In a crowded Korean beauty space, the key to standing out is content — at least that’s the hope of K-beauty brand Soko Glam. On Wednesday, the company relaunched its editorial platform , The Klog, with a new look and logo, and a ramped-up focus on skin-care education.
“People want to be more savvy about their skin-care routines and the ingredients they use,” said Soko Glam co-founder Charlotte Cho.
The Klog started in 2012 as part of Soko Glam’s e-commerce site, which curates and sells over 45 K-beauty brands. It was spun into its own site in 2016. Until the relaunch, Cho mainly used it to share Korean beauty techniques she had learned over the years, and in the process, she built a community of dedicated readers. But more importantly, the editorial platform helped gain potential customers. “That really helped Soko Glam grow so much, because people needed to have the education behind skin care to really understand how to use the products,” said Cho. Cho declined to share any sales or revenue figures but said Soko Glam’s website sees millions of unique visitors a month.
When Cho first went to spin The Klog into its own website, people told her it was a terrible idea, she said. “The said SEO is so much better when you have [your editorial platform] housed on the site you’re trying to get great SEO on,” she said. “Plus, you don’t want to lead people out of the checkout experience.” But Cho wanted to create educational content and said the content site feels more authentic when not linked to an e-commerce site (although about 75% of the products featured on The Klog are sold on Soko Glam).
The Klog currently has over 500,000 unique visitors a month and is growing daily, according to Cho. A lot of that readership is driven through Instagram, where the editorial platform has 112,000 followers. Posts typically pose questions to the reader and drive them to the site for answers (like the best vitamin C products or the best sleeping mask for their skin type) through the link in the The Klog’s bio. Readers also come to the site through “organic SEO traffic,” Cho said.
With 75% of The Klog’s readers visiting the site through mobile, Cho said it was important for the updated site to have a mobile-first approach. With the focus on skin care, it features many ways for consumers to search for their perfect skin-care routine. “You’re able to search for articles based on skin type, skin concerns and skin goals,” said Cho. “Everyone that comes to the site will be able to tailor their education through specific buckets.”
Soko Glam’s move to focus more on content isn’t a new trend in the beauty space. Violet Grey recently started to ramp up its editorial platform, Violet Flies, and announced it was hiring a director of media and partnership sales. Other brands from Goop to Net-a-Porter have also relied on content platforms to drive business growth.
The shift also reflects a larger trend in the K-beauty world of brands transforming beyond K-beauty to remain relevant to U.S. consumers. Brands including Memebox and Cho’s Soko Glam have done that in recent months by launching products through private-label beauty brands (I Dew Care and Then I Met You, respectively).
“There are so many of these K-beauty sites that are out there right now that a lot of these brands are trying to diversify. Some of these companies are going to have a difficult time staying relevant [in the U.S.],” said Alison Gaither, beauty reports analyst at market intelligence agency Mintel.
Competition to stand out among consumers continues to heat up as the skin-care market grows. In South Korea, facial skin-care comprises over half of the beauty market share, and global skin care is expected to reach $7.2 billion in retail sales by 2020, per Mintel.
“Everyone is trying to figure out how to create a meaningful brand and meaningful content, and build a community,” said Cho. “We’ve been able to accomplish that, and we’ve doubled down on education and are continuing to invest in this space to grow that.”
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