The Anime Blog
In 2005 an idea to make Japanese pop culture connect with the world became The Anime Blog. The Anime Blog was accessible to everyone—from hobbyists who knew tsundere from moe, to folk who didn’t know Pokémon from Pocky. Pop culture from across the Pacific was brought to them in conversational articles, authentic Japanese recipes, anime reviews and interactive posts.
In the early aughts, there was an online vacuum for Japanese pop culture that connected with the casual or uninitiated fan. Most sites were either too esoteric and scholarly or too entrenched in the fandom to reach the middling folks.
There was a dearth of resources for these folks. No accessible glossary, no how to’s, no digestible, inclusive content that could help them make sense of the blooming phenomena that was anime and Japanese pop culture in the USA.
A partner and I started out as the sole staff at TAB. We slowly grew to about three permanent staff and around ten guest contributors.
The Anime Blog’s motto was “We Go Beyond Anime“. We did that with building a community where every voice mattered, and by listening to what our readers wanted. What our readers wanted was to learn more about and to better understand the culture behind the genre in ways that connected with them. Our food and pop culture articles helped readers find that connection. When it came to anime, the reviews were broken in digestible sections, written in dialog that spoke with people.
I branded the site, developed the mascots, color schemes, and feel of the site. I also developed the voice and tone. I developed templates and an editorial calendar that let us easily produce quality, consistent content five to six days a week.
Using metrics (Google Analytics and Mint), I was able to see what content kept my readers engaged and the best times and channels to provide it. I was constantly trying new content and formats to see what worked best.
We were a visible presence at the biggest North American conventions, interviewing Japanese producers and anime artists. TAB had ongoing media relationships with several North American distributors and frequently partnered with them for contests and media reviews. Our reviews, however, were kept wholly independent.
We grew to the number one anime blog spot, with over 25,000 unique hits a month in 2009. The average unique hits for anime blogs per month is 7,000. We also monetized the site using Google AdSense and earned three figures within the first couple months.
Due to my success at The Anime Blog, I became a freelance writer for the St. Louis-area foodie magazine, Sauce. Much Japanese foodie love was shared in both web and print.