I thought I might as well go over each type in detail and the advantages and disadvantages, as a special anniversary treat for you. In case you always wondered why I don’t do more of [blank] or less of [blank].
New Film Reviews:
I try to see every new Hindi release if I can, and put up two reviews right away, a no spoiler review and a spoiler one. The No Spoiler one can give me an advantage right away, in the first few days it can suddenly hit big and give me 5 times the number of views I usually get. But then it will die down. The Spoiler review, that’s a workhorse. It tends to hit big about 4 days after the film has released, giving me 5 times the number of usually views. And then, randomly, it will peak again as time goes on, when the film premieres on TV, or hits streaming, or whatever. Suddenly without me doing anything special, some 5 month old post will get a ton of views out of the blue.
I know it is boring for my regular readers sometimes, not all of you can see new movies in theaters or care about the new Hindi releases, but these are the posts that pay the bills, essentially, so I will keep doing them.
These are a total indulgence. They get about a quarter of the views of my other posts. But I keep doing them because it helps me to keep my background in Hindi film strong, so that I can write better reviews of the new stuff people actually care about. And it makes me feel like I am doing my job, trying to make sure my readers know about films they should know about.
(Manoranjan, least popular review of the year)
Hindi Film 101/Editorial Type Posts
For a while I was doing a regular schedule of Hindi Film 101, talking about history of the famous families and actors, and sometimes general history like film and crime. But then the views started dropping off. Or, to put it another way, my audience shifted so that there was more interest in other things. As I gained more and more non-Hindi film fan readers who didn’t care about the Hindi industry and more and more Indian readers who were familiar with these stories, the majority of my readers were no longer interested. So I dropped them
But I will pick them up every once in a while when a news story makes it suddenly relevant. And that way, I get tons of views and interest. People who wander over to the blog after searching for background on an issue, and regular readers who might not normally have been interested in this but are because it is in the news.
There’s also the more editorial type things, but for those I have to wait for inspiration to strike. I can’t just dash off a post on new media and what it means, I need to have a blaze of discovery in my own mind that will inspire me. And you, the readers, can tell the difference. When I have one of those blaze of discovery moments, I KNOW I will get a ton of comments and views, people will be struck by my thoughts and inspired to share and tweet and comment. But that’s pretty rare, I don’t do one every week because I honestly can’t.
(Padmavati and Orientalism, first most popular non-spoiler review post this year. Which I kind of knew would happen when I was writing it)
Scene By Scene Posts
These vary widely in readership. If it is Bahubali or Jab Harry Met Sejal, they will be some of the most popular posts I ever wrote, and more importantly, garner me a bunch of new interesting readers. If it is Dear Zindagi, it will do about the same as Friday Classics. That is to say, embarrassingly terrible. DDLJ is a special case, those posts consistently do about the same as Friday Classics, but they are also something that has gotten me a fair number of “high quality” new readers, that is, people who comment a lot and come back and read everything every day, so it is worth doing.
The scene by scene posts are also the most time consuming to write. I want to be as careful as possible to cover every detail, which means a lot of time staring at the computer screen playing the film over and over in my head. And it means I have to focus completely while writing them, I can’t do them at work between phone calls or at home while watching something else.
Both of these are reasons I do so few of them, that they don’t necessarily attract a lot of readers and that they are a lot of work for me, which means I am doing less of my other posts. But the biggest reason I do so few is the commitment. Once I start, I have to finish, which means I am committing to writing and giving up blog real estate to at least a dozen of these, over the course of at least 2 weeks. So I only want to do it when I am sure it is worth doing, both in terms of the quality of the film and the interest from my readers.
(Jab Harry Met Sejal also gave me a lot of “high quality” readers, readers who keep coming back and commenting. Especially because I followed it immediately with my 31 Days o’ SRK birthday celebration. And JHMS index is 4th most popular post of year, especially impressive considering it was only published a few months ago)
I started this series back when I gained a new enthusiastic commentator who was eager to report back on every new film he saw and learn more about it from me and the other commentators. We had wonderful conversations, but they were all on random unrelated posts. So the Wednesday post is to give these conversations a “home”. So you can easily refer back to them later, and also so they don’t end up in the comments of other unrelated posts.
The same goes for books you are reading, articles you saw online, all of that. I am very aware that my archives are constantly being read by new readers. It would just be confusing for them to find a bunch of comments on a review of Housefull 3 related to some random Rani Mukherjee film someone had happened to watch that week, for instance. So the Wednesday post is sort of my “junk drawer” area, everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else can go there and keep the other areas tidy.
Most of the time, these reviews don’t get that many views. About twice as many as Friday Classics, half as many as the Monday Malayalam posts or even a random News post. But I put them up because I have a fair number of “good” readers, that is, ones who comment and come back regularly, that are particularly interested in these languages and I want to keep giving them content.
And also because I need to learn about these industries! I can’t talk intelligently about Hindi film, or about the new releases in these languages (which I am sometimes able to watch and review), or even about box office, unless I keep trying to gain a background in them. So I put up these Tuesday posts in order to keep myself on track, so I can keep learning as well.
(And sometimes cool things happen like Gautham Menon himself commenting on my Vaaranam review)
These are nice reliable posts. Get around 3 times as many views as Friday Classics most weeks. They are a bit of a pain to write, I have to use a calculator and sometimes cross reference figures with older posts and so on and so on. That’s why I stopped for a bit, the time involved was just exhausting. But I picked up again because it is interesting information! Interesting for the readers, but also for myself. And you have to track it every single week in detail, or there is no context and it is meaningless. So once I started, I knew I would have to continue again on a regular schedule.
These are some of the easiest posts to write, and usually lead to fun discussion in the comments. Fun for you and fun for me! I learn a lot more from what people say in the comments than I do from the original news sources. I only report the basic facts “so-and-so announces a movie” which would be the same in any source, and then I put in my own analysis. I don’t check a lot of sources, I usually just skip to skimming the headlines on Bollywoodhungama, but they are pretty good about reporting every press release or semi-official rumor, so I’m not too worried about missing something.
And I am trying to do at least one a week, usually on Monday, because like the box office reports, they really only work in context. You need the last casting announcement about a film in order to understand what the new casting announcement means and so on. So you have to keep it up regularly or else it is worthless.
Usually tied with the new Hindi film review on Friday for most views. There just isn’t enough written about Malayalam film on the internet! What’s really interesting is that my best views come when I review a classic from the 80s-90s, not a newer film. I am assuming these old classics are played over and over on TV and therefore the audience might be more universally familiar with them than the newer releases.
But that doesn’t explain it entirely. The same should be true for the Hindi audience and my Friday Classics posts, and yet it really really isn’t. There is something about the Malayalam audience, or the Malayalam classic films, or more likely both of them together, that makes these older films more worthy of discussion.
This is very hit and miss. Some weeks, like the week I did Jane Eyre, there will be this sudden burst of interest, putting it as one of the top posts for the week, and then other weeks, like the week I did slashfic for Gay Pride, they will be as bad as a Friday classic. I can’t predict it. But there is enough interest to justify posting them.
I don’t need to justify writing them, that is just for fun. They are very easy for me to write usually, I can always dash off a fanfic even if I don’t feel up to writing anything else. I used to write them just for my friends and family for fun before I started blogging, So long as there are enough readers to make it not a total indulgence, I might as well put them to work and post them.
Birthday Posts/Holiday Posts
Very unpopular. Slightly less viewers than Friday Classics sometimes. But, big advantage, they are annual and predictable!!! I can update and repost most of them from last year, which is super useful. And I can look ahead in the calendar and write and schedule them in advance. Unlike the news posts or the box office posts or the new film reviews.
(Poor Lataji. Her birthday post got fewer views than anything else this year)
And they fill out the schedule. Keep viewers interested with a new post every couple hours if nothing much else is happening. And sometimes spark a conversation in the comments, memories of favorite films or whatever, which is fun.
Random Video Posts
Much more popular than birthday and holiday posts! Don’t know why, it’s the same content, videos and a few lines of text, maybe it’s because they seem more frivolous if they are just random?
There are diminishing returns for these posts, I can only do one a week or every two weeks, more than that and people get bored. But scattered randomly around, they do work well. And they help fill out the schedule when there isn’t much in the news.
Plus, I do like getting you to see new fanvids, or regular songs, introducing you to films you may not know about, new actors, or reminding you of old favorites. And I like doing the same for myself! I love watching videos, both songs and fanvids, so it’s fun for me to put these posts together.
(and hopefully you haven’t realized how often I reuse my favorite videos, like this one)
Very very very popular. SO MANY VIEWS!!!!! I suspect both because there are a large number of people who think “well, I don’t have time/energy for reading a full review type post, but I can scroll through pictures”, and because there are people who come back over and over again to look at the pictures over the course of the next few days.
Once I started doing questions at the end, they really took off. Seems like even if you don’t feel you know enough or have the right to comment on a film review or something, anyone can give an opinion on which photo is better. So, sorry if it seems to lower the tone of the blog or whatever, but they make the majority of my readers very very happy in many ways, so I am keeping them up. And they are a fun Friday treat for me too!
(and hopefully you don’t realize how much I use my favorite photos! the one on the left I mean, not the kitten)
Monday Morning Questions
This is another sort of “junk drawer” post. Any question you want to ask, or discussion you want to start, if it doesn’t fit anywhere else it will fit here. And it keeps my other posts “clean”.
Plus, really, it’s fun! I love starting the week by talking with you all, gives me a nice little jumpstart to my Monday.
And that’s it, that’s all my posts! Unless I have forgotten something, which I probably have. Just remind me in the comments if I did!