K-pop is King of Content

  • November 15, 2016
  • Abby O'Connor

In 1996, Bill Gates declared, “Content is King.” His article, published on the Microsoft website, predicted that content would rule the Internet, giving companies of all sizes the opportunity to inform and entertain. He explained that content couldn’t just be words on a screen, but that people should be “rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.” He said that we would need “audio, and possibly video.” And he was right.

Two decades later, content is one of the most valuable tools in a marketer’s arsenal. Businesses know now, more than ever, that creating consistent and engaging content is vital in keeping the modern consumer’s attention. Social media, in particular, throws that need into overdrive, as we’ve trained ourselves to consume a constant stream of information, at carpal tunnel-inducing speeds.

So what does that have to do with Korean pop music?

I’m drawn to entertainment that requires a deep dive into vast amounts of information – I want to know everything there is to know about any given thing that I like. The more content to consume, the better. And so I found myself marveling at the K-pop industry and its ability to crank out mass amounts of high-quality material. There’s audio, and there’s most definitely video. So cheers to Bill Gates of 1996.

While not everyone agrees with the business practices of the industry, South Korean entertainment companies have mastered the secret recipe to attain and hold onto an audience. Quality gets people hooked, and quantity keeps them coming back for more. Toss out the idea of “quality over quantity,” and take on the challenge of quality AND quantity. Buckle up, this is the K-pop formula.

First, stop them from scrolling. You have to catch viewers’ or readers’ attention with a kickass piece of work. In K-pop, everything from music videos, teasers, physical albums, live performances, choreography, and even stage hair and makeup is engaging, creative, and executed with expert skill. So much so that the genre’s content appeals to a global audience, despite a language barrier. (In the past three years, there have been K-pop concerts held across five continents.)

While catching an audience’s attention can be achieved with bright hair color and perfectly synchronized dancing, I’d recommend a different approach for most businesses’ content marketing strategies. Consider with whom you’re trying to speak, then deliver what will wow them. Is it a deep-dive article, sprinkled thoroughly with research findings? A shareable infographic with cutting-edge insights on an industry trend? Thoughtful and engaging imagery and video? Or maybe a perfectly timed tweet with just the right message. Whatever is it, it has to be really freakin’ good.

Now you’re ready for quantity – this is where the legends are separated from the one-hit wonders. Since debuting in 2007, K-pop group Girls’ Generation has released eight studio albums, four EPs, 28 singles,13 video albums, and 44 music videos in three different languages. Not to mention countless TV and radio shows, concert tours, and individual group member releases. And that’s just one group within one entertainment company.

The point is, to find real success in content strategy, you need consistent, quality work. Dropping a five-star piece of content on your audience and then going silent for weeks won’t cut it. Find a good cadence – maybe even think of it as “programming” instead of just one-off pieces of content – and commit to the quantity aspect of the equation. Your audience will keep coming back for more if you keep serving up golden eggs.

A proper content strategy is a hefty undertaking. It requires considerable commitment and resources to heed great results. And while “quality over quantity” is a fine place to start, it can be dangerous to get comfortable in that mindset. Continue to push both your quantity and quality standards – and maybe even consider some bright blue hair dye and eyeliner if you’re really committed to the K-pop model.