sometime commenters.

      If I were more confident with my schedule, and my ability to administrate (and design) a website, I’d leave wordpress.com and self-host. But right now, it’s the best deal for me.

    • Impz
      Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Aye, I will say that depending on people is good, but in the admin part of work, it is actually very good if you have either photoshop or CSS skills. Both of them are essential and will be useful for other purposes too. For me, I am still quite lacking in CSS skills (when the website shows funny script, it is due to bad recognition of CSS from me) but I think my photoshop skills and brushing are pretty decent (look banner).

  3. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    …And don’t piss off the blog aggregator owner.

    It’s a one-way ticket into obscurity.

    PS: I’ve also been going at it for 4 years. But not as an editorialist. I do pretty much anything and everything, according to whim and fancy. Then again, no one ever has had the quiet shame of being purged from AnimeNano. I think I’m the only one.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Start over, if you really want more out of your blogging hobby. Use a different name. But don’t use phantomflash, and bansheeelectro, or spectrebolt. Those are taken~

      • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        But I kinda like keeping my old blog.

        Starting afresh would probably be for the best, but I’ve toyed with the idea for a while and I can’t seem to find a good way to do so.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I know that Sankaku guy got purged, so cheer up you’re in good company.

      • Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        Artefact got purged for obvious reasons.

        I don’t even friggen know why I got purged.

  4. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    So I hear you’ve got a book deal in the works. :3

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      Yeah, my agent told me Akellard (an imprint of Houghton Miffin) is offering me a fat advance. I’m inclined to sign~

      • Posted June 9, 2010 at 5:01 am | Permalink

        BOOK DEAL?

        I thought he got a TV pilot, a movie deal AND his own line of waterbottles! Not to mention Dan Abnett writing his biography.

  5. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I’ve said this to you before, but the ability to keep 20 drafts sitting around without anyone reading them for a few months boggles my mind. I think I managed it once during the 12 days thing, but otherwise the call sheet goes straight from proof-read to publish. Episodic blogging eh~

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      It will be easy if you don’t have a blog up yet. There’s no publish button to press. That’s why in the plan I didn’t put blog-setup until end of month one.

      Since I have a regular publishing schedule I can’t really generate a queue of more than a dozen posts. I gave myself a head start November-December 2009 when I didn’t post anything for a whole month. I just wrote and wrote while promising myself that I will never feel pressured to write ever again.

      Blogging can be work, but I like it best when it’s on lollerskates.

      Editorial subjects are less time-bound, so there’s more elbow room to work with. And btw, if not for the queue I prepared for WRL, I wouldn’t be able to give Impz articles like this to satisfy his whims lol.

      • Impz
        Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Satisfy my whims? You must be joking. You make it sound like I force you with a gun and made you write it….wait.

        • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          More like bondage paraphernalia hidden under your skirts… wait

          • Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:59 am | Permalink

            The answer is that we all want a go with impz. :3c

  6. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    This is actually quite resourceful and interesting, quite applicable to any sort of blog.
    And just by reading it, hard work and dedication is highly evident.

    Makes me appreciate the effort placed in these largely well known blogs once more ^^

    As for the 20 drafts, one thing that crossed my mind is that what happens when that by the time you do post it on your blog, your views have changed xD
    but its a draft yea? heh.

    Thanks again for this nice post.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Thanks!

      Over 2 months, it’s unlikely for your opinions to change dramatically. Also, writing 20 drafts will curb your impulse to write overlong posts — something I tend to do often. Post length is a matter of preference, but what I talk about here is the ambition of your posts.

      You will sometimes, especially at first, outdo all available writing say, on Evangelion. You have the knowledge and intimacy and passion, so you believe you can do it.

      You can, but after writing that one draft you will be burnt out.

      The 20 draft goal will keep you sharp and tight. When you have 20, you have 2 months to come up with something epic.

      • Posted June 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        hmm, sounds like investment banking or something xD
        but quite true with the burning out…
        will take the advice though. thanks again.

        • Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          LOL the plan is rather hardcore, but I believe in it. It can be of use to you if you value the same things as I do — lots of discussion.

  7. Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Well, reading through this post and Impz’s previous post, I think I can truly say that I’m glad I never went into anime blogging of any sort. Better leave the work to those who are not only well-equipped for the task, but also have the time to do so.

    (By the way… I need five new poems by tomorrow for Dr. Marj’s class, but haven’t even finished one blasted sonnet. I hate my life.)

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      LOL that’s tough. Take nursery rhymes and replace the nouns with penis. If you can make the nursery rhymes run in a single narrative continuity (like CLAMP), all the better.

      The three moth plan is hard work because there is ambition in it.

      Some of the not very popular blogs are actually my favorites:

      http://guriguriblog.wordpress.com/general-editorials-2/
      http://animekritik.wordpress.com/
      http://gargarstegosaurus.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/anime-it-makes-you-learn/

      just to name three.

      • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        You know what’s funny? I’m actually finding doing regular entries on my personal blog easier than writing poetry, which is something I’m actually trained (by virtue of my major) to do. Even then, I’m under no obligation to even post daily, it’s just that it’s sort of become a writing exercise for me, to get back into a sort of groove after several years of creative inactivity.

        That said, while in my opinion less daunting than coming up with a poem that, in the words of Dr. Evasco, ‘can pass muster’, I’m seeing that operating an anime blog, episodic or otherwise, is no less complex in terms of planning ahead, except you’re taking into consideration your personal ‘voice’ as well as the demographics you’re catering to.

        • Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          The rhythm you have for your journal writing is perfectly achievable for anime editorial blogging. I would experience certain days when I’d be in such a zone wherein I’d work on six different drafts over a weekend:

          Finish/rewrite two
          Start two
          Add work on another two

          Then I would have at least 2 posts to add to the queue, and WRL would live longer by another week.

  8. Mel
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    When building products, blogs or whatever, you should always have a clear picture of the audience you want to attract. When you keep that in mind, it should be visible through your way of writing and helps in attracting them.

    From an admin point of view, I would like to add:
    Wordpress.com lacks many features since they don’t allow free plugin installation. There are very easy ways to stream your blog into facebook and other networks (who offer an API for that), integrate better tools, plug in a basic forum etc.
    Especially BuddyPress (Social Network for WordPress based blogs) is quite interesting.
    Blogspot etc are also places to host your blog.

    So if you really want to post about various things like music or more pictures, self-hosting is the way to go.
    When you gained some visitors and fans with ghostlightnings blog world domination plan :D you should be able to ask fellow bloggers about their background admin – since we are somewhere around too.
    Actually we tend to share hosting space and i.e. Drupal (also a CMS) can be used to host multiple sides with only one installation. I was never forced to try that :) but there are guides online for that.

    If you use a ordinary CMS like WordPress or Drupal, basic themes with easy administration of their layout are already available. So all you need is someone with a hand for Photoshop/Gimp (ask your readers and friends) and a small dive into CSS unless you find someone who can do that for you too.
    If all that you wish for are a different banner and different background colors (in hexadecimal please) anyone can change this in your css-file since the namings are quite straight – forward.
    Actually you should be able to download the css – file from any site, compare it to yours and find the differences.
    Wordpress.com charges extra for personal css – files by the way.

    Don’t be afraid by the technique :D these things are tamable. Shouldn’t be there guides somewhere in the net? If not, someone should write one.

    The reason why I am so sure about this is simple: I am the admin for a wordpress based self hosted website here: World Student Environmental Summit and we are pushing wordpress quite far beyound its limits. This also means, I have to deal with blogging newbies, explain them these “weird web 2.0 community” things and really: I talk more than I actually program :( at the moment.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Yes I’d like to think I know the readers of this post pretty well. These are readers who may start a blog with a wealth of enthusiasm and time, but these will dry up for them very soon.

      So, my bias for this post is on content generation and community building. Admin and site design are important too, but are secondary compared to the above. If the site is clean and readable, it won’t drive the readers away. Also, more and more readers consume the posts via Google Reader and other feed readers, rendering a big investment in site development wasteful relative to content generation and community building.

      But if the blogger is a web designer and is proficient in admin-related activities, then by all means take advantage of these assets.

      • Mel
        Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        I tried Google a bit and there are really no short beginners guide to blogging programs or basic editing the style.
        There does exist a “wordpress for dummies” but no online free – access short version thing.

        Installing, administrating and hosting your own blog is as easy as cooking. People, especially hosting companies use the word “to overcome all difficulties” far too often on their homepages, when they want to convince you to use their service.
        It’s their way of Volksverdummung = dumping down of the people (thanks to my dictionary).
        Let’s see if I can write such a recipe in the next weeks.

  9. Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    This is a whole lot of planning. I applaud the organization.

    Personally, I just delved right into things. I agree on commenting and linking your blog everywhere, however – that’s basically how my views evolved into the consistent 300-500 views a day even without updating for a month or so. Having a distinct voice, I agree, is also important. I don’t really ponder about a lot of anime since I usually choose the anime series I watch (and they’re just really a few), but I can also personally say that talking about popular issues and popular anime tend to be more inviting to commentary. I’ve talked about less popular anime and manga and attempted to analyze certain cultural or philosophical ideas in anime, but the singular post that has made me endure through these past three years were my analyses of Code Geass R2 occurrences. In fact, my argument that Lelouch lived at the last episode remains to be the top (unique) view getter post of mine and brought me to unfamiliar heights of averaging 2,200 views a day for about two months. Amazing, because I never updated much after that.

    School and real life has slowed down my posting quite a bit, but I think I found my focus once more by just spending most of my analyses on a single anime. For the time being, it’s Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei. I may not get to see a lot of series and dabble on them without proper regard, but I can easily write novel things on that series just because I watch it at least three times a week and do some requisite research as well. It helps that the anime isn’t aimed at the populist crowd, so it’s not clear-cut at all and many interpretations are acceptable.

    It’s a good guide for most starters, though. :)

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Like you I plunged rather blindly, my capital was pretty much my lurking and commenting in a number of blogs. Social skills carried me further, and then I flatter myself by thinking these new internet friends stayed for the actual content.

      I am confident that if I did start over, this plan will set me up for the best reasonable start for the first 3 months.

      I also stand by with the ‘buffer’ method of writing. If you feel like you won’t have a lot of time to spare, write 12 posts and schedule them a month apart. You’ll feel relieved that your blog will survive another year, and you’ll be free to write only whenever you’re inspired.

  10. Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks again guys, for the comments too. I could never start my own blog and I think I’ll mainly be doing epi blogging on here, however I’ll defo use your advice for the occasional editorial. And I second the appreciation for all of your planning and input, and also congrats on the book deal, sounds very exciting! :)

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      The book deal is a joke! I’m just humoring a good friend and fellow blogger. (Hige is good)

      I’m glad you find this useful, though most of it is for going solo. For editorial content, I think research is important — know what has been written about the subject you’re taking on; not just the posts themselves, but the comments the post inspired.

      This can be time-consuming but very rewarding. You will feel confident that whatever you’re saying actually contributes something different to the subject and forwards the conversation for it. Also, by linking to those posts you researched you maximize THAT’s influence by directing readers to those posts.

      • Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Haha – I thought those two were small specialist publishers/ imprints! Agree though that research is important, a well-informed voice is always worth listening to.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      “We can see farther on the horizon because we stand on the shoulders of Giants.” Or more simply, you better yourself by learning from the experiences of the people who’ve already done it before, taking what made them successful, at the same time avoiding the pits they had fallen into every so often.

      • Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        A great quote, not least of all cos it reminds me of an Oasis album lol.

  11. Matt
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Well this is a nice surprise, all this talk about expanding the THAT team leads to a couple posts about expanding the anime blogosphere with some Blogging for Dummies guides. Havent had to time to check these posts out yet, but I have a feeling, like usual, that they will be solid and helpful, so thanks in advance from a prospective blogger.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      ‘Blogging for Dummies’ – Matt’s just given you the title for when you really are offered a book deal Ghosty!

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Chalk it up to Impz’s vision of a vibrant anime blogosphere.

      The more new bloggers there are, the more commentary left on each others’ posts, the more reaction posts get published. The more cross-linking happens, more new ideas get exchanged.

      This is what I think, anyway.

    • Impz
      Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Now I am a visionary? Awesome! Do I get cookies!

      • Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        You get posthumous appreciation. And maybe an Oscar. Or rather a Razzie.

      • Impz
        Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        :< Sucks. RAGEQUIT!

  12. Posted June 8, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    When I first started blogging about anime, I never thought of what kind of blog I want it to be. I still don’t. I don’t care if its editorial or not. I write what I want to and that’s how it will be for the longest time possible. Hopefully people will want to read it, and enjoy doing so as much as I enjoy writing it.

    But these are good tips. If only anime nano don’t hate me orz.

  13. Posted June 8, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Great article! I really wish I had read something like this before I started posting, although I still doubt I would’ve taken the words to heart if I had never blogged before.

    That being said, I think this may serve better those who recently started blogging but find the whole endeavor to be more difficult than they thought. After all, it’s not exactly easy to appreciate how solid some of this advice is before you have any idea of how you’re going to do when it comes to blogging.

    Thanks!

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, and thank Impz from whipping this post from me.

      I made a bunch of n00b errors too when I started out, I’ll mention it here:

      I tried publishing every day, or almost every day. This led to ill-advised post formats, that kind of seem like publishing for its own sake.

      For half a year, I tried publishing every other day. This led to burnout.

      If you have a healthy habit of writing every day, excellent. What I don’t advise is to publish every day. Maintaining your own standards will prove to be very difficult. Also, you may end up wearing out your readers. After all, your core ideas remain the same and manifest themselves in the different subject matter you choose — even so your readers may feel it’s all the same if they are give too much to read too often.

  14. Posted June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting to see how the other half lives! I like that you touched on the importance of social capital in the first few months, to attract established bloggers to stop by and perhaps link to you. It’s definitely a good plan to start with, although later posts should make a stand to encourage casual readers to agree/disagree with you to make up for the circle-jerk comments you lose as you dial back on commenting on everyone else’s blog.

    It’s also important to use pretty images in the posts. At first I was all like “Ho hum, this post has more length than the Lakers,” but then I was like “ZOMG IZ DAT SUM TOMOE BANNER?!?!” so I finished the article. And I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed the section advising bloggers to adore and worship me (at least that’s how I read it) =3.

    I also want to add that some of these tips could be applied to building a harem.

    BTW, what is your position on guest-blogging? I see a lot of non-anime blogs recommend it, and it plays to the editorial blogger’s strength. But since post ideas can sometimes be hard to come by, is it worth it to post it on someone else’s blog?

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      LOL more length than the Lakers. Yes images are important, but honestly I don’t have the ability to articulate the best way to use them. I do know that there are many posts that I have trouble reading due to lack of text-breaking images, and there are a lot of posts that I can’t read due to excessive images (many on this particular blog).

      (The secret here is that at face value, n00bs can build a blog with this, but veterans can build a harem SHHHHHH!)

      As for guest-blogging, I wholeheartedly recommend it. If you can find a blogger who’s willing to let you post on their blog, you get to get your first licks with that blog’s established audience.

      WRL has such a tradition. New bloggers like universalbunny and donkangoljones made their first posts on WRL.

      Out of 300+ posts on WRL, 28 are by guest writers ^_^

      http://ghostlightning.wordpress.com/category/todays-special-guest-writer/

      On the other hand, I published posts for notdotq, for Oi, Hayaku, and Superfanicom as well. It’s nigh impossible to maintain writing for many blogs, but the experience was very educational.

  15. Posted June 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Funny enough, I did all the social things but I never made the blog-thing. Whoops. I like the community, but decided against the workload of writing so often. Luckily there are plenty of hosts that feed my parasitic ways! ^_^

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      You’re a rarity, no doubt about it. Your comments may actually be valued more by certain bloggers who are mortified by the ‘circle-jerk’ label (the label! not as much as the phenomenon). Commenting on blogs without having a blog of your own makes you seem ‘pure’ since you don’t give anyone a back to scratch after you scratch theirs.

      In any case, this meta politics isn’t as important. What’s more important is whether you get value from your hobby or not. If you do, I think everyone wins.

  16. Posted June 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Develop a point of view that’s easily identifiable as yours

    Very important

    Editorial Anime Blogging is a Community Exercise

    Bullshit

    The Three Month Plan

    Pretty good. I’d say you don’t need 20 fully written posts. 20 post outlines should be good enough (I currently have 125). Convert each post outline to a full post when you’re ready. I don’t believe in scheduling. If you have a perfectly good post ready, go ahead and publish it. Don’t fear that you won’t have something to post next week if you use all your good ideas now. Believe in yourself. If you can write one good post, you can write one hundred.

    Remember, there is no “quickly” in blogging. Hard work pays off over time.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      The middle one’s a bit harsh mate, how’d you expect to maintain a healthy blog life if no one’s reading/ commenting on each other’s stuff?

      • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Bloggers > Commenters > Regular Readers

        Those are distinctions I abhor. How good you are as a writer has nothing to do with how fervently you circle jerk with a tiny fraction of your readers. It won’t get you far in terms of popularity either. You may end up turning off more readers than you gain.

        • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          Yes there are pitfalls obviously!

          Just as there are with not putting in the work to reach out to an active base of commentators. After all, often times editorial writers write within a sub-niche of a sub-niche of a sub-niche.

          Even with attempts to be populist or go for “Fat heads” on a distribution curve of readers, we are all creatures of “Long-tail” economics.

        • Posted June 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          I think it’s a good strategy for starting off, although obviously you can take it too far. Other bloggers are easier to find and interact with (sometimes) than lurkers, so it makes a logical starting point.

        • Impz
          Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          I am not sure if I interpret it right, but I don’t think ghostlightning wants to genuflect on follow bloggers, or what Baka-raptor considers an elitist circle jerking mentality. What I think is that at the start, bloggers > commentators > readers runs through because you do need to build up the critical mass and make the blog known to google. That can only happen with the association (or sadly in a way, social communication with bloggers with or against you). Commentators and readers are much harder to come by, and they generally will not come based on anything you do other than technical stuff like SEO, linking practices and the likes. Which comes back to the initial point about the hierarchy of importance for a new blogger.

          To say that it is not of a community practice is to say that blogging is truly for oneself. For those bloggers that are more established, that is a valid point because they have nothing to lose or gain. They write because they do.

          However, new blogs who do not have that fanbase has to see the community as a form of social exchange in which they are trying to avoid the long tail effect as theorized by Barabasi in 2000 and evidenced through a logarithm exponential examination. As such, it is inevitable that there is a need to communicate with other bloggers. You do not need to worship them or agree with them, but you got to establish your identity and let the world know you are there. No matter how good your writing is (as I go back to my previous entry), no one will care because no one knows you.

          Stop thinking in dichotomy situations where it’s either to retain writing personality and lose circle jerking. It’s always the moderated path that takes you places.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Think of this post as a ‘best foot forward’ or how to powerfully blast off the blocks. It doesn’t guarantee the most important things, just a good start.

      Leaving comments in other blogs is the biggest component of my thinking of ‘editorial blogging is a community exercise’ and there’s nobody who leaves more comments on as many different blogs (especially relative to one’s own publishing rate) than Baka-Raptor. Nobody.

      A social being (even a dinosaur) needn’t be a nice, seemingly harmless blogger like me. Just the fact that you leave comments on so many blogs, post in Anime Nano forum threads supports my thinking.

      Social activity doesn’t mean your jerk other bloggers off. I know you only enjoy it when others do you especially with fanart.

      The 20 posts will develop discipline. Not everyone can train in the mountains, but you can raise mountains to block your own path and temper your ambition with adversity.

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      I think all three are BS, because bloggers with easily identifiable “voice” tend to bore me after a short while, and as you say, it isn’t always a community exercise.

      Three month plan is obviously a rule of thumb as I imagine what GL is saying, but it should start way before that. To be honest the way most anime blogs go, the fact that they exist is part of some grand personal-development plan in which once these guys hit their mid and late 20s (I am pretty sure the average blogger age is < 23) and want to write/blog/etc for real, will be able to draw from their earlier experience and do a better job when it really counts. So if you want to do it right we're looking at a 2 to 10 year plan. Plus to be honest if you're just some rabid kitten you're probably no more interesting than someone from Gaia Online, and will your blog will have the appeal of Gaia Online. (People from GO are awesome btw. Fer reals)

      I'm a big fan of the 3-day plan myself. If Jesus can get undead by himself in that time, it shouldn't take you much longer to setup wordpress and say something. If you know what you're doing, you know what you're doing. All you need is out there, if not, you can probably google it.

  17. Posted June 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how this applies to “editorial” blogging specifically. lol

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      SHHHH

      Of course you can also use this to build a harem, influence government policy, and save the anime industry! Try it!

  18. Posted June 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh man, I almost remember the time I was doing editorials. _Almost_.

  19. Posted June 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Perfection. And you’ve given me a great idea..

    • Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      ghostlightning, please take responsibility.

      • Impz
        Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        A baby is born!

        • Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          You should talk. You should procreate to make up for Stripey and Zyl’s lack of momentum! XD

      • Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        Do I really have to?

        He just wants you to acknowledge him as your rival lol

  20. Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    maybe in a few years I can write about how to write editorials about anime with tokusatsu on the side

    my love for tokusatsu is going to make getting in animenano harder if I ever bother

    • Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:29 am | Permalink

      It’s rarely really about what you like, but with how you make what you like interesting to others.

      Ultimately, you make a public blog so you will have more than two readers. If those readers aren’t captives, you’ll need to give them value for them to discuss whatever subject you’re presenting.

  21. Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Hey nice article, coulda helped back before I started… or it coulda backfired, seeing as it took me a few months of blogging to develop a style that I want others to know me by. A quick startup is not always a good thing after all.

    Like some others I can’t agree with the 20-drafts thing. For someone who writes about vintage anime it probably doesn’t matter. For editorials on up-to-date anime time can still be a killer. It’s not as tight as episodics, but I’ve lost the chance to make certain posts because the window passed.

    But then hey I’m still a noob by many people’s standards so what do I know xD

    • Posted June 9, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      The 20 drafts is pretty hardcore, but I do recommend it.

      It will get you going on solid habits that I have benefited from. This buffer will protect you from the occasional dry spells that will threaten your blog’s consistency and even longevity. I’ve seen many blogs die off, a lot of them were my faves.

      I developed the buffer method after my first burnout and hiatus.

  22. Posted June 10, 2010 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    As someone who posts daily, it’s not something I would absolutely recommend, but I think there is a method for staving off the threat of burnout that happens from trying to blog so often.

    Think of daily blogging as a somewhat harsh schedule that’s designed to keep your mind and your writing active. For me, the only limit I establish IS posting “once per day” and anything regarding post length or types of posts or subject is fair game, and the game is to just get something out there, even if I’m not entirely satisfied with it.

    That’s not to say I just hit “publish” when I get tired of writing or reach the “end,” though. The caveat to “post whatever you want” is “make sure it makes some kind of sense.” There are a number of times where I’ll start a post thinking I’ll finish it by the end of the day, but then not like where it’s going, and have to put it on the back-burner and replace it with another post.

    it also definitely has its drawbacks, burnout aside. I understand that my self-imposed limitation means my posts are sometimes not as strong as they could be, but that same limitation that keeps the engine running, keeps the brain sharp.

    But actually, a schedule in general is great for keeping the inertia on the side of “in-motion.” Whether it’s posting once a day or once a month, setting some kind of schedule keeps you from pushing things off until before you know it that post you thought you could make later doesn’t get published for 6 months.

    Actually, that’s happened to me too. I really need to do my Votoms and Gundam 00 final reviews.

    • Posted June 10, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Yes, that’s a very good evaluation of the trade-offs that come with posting schedules. The method I recommend here is pretty hard core, and plays to the strengths of someone like myself (who possibly isn’t representative of the blogging talent pool, but who is the person I know best).

      I too, write every day, as an exercise and also because I can’t help but write. But I like spreading out the posts because I am rather aware how my availability can change, my access to anime and manga can change — even for short periods like weeks to a few months. I want to be able to survive such circumstances.

  23. Posted June 10, 2010 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    This is a nice article indeed and, looking back, I did a lot of things similar to you including preparing drafts long before publishing. But I think trying to follow your steps strictly can be difficult because doing that may destroy the fun in blogging in certain cases. I personally don’t like strict schedule. Oh, well, I guess that’s why I am still stuck at where I am right now for over a year =_=
    (I also have another problem, my blog is only half-editorial and it’s not episodic. I seriously have no idea where all my readers come from)

    • Posted June 10, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Yes, it has to be fun ultimately. What I propose here is to take a few licks at the start when you’re MOST enthusiastic, when you can withstand some adversity, rather than try to do something extreme when your time and your motivation may not be abundant.

      As for your content, there’s no rule you can’t provide both. I do episodics as well (WRL will have Katanagatari ep 06 on June 12 yay shameless plug, but it’s an awesome ep!)

      Thank you for the kind words ^_^

  24. Posted June 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Just to add another note to the “buffer” method above – make sure you write COMPLETE drafts; don’t just do a half-start and assume you’ll be able to finish later. The toughest thing is starting a draft, leaving it for a few days to a week, then coming back and having no idea what you meant to say and then abandoning the draft.

    Another implicit given here is to proofread your stuff and make sure your language is good. Editorial blogs tend to attract a more erudite sort of reader, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to keep your writing clear and concise, with solid points that are easy for the reader to dig into.

    It’s sometimes helpful, depending on what you’re trying to do, to leave some sort of hook or question for commentators to get involved. A lack of comments doesn’t necessarily mean people are reading, it can also mean that readers feel they don’t have anything meaningful to add. You can easily increase your comment count by trying to get readers involved in a discussion and leaving that avenue open.

    As you note, regular commenting is helpful in the social sense, but on the writing side of things it’s also very helpful. I’ve picked up more than a few post ideas through exchanges initially made via commentary.

    • Posted June 11, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Good advice! But what I have to say may surprise you:

      More often than not, I put in only 80% effort into posts. I qualify the 20% unspent effort as that which makes the post reach my ambitions for it.

      Allow me to qualify. I get really ambitious with posts. I tend to want to make them touchstones for thought and opinion over certain issues. However, to do so requires so much effort and fine tuning such that I risk the worst: never publishing.

      So I assess what is more important for me: have fun discussing anime, or impressing people with my insight? I think some people will still appreciate some of my insight at 80% effort, and I do get what I think to be pretty gratifying levels of discussion going. But I am certain I will achieve nothing if I don’t get the post published.

      Mechafetish is a victim of this. My good friend and co-blogger goes overboard with ambition — he values leaving something impressive over discussion. He doesn’t like exchanging comments anyway. But his perfectionism and ambition gets the better of him so he produces nothing.

      My bias is towards action and publication. My 80% level of effort is still very intense (as is evidenced with experimentation with post formats and multimedia presentations). I tend to be more forgiving of grammatical and spelling errors lol (and I do make them!).

  25. Posted June 11, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the guide. I think I should go work on some drafts. I always have this problem with unintentional hiatuses.

    I’ve been having an issue with “editorials” ever since I realized a conceptual divide between episodics and editorials. What makes a post an editorial? Do opinion pieces on an episode count? Reviews? Personal experiences with anime or fandom? Thoughts and impressions on each episode?

    In the aniblog community, editorials often carry this air of supremacy or at least some sort of special standing. Some even claim to be editorial bloggers to seem more educated. I think it’s usually just a label and many tend to place too much emphasis on “editorial” blogging.

    Anyways, this is a really good guide for any starting bloggers. I hope you have inspired someone new to blog. ^ ^

    • Posted June 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the kind words, and I find the supremacy claims made on behalf of editorial bloggers silly. Granted, I prefer writing and reading editorials, but I think no less of the concept of the episodic blog. Conceptually, I think Kabitzin’s approach is the best (watercooler social space).

      I do make episodic posts, but these only highlight your points! I write editorials for each episode. The conceptual dichotomy becomes silly doesn’t it?

      Fuzakenna! is a favorite editorial blog of mine, and 2010digitalboy is only semi-literate LOL

      • Posted June 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t mean to say that you think less of episodics (I know you don’t!) and the “air of supremacy” was really definitely not aimed at you (or many other bloggers).

        I’m merely saying that I don’t understand what makes an editorial an editorial. If editorials are defined simply as opinion pieces, then aren’t most blogs editorial blogs?

        “The conceptual dichotomy becomes silly doesn’t it?”
        Yep yep! It’s all just a label. I guess my ultimate point is that this guide applies to all anime blogging.

        • Posted June 12, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

          LOL don’t worry I don’t think you do, just commenting on the air of supremacy in general.

          The editorial anime blog post, the way I see how people see it, is a topical feature that isn’t particular to an ongoing/currently airing show.

          It’s aim is to make a statement about an issue, or to develop an idea, or share an experience that is relevant to the previous two.

          They are also thought to be ‘thought-provoking’ and hence garner more comments (by way of discussion, and not of impression — or clarification, the way comments in episodic posts go) than most episodic posts.

          But like I said, episodic entries can be written in an editorial way, as I continue to attempt in WRL.

  26. Posted June 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    As usual, a good helpful post. You’ve already been incredibly helpful in getting me to understand the blogging world. I’m doing quite well with the twitter account aspect, but I suppose one of my biggest flaws so far is not starting my own blogroll. Despite all the bloggers I talk to on Twitter, it doesn’t help if I only sporadically visit. I’ll use that and the commenting as my next stepping stone. Hopefully the rest will come with practice and study.

    • Posted June 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      To keep up with blog updates of those you follow, I recommend using Google Reader. Just subscribe to your favorite websites via RSS feeds and you’ll find that you won’t be wasting time browsing and following bookmarks.

      Just don’t flood your reader! I promise you this is too easy to do, and you’ll be overwhelmed soon enough because you’ll routinely wake up to +1000 unread items.

      I have about <100 anime blogs in it, with about 20 of them who publish regularly, so not overwhelming at all (If you put Pornkaku Faplex -- which I don't, you'll flood your feed with crap instantly).

      I have about <20 or so business and economics blogs

      <20 random stuff like web comics

      >100 nba blogs

      2 tennis bloggers

      And then I follow a whole bunch of people who share a lot of different articles.

      All in all I get about <200 things to read, actually stopping to read about a third of that.

      Lastly I use Google Reader to subscribe to latest releases from the manga scanlation sites, anime bit torrent release sites, etc (so I don’t miss the latest releases).

      What this does is limit my browsing to when I actually either have to make something (i.e. edit a blog post) or research something.

  27. Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Thank you for giving us/me advices. This is really helpful. Now, I have an idea on what to do with my new blog. I’m really glad that I stumble upon this post. Still, I’m having a problem in making an Editorial Post.

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