ThaoNguyen Tran-Ngo

Oct 6, 2021

5 min read

How Webtoon Teaches Me About Content Marketing Better Than A University Degree

Content Marketing in short, is the art of telling story. And Webtoon (digital comic) is one of the epitomes of digital story telling. So what can you learn from a business that sells content to do better content marketing?

Courtesy of Hariheen/Mokgamgi from “Tricked into Becoming the Heroine’s Stepmother”.

This article is my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of any organization I associate with. There is no affiliate link in this article.

Why I am credible to talk about this topic? Graduated with a major degree in Marketing with a career of 6-years span as marketing expert (you can find more of my credential here), I have learnt these valuable lessons the hard ways — trials and errors. Here is how Webtoon helps me shortening my learning journey to do better content marketing; and I hope it can help you too.

Great story needs context

“Content is king” is forever right. But with the evolution of it, good content is no longer an edge, it is a norm. Especially with the businesses like Webtoon whom monetize on their contents, having good contents are no longer the solution to save their legs in the game.

So how do they thrive?

It is like planning a tree. First you find the healthy seed, then you create an environment to help it grow big. If the seed is great content, the environment here is the context. With Webtoon, their elaboration of background elements to groom the content is excellent. From the settings, the point-of-view, the clear color palette for each scene to even the soundtrack to accompany the chapters, they altogether create a well-rounded environment for us to learn more about the characters’ development.

Courtesy of Ink. and Hyerim Sung, from “From A Knight, to a Lady".

What context is doing here, is creating a conditioning environment and associative cues. Context makes learning journey happens — whether it is for learning a character’s motives, or a product benefits.

Scientific facts to back it up: You can read more here on context in conditioning associative learning experiments of Pavlov and Skinner.

Great story needs vulnerability (and how to use it to leap forward)

Have you ever felt skeptical of some marketing claims that make the product sounds like it is a miracle from Mars? As marketers, often time, we create the claims to fan the flame of desire — or in plain word, tell story that makes people buy.

But often time in the race of outdone our competitors, we create this fantasy of perfection and forget that going in extreme in one direction is the fastest way to plan the seed of skepticism. This epiphany first came to me when I was doing a marketing plan for my employer’s new facial serum, the more stories of how great this product is, the more I feel like it is missing. Because we all know, no product is perfect, but rather the product should be branded as “the best stage it can be, given current advancement”.

And in that time I realized that building a product’s marketing story is no different than a webtoon character. A character of perfection, of no vulnerability is a flat character, and cannot hook your viewers. Showing vulnerability is not a weakness. Showing vulnerability is in fact, a strength because after all, no one will believe in an almighty figure anymore (especially when well-rounded information is at the tip of their fingers). When you know your weakness, you know the answer to the right solution (and sometimes, you do sell that solution. In my case, the serum’s weakness is although it hydrates deeply, it does not have oil to retain moisture. So we sell moisturizer with it).

Courtesy of New lung, Dimang and Baridal, from The Newlywed Diary
of a Witch and a Dragon

Scientific fact to back it up: You can read more here; or read a snippet of what a professor of organizational behavior at Harvard, Jeff Bozer has to say on it.

“People tend to think of vulnerability in a touchy-feely way, but that’s not what’s happening. It’s about sending a really clear signal that you have weaknesses, that you could use help. And if that behavior becomes a model for others, then you can set the insecurities aside and get to work, start to trust each other and help each other. If you never have that vulnerable moment, on the other hand, then people will try to cover up their weaknesses, and every little microtask becomes a place where insecurities manifest themselves.”

Webtoon platforms you can check out (with English contents):




My current favorites (click on the title for more details):

1. Tower of God

Genre: Fantasy

What it talks about: What do you desire? Money and wealth? Honor and pride? Authority and power? Revenge? Or something that transcends them all? Whatever you desire — it’s here.

2. Happily Ever Afterwards

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

What it talks about: What would you do if you were reborn as a character from your favorite romance novel? For Peony, an avid fan of “The Song of Askar,” the answer is simple: Marry her favorite character, of course! Reincarnated as the princess of the Kingdom of Garten, Peony is determined to marry Richt, the second male lead of “The Song of Askar” and former prince of the Fairspren Empire, who was banished to an inhospitable land after the novel’s happy ending (which didn’t end so well for him). Amidst trials and tribulations, can Peony and Richt make the most of their second chance at life and love?

3. I’ll Save This Damned Family

Genre: Fantasy

What it talks about: They walked over me. Now I rule over them.

After being murdered, Yeonwoo is reincarnated as Tara Elias, the unremarkable and incompetent 5th daughter of the Elias family. How will Tara Elias, the nobody of the family, save the entire household from its grisly ending and become the ruler of the kingdom?

4. Friday Forbidden’s Tales

Genre: Thriller

What it talks about: Every Friday, forbidden tales will be revealed.