Exploring the content strategy of ONE Championship

ONE Championship, the leading combat sports promotion across Asia, names itself as ‘the home of Martial Arts’. The company have over 45m social media followers alongside 4.67m YouTube subscribers, which has grown from their unorthodox methods of creating content, engaging with their fans alongside managing their communities. This blog will discover what makes ONE’s content strategy effective and how they utilise each platform to maximise impact alongside other tactics YOU can learn from to grow your brand.

Platform breakdown

Twitter

With over 1m followers, ONE’s content resume in the ‘Twittersphere’ is diverse. The majority of their content game consists of showcasing fight highlights, comparing fighting moves to one another, incorporating viral memes into their content alongside capturing training footage.

Each content stream adds value to its audience through a different avenue. For example, most content associated with fight highlights emphasises what the ONE brand represents. It’s a combat sports promotion that requires the fight game to be its most recognised identity.

Comparing different fighting moves is an effective way to capture the brand’s highest consumers’ attention. Fight fans are generally fascinated with how the athletes utilise other techniques during competition, and for this reason, ONE has executed this stream effectively.

Meme marketing is a key part of ONE’s content strategy. The reason is that memes have proven effective at tapping into the casual audience (beyond your core demographic) while being reactive to trends, enhancing brand awareness and engagement.

Training footage is another useful content pathway that brings fans closer to their favourite athletes. This is executed via giving them ‘behind-the-scenes’ coverage, which empowers personal and emotional connections through watching them train.

Instagram

ONE has a fairly larger following across Instagram with over 6m followers. However, their content appears replicated compared to their Twitter feed. Although, they distribute content differently through Instagram compared to Twitter, considering the diverse options with Reels, carousels, IG video and live.

Training footage similar to Twitter is largely distributed across Instagram Reels. On reels, this is proven where you can expand your reach to more casual and younger audiences, which is likely a target that ONE is following on this platform.

Fight highlights are often produced through IG video due to it appealing mostly to their core audience.

The most viewed content on ONE’s IG consists of training footage away from gyms or anywhere near the Octagon or ring. Ultimately, this emphasises the earlier point about combat sports consumers having a larger appetite for content, providing a unique perspective compared to what they’ve probably seen already.

TikTok

@onechampionship

Smilla Sundell is a FORCE to be reckoned with 😤 Can the Muay Thai phenom claim gold on 22 April? #ONEChampionship #MMA #MuayThai #Kickboxing #MartialArts

♬ will smith. – Eric Fernandes

On TikTok, ONE’s content is highly promoted through fight highlights utilised through features on TikTok. For example, the footage is dubbed regularly with popular audio sounds on the app alongside sound bites to form short skits.

@onechampionship

He ate those 🍽 Chingiz Allazov faces off against Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix World Champion Final on 26 March at ONE X! #ONEChampionship #ONEX #MMA #MuayThai #Kickboxing #MartialArts

♬ Stuck In The Middle – Tai Verdes

ONE’s most popular TikTok content consists of brutal fight highlights such as constant punches to demonstrate the opponent’s durability. Plus, occasions, where the fighters bring their children into post-fight interviews claim high volumes of viewership because of the emotional connections younger TikTok consumers have. Also, fighters showing respect is another piece of content gaining leverage understandably due to this being a key value within the sport.

To summarise, it’s identifiable that ONE’s purpose on TikTok is to create an additional vision for MMA that, despite its brutality, it’s a sport that a wider audience can consume.

YouTube

Most of ONE’s YouTube content involves fight highlights and fighter compilations alongside legacy storylines around fighters with similar personalities. ONE’s highest viewed YouTube clips involve fight highlights alongside compilations of some fighting styles in long-form.

YouTube shorts are also empowered where content surrounding fighter training footage, knockout/submission fight reels alongside promoting rivalries between fighters are their most popular formats.

Ultimately, ONE’s strategy with its YouTube channel is to act as a freehub for fight highlights with a hint of behind-the-scenes access for fans to enjoy.

Weibo

Weibo, also known as Sina Weibo, is termed a ‘microblogging website’, significantly gaining popularity across China. The platform is similarly set up to Twitter but is more popular in the Asian regions. ONE is hugely recognised across Asia as ‘the home of Martial Arts’ and has utilised the platform to receive 1.57m fans.

The content shared on Weibo isn’t necessarily different from other platforms. The majority of their distribution includes fight highlights in short form, similarly presented to how it is on Twitter.

An eye-catching element for ONE on Weibo is their engagement is stronger compared to Twitter. There’s a closer ratio between the number of likes and comments they receive, demonstrating a stronger community on Weibo. This is a lesson that is valuable to learn. It’s not a matter of building a significant following but a solid micro-audience that engages your brand.

Fan engagement initiatives

ONE has various methods behind its fan engagement strategy, which have been covered.

Their meme marketing approach distributes ONE-related content across other meme-related touchpoints, which stretches their content beyond solid MMA audiences. This has been a goal for ONE Championship. To further emphasise their efforts, they’ve even released a TV show called The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition. This show has 16 candidates participating in various MMA-related challenges to win a chance of earning a role to work at the ONE headquarters in Singapore. The show is watchable on Netflix in 150 countries. The show’s theme demonstrates the promotion’s desire to become recognised in the entertainment industry as much as the sporting sector.

ONE has also strategically used training footage to be a door opener for giving their fans behind-the-scenes access to their favourite athletes. Furthermore, it coincidentally provides the audience with an idea of what level of commitment and training it takes to become an MMA fighter.

ONE launching on Weibo is another example of brands needing to value-producing culturally sensitive content. The reason is it’s proven to be more valuable for empowering brand engagement and awareness through building micro-communities than following large followings.

Tone-of-voice

Per platform, ONE’s strategy to communicate with their fans differs slightly. Their tone of voice is most informative on Twitter, giving fans the latest updates relating to the promotion. On Instagram, you’ll experience ONE being more open with their captions and content captured to diversify the rise of their fighters. There’s a combination of Twitter and Instagram’s tone-of-voice on YouTube but with a more authentic perspective about their athletes through content creation. Weibo is similar to Twitter, relating to an informative style; however, ONE has expanded how they communicate with culturally sensitive terminologies to their region-specific demographic.

What can you learn from ONE Championship’s content strategy?

To summarise, ONE has many tools to build connections with its audience. However, below are the key points summarised when growing your brand.

  • Value the strategies which help you reach casual audiences beyond your current and main demographic. ONE utilises meme marketing to help themselves achieve this.
  • Prioritise cultural sensitivity via launching on a region-specific platform or specific content creation. ONE has achieved this via launching on Weibo to bridge their engagement closer with their Asian audience.
  • Strategically use content creation to enhance emotional connections with your audience, which gradually leads your fans to become invested in your brand. ONE delivers this via their content streams involving long-form YouTube content and sharing training footage.

What stood out for you with ONE Championship’s content strategy?

Published by Ash

I'm a First-Class Graduate in Sports Business Management who has worked across Local Government, Sport and the Third Sector. Throughout my career, I've developed a thriving passion to promote sport being used as a tool to bring positivity to the world we live in. This ethos has inspired me to create a website which champions this value through comprehensive online content for you to gain value from. Join me on this journey of discovering what sport can do to enhance society.

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