I'll get this out of the way: Ani-TAY rocks. We are really blessed to have such awesome authors and readers who actively participate in all of the content here. In only a few short months, Ani-TAY as a subblog of TAY has become in my opinion, one of the premier sources of in-depth content about anime on the internet, an amazing feat given how new the entire thing is. It's a testament the level of character of everyone here, and I'm truly astounded at how far we have come.
The next question is: How can we be better, and how can we draw a wider audience to see the amazing content here? I'm of the opinion that our content here deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, and there is a productive discussion waiting to be had about contemplating how this can be done. I'm writing this to hopefully start to conversation, out of love for Ani-TAY.
Here is my assessment about where we stand as of today:
- Our reviews: We have the quantity and quality of reviews that would make most other anime sites drool. They are well-written (and getting better over time!) and informative, covering a wide variety of shows. This is probably our best strength and a strong indicator of our passion as a community. This extends from anime reviews and includes the number of manga, light novel and visual novel reviews produced here. It's fantastic to see the diversity in reviews that is generated.
- Our in-depth content: This includes long opinion pieces as well as reviews. This is an extension of the earlier point, but there is so much stuff to sink our teeth into, including seasonal overviews, best of the years, etc.
- The organization: It's amazing how organized things can be, and that we are capable of pulling off things like OP/ED a Day and the podcast (I know I know, it seems haphazard behind the scene but if you didn't know what goes on behind the curtain it all looks great to the end reader).
- Scheduling of content: This has actually be great over the past few weeks, but we run the risk of things getting slow between the major review periods. I think things like OP/ED have gone a great ways in bridging the gap and providing regular content, and this is a great thing.
- The Accessibility of Content: Right now, most of the reviews here are aimed at people who are committed anime fans. This is not a bad thing, in fact this is a good thing because it is much more difficult to produce content aimed at knowledgeable fans rather than things with no barrier of entry.
- News Coverage: We don't really do news articles, which would generate people using this exclusively as a source of news rather than having to rely on other sites. I don't know where this fits into what I'm saying but it's something I think we have to consider.
I see a major opportunity for growth here as a community as we have such good content that deserves to been seen by as many people as possible. I think in terms of scheduling content and creating more accessibility, we can do this by creating more gateway content by filling in the gaps, to compliment our indepth content. Think of it this way, gateway content is content with a low barrier of entry, that appeals to established fans but draws the attention of those how have not noticed Ani-TAY before. I might use this as an example:
This drove a number of uniques, did not take a long time to write but generates accessible discussion. Put it this way: If Ani-TAY is a resturant, gateway content is the appetizer which has its smell float out and draw people in to the resturant, where they stay for the full-course meal of reviews and other content. And after they enjoy themselves, they come back for more and become part of the regular clientele.
I think we can improve on offering this type of content. This isn't to say if you are someone who writes awesome reviews that you should stop doing that (please don't we need them!) but to open a door for more "fun" articles that don't have to be so serious in nature.
Here are some things we could consider to grow engagement:
- Aggressively hotlink articles within other articles that we think people might like. An example might be this: My "Top 5 picks of the year in gif" article was shared to TAY, drawing 2,500 viewers and with 900 newcomers to Ani-TAY after being included in the roundup. I hotlinked My Best List of Best Girls in this, which drew 1,000 views without a share to Kotaku in the roundup. This seems like it worked in drawing traffic, and I feel like this was a successful result. I think a good idea is adding at the end of every article "if you liked this, check out X related article" to keep them within the content ecosystem.
- Edit 12:02AM: More "A beginner's guide to such and such" articles would be greatly welcomed! I love these types of articles and I think they are extremely helpful in making our content more accessible. And if one already exists for something you are writing but is not easily visible/older it would be very useful to hotlink it for those who have joined us recently.
I believe Ani-TAY is fantastic and I think a great community goal would be to grow it to the point it is created as a subdomain of Kotaku rather than TAY, added to the down-menu, and have it's own daily roundup separate from TAY. This would require consistency of content and a significant increase in reader traffic that Kotaku could not ignore. A slight name change to emphasize we are not just a subdomain of TAY might also be helpful (don't shoot me for suggesting this).
I say this out of love because I've done a lot of thinking on how we could make Ani-TAY the premier source for quality anime-content. Look how far we have come in a few months, how can we strive further and soar higher?
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