Would you listen to a song if it’s not in English?
If the singer doesn’t fit the mold of a global star, would you lend an ear?
When you think of international music icons, the celebrities that come to mind are mostly Western, right? Not anymore. The Koreans are here.
Their songs aren’t in English, and lots of them don’t even speak English, yet they’ve seduced the world. The K-pop music industry is huge, and the K-Pop invasion is undeniably a phenomenon.
What does that have to do with you? Here are some key insights freelance bloggers can learn from the K-Pop invasion…
Take Time To Prepare
- K-Poppers start the groundwork early: at a young age they start training to master their craft.
- They hone their craft seriously: K-Pop uses apprenticeship as the main strategy for equipping group acts and solo artists with voice, dance and language skills.
- They supplement their skills: K-Pop artists often also get involved in movies, soap operas, event management, talent management or stage directing.
How about you? Are you ready to compete in the flooded market of freelance blogging? What can you do to win?
Enrol in journalism classes or writing courses; read books, magazines and blogs, and absorb all the information you can about this business. Freelance writing is hard work, so you need to learn the essentials to get through the initial phases of your career.
You’ll learn about the theories behind the scenes of good writing practice. Why an active writing voice works wonders and a passive one doesn’t. Why sentences work better one way than another and how to use transitional sentences to carry the reader from one paragraph to the next.
Enhance your craft, sharpen your skill and that will help enlarge your professional territory.
Offer Something Others Can’t
K-Pop artists’ product is unique and they’re the only producers.
When they record a song, they’re meticulous about every minute detail of the production: the musical arrangement, musicians who’ll play, right through to the post production.
Take a cue from their great attention to detail. That’s how they create catchy refrains and melodies that stick in your brain–the same effect you want your blog posts to have on your audience.
When writing a post, work out a plan to make sure you cover the essentials:
- writing voice
- rapport with your audience
I know the whole process is tedious. You have to painstakingly go through the checklist to make sure you have a hit.
Tailor Your Marketing to the Target
K-Pop is an amalgamation of projects in different kinds of media: TV, radio, fashion, magazines, and the internet.
Lee Soo-man, founder of the South Korean music label and talent agency S. M. Entertainment, conceptualized ‘Cultural Technology. It’s a 3-step process for promoting K-pop overseas. Look at the 3 steps:
- Export cultural products (the singers) and field them in different countries. Insight: as a blogger, pitch your posts to different sites to gain exposure to a wider audience.
- Create collaborations internationally. Insight: befriend other bloggers in your niche and related niches to widen your influence.
- Package singers’ images and styles, tailored to the country they engage. This strategy targets specific audiences in the most effective way. Insight: tailor each post to fit the blog and touch the audience in a special way.
Koreanovelas, as they are known today, have invaded the whole of Asia and stretched their fame to the western world. All of these factors contribute to K-Pop’s fame.
You must use all possible avenues to promote your blogging work–social media marketing, email marketing, link building, networking with other writers, guest blogging, content marketing, SEO, video marketing, and community building. Radio has been neglected; it might be old but it’s still a potent medium, adds to your credibility, and builds up your brand.
The combination of all these media efforts creates a synergy that can build your reputation as a pro freelance blogger.
K-Pop artists are not afraid to show who they really are. These artists and groups are bold.
They’re not afraid to sing in their own language. Listen to “Gangnam Style”, which is listed as the 25th best song of 2012 by Rolling Stones magazine; you’ll notice there are only a few English lyrics. Most of it is in Korean.
They have bold hairstyles that look different and attractive; it intensifies their appeal and sustains their popularity among fans. Looks are a big part of their packaging and for the most part, it rocks.
Let’s be honest, unique and brave acts always gain attention. So, be bold…
- With your website design. Don’t be afraid to use bold shapes and colors, or use black and white and nothing else.
- With your blog post structure. Use phrases instead of sentences to convey thoughts. Try using bullet points for 80% of your post. Don’t be scared to experiment.
- With words. Use colloquial expressions if appropriate or even foreign words. Make sure of one thing though; tell your audience what those words mean.
- With your marketing strategy. In my query letters, I always give a link to my blog. It’s a marketing tool that can work in ways you never expected. For example, I mentioned in my about page that I own a German Shepherd; a prospect saw that, took it as a sign I’m a good pick (she’s a German shepherd lover too) and hired me.
Find ways to market your business in uncharted territories. Boldness pays.
Push the Boundaries
I know it’s a cliché but “thinking outside the box” is the best way I can describe it. These K-Pop artists are outside the box. They don’t fit the mould of global superstars, yet they capture the imagination of the world.
Their quirky looks are irresistible. Their moves and tunes are somewhat similar to their western counterparts, but they have a unique style that has enthralled the global audience. They absolutely don’t belong to the norm.
As a freelance blogger, venturing out of the mould can help you get noticed.
This means doing your best to produce unique work all the time. Yep, it entails great amounts of effort to be different, but we might as well not write if we don’t have something new to offer. Just make sure your uniqueness charms, rather than alienates, your audience.
Keep It Fresh
K-Pop is always fresh and served hot. We’ve never heard songs like theirs. Their tunes captivate our senses. Their production technology amazes even tech gurus.
They innovate with that insatiable urge to create. They work hard to come up with new songs, new videos on YouTube, new hairstyles, new bands.
What can we learn from this?
Bloggers are required to come up with fresh ideas. It’s part of the creative life. We might have the same point but please—have a different angle. We might have the same story but tell it another way.
Work hard, think and squeeze your creativity till it hurts. [I hope I don’t sound masochistic there. ;)] Express it in your own style and have fresh ideas all the time to stir your reader’s mind.
K-Pop stars go through rigorous training for years, testing their determination to succeed. PSY’s energetic moves captured the world only after years of K-Pop’s anonymity in the western music scene.
The world is full of bloggers who, if they could have persevered just a bit more, would have increased rates and have become sought after bloggers. Unfortunately, these writers gave up after several tries. Lack of determination killed their dreams.
We’ve heard it enough but it’s always good to remind ourselves–never give up. Show up to work even when you’re sick; when you’re not in the mood. That’ll see you through the hard times and make your success much sweeter.
Determination is your friend.
Your reward is waiting.