August 20, 2012

How to be a successful horror blogger

Having done this for a quite a while now without ever having achieved the coveted "Blog of Note" pat on the back from Google, any kind of fame, and, apparently, no financial reward, you would think that I would be the last person who would offer advice on how to be a successful horror blogger.

Au contraire, just because I've been kicked to the kerb more times than I've been acknowledged doesn't mean that I haven't seen others appear out of nowhere over the years and become almost overnight celebrities in the horror blogging game. I've scrutinized every aspect of exactly how they did it too.

I'm not jealous of any of them. Every dog has his day, "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose" (to quote something far more profound out of context), and fame is fleeting. "When you get a number one, the only way is down," as Adam Ant once sang. As soon as you get any kind of success, you get haters who want to destroy you, so I'm kind of happy just doing what I'm doing as a hobby.

Anyway, based on my observations, the following are the steps necessary to becoming a successful horror blogger.

1. Never disagree or have a strong opinion about anything unless it's the most politically correct cause at the time.

The key to this is being completely wishy-washy. Some would call it running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds, but you can't even be that hypocritical. You genuinely have to believe (or at least convince others that you genuinely believe) that every horror movie is a valid work of art and not just some product designed to make a quick buck from a stupid audience.

If you want to really impress your readers, swear undying love for all things Troma and the "so bad it's good" style of backyard epics. Use the words "indie horror filmmaker" a lot. Nobody will know if any of the movies you talk about even exist, but they will still think you are uber cool for standing against the horrible "Hollywood" machine which stifles creativity, or some such happy horseshit. Never say anything bad about Hollywood yourself.

2. You have to love the remakes.

Of course, this only really works if you are under 25 years old and have only ever watched horror movies from the mid '90s onwards. If you have any knowledge of the original movies other than just their titles, just refer to them all as "Classics" whether you have actually seen those movies or not. A typical sentence will be, "Having just watched the awesome remake of the fantastic classic horror [insert name here], I was absolutely blown away by the incredible attention to detail and respect given to the original source material."

While those in the know will see through this bullshit immediately, the movie companies will love you and want to quote your generic praise on their DVD artwork, thus creating lots of traffic to your horror blog.

3. Have an awesome blog layout.

You don't have to rely on content when you can hire a professional artist to add all kinds of cartoons and Flash animations to make your blog look trendy. Who cares if your reviews are only one paragraph as long as you have a moving picture at the top of them? It makes your site look "live" and appeals to the tweenagers with ADD who will be clicking all your "Like" and "Thumbs Up" buttons like mad things.

If you can do all this yourself, you can save a ton of money, but don't take too long about it because if you are over thirty, nobody will give a damn about you anyway. Spend large amounts of cash to make up for the skills which you will never have and can't be bothered to learn so that you can reap the rewards as quickly as possible.

4. Pay for promotion on search engines, Facebook and Twitter.

Yes, even if you have the crappiest site and the worst reviews possible, you too can be top of the horror blogger food chain by paying for traffic. It costs a fortune, but, hey, now you can have a Kickstarter project, beg for money for something else, and use that income to promote your blog instead.

Don't even bother to question the moral implications of such dishonesty. You do want to be a top horror blogger and earn millions of dollars, right?

5. Be a girl.

There are far too many men blogging about horror, so even if you aren't a girl, pretend to be one. Hire a model to dress up in something slutty, gothic and sexy, take some pictures, and use her image (with permission) all over your blog.

If you are a girl and can make yourself up to be half-way attractive, create some quirky images of yourself maybe holding a horror DVD and winking. Even better, create a logo of yourself reclining on a bed of horror DVDs. The nerds will go crazy for you although be prepared to be told off by many of them for incorrectly storing those precious Blu-rays.

6. Have a gimmick.

To be a huge horror blogging success, you need to have a gimmick which you will be remembered for. Obviously, dressing up as Elvira won't help you unless you are male, but we've already established that you are going to pretend to be female anyway. Oh, and remember that you always have to refer to men as "male" and women as "female" because it's more politically correct to do so.

Suggestions for your gimmick include: being a vegan, believing in UFOs, liking Nascar, wrestling, or cosplay. In fact, just about anything which the majority of the world thinks sucks could be your quirk as long as you promote it to the hilt in every review you write. For example, "When the jump scare happened, it was such a shock that I almost choked on my tofu burger and ended up being rushed to the hospital in my Stormtrooper outfit. Oh, how embarrassing!" You get two for one there plus points for being inoffensively self-deprecating.

7. Be self-deprecating.

The worst thing about being a horror blogger is having too much knowledge. It alienates your audience who all think that they are the supreme "Horror Aficionado" in the horror universe themselves. To keep your readers coming back for more, you have to dumb yourself down, make obvious mistakes, and poke fun at yourself for being so stupid as much as possible.

Although it's really difficult to pull this off unless you are actually dumb-as-a-crate-full-of-stupid, you can still achieve the same effect by getting the names of movie characters wrong. For example, "I loved how Jason killed everybody in the classic Friday the 13th from the '70s". When corrected on all three counts, just laugh it off in your comments section by saying you meant the remake but you're a girl.

Ask lots of questions at the end of every post you write to increase the illusion that you know nothing at all about the subject you've been writing about. People love that!

8. Be vulgar.

Everybody swears, but this is where you can be at your most creative. Only use traditional curse words, but put them in every other sentence. It's not as if you even know what you are talking about anyway, and your subscribers can barely read, so just throw the expletives randomly into your text and hope for the best if all else fails. Remember not to offend anybody by changing the last "g" to an apostrophe because that missing letter makes all the difference.

Never write the word "shit" in relation to any movie or actor's performance, and you will go far. You can, however, talk about the DVD case as being "sh*t" (remember the asterisk!) unless your gimmick is being an eco-case supporter.

If you are either pretending to be a girl or you are really a girl, you can also gain more readers by announcing your faux-lesbian attraction to the hot actresses in the latest horror movie. Nerds and pubescent schoolboys love this. Just confuse matters slightly by claiming to have a very temporary but committed boyfriend who thought the same, and then describe in inoffensive detail how hot you were together later. Watch your pageviews rocket!

9. Build a forum.

Although the comments sections may provide a huge amount of social networking, having a forum allows people to feel a very tribal sense of belonging. Make the forum really exclusive, and provide content on it such as videos of yourself smothered in indie horror DVDs or seductively eating tofu.

Don't spend too much time on that forum yourself though as you can rely on the internal popularity contests and cliques which form to provide you with lots of free content. Only endorse the opinions which agree with your own, harvest the latest news or gossip from the threads, and maybe offer a completely worthless prize such as a little crown on their avatar for whoever posts the most.

Occasionally, provide the masses with a trailer to a horror movie or a link to your latest one paragraph review with lots of pictures and you will be worshipped like a living god.

10. Watch at least three (but no more than six) horror movies.

Again, working on the fact that you are more likely to be promoted for being stupid than for having any knowledge, ironically, there have to be some horror movies which you know inside out and can refer to in every post. The more obscure these movies are the better although one must be easily recognisable. For example, "I just watched [insert movie name] and it was awesome even though [insert movie actor name] was playing the same role as [he/she] did in [insert specialist knowledge movie name]." Preface everything with, "In my humble opinion..." just so you never appear objective or able to recognise formulas, tropes or clich├ęs. Remember, you have to love everything no matter how unoriginal it is.

Suggestions for known movies include the "Halloween", "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchises because there are so many sequels to dip into that nobody will remember if you are right or wrong anyway.

If you are thinking of becoming a successful horror blogger, I hope these pointers will help you on your way. Also please remember to be nice to those on the way up because you don't know who will be writing sarcastic blogs about you on your way down.

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