10 Proven Ways To Make Your Content More Relatable [+ Examples To Boost Engagement]
One of the top reasons content needs to be relatable is to create deep emotional connections with your audience. Relatable content proves that you know your audience and their pain points. It proves that you are equipped to offer a solution.
If you don’t know your audience, you can’t know what they want. And if you don’t know what they want, you can't create the content you need in order to build trust.
So what does ‘relatable content’ mean exactly? Is it enough to know that your customers are unhappy with their current situation and looking for an alternative (your brand)?
Not quite. In order to tap into your audience's emotions and connect with them (which you need to do if you want them to trust you), you need to prove that you understand what they're feeling.
That’s why brands that create relatable content always do better. Let’s look at how.
10 ways to make your content more relatable
1. Create story-driven content
Telling stories is how we create connections with each other, which is why humans have been doing it since the beginning of time.
Marketing is all about telling stories through content. And because it’s the most natural and relatable way to connect with people, brands that tell more, sell more.
UK-based chocolate brand Maltesers is a great example of brands that have mastered content-based storytelling. If you look through their marketing and advertising history, you’ll find tons of emotion-grabbing content that resonates deeply with their customers.
In the UK, Maltesers’ campaigns have always been talking points—in the office, at home or at school (Brits will remember trying to gobble up a Malteser chocolate using a straw while their boss/teacher/parent wasn’t looking).
For example, in 2016, Maltesers uncovered that 80% of people with disabilities feel largely underrepresented by TV and mainstream media. To tell the story, the brand created a series of adverts inspired by real-life stories by people with disabilities, sharing some of the most universally awkward situations non-disabled people may not know about.
The message behind the ads was to show viewers that we can all break down universal barriers and normalise change by acknowledging and embracing those awkward yet funny moments.
57% of customers said Maltesers changed the way they saw disability.
2. Take a stance on social issues
You know that you need to create deeper relationships with your audience and build a community in order to grow your business.
But creating great content isn’t enough. It’s not a marketing tactic because it should always be your default practice and besides, it’s what customers expect. So, what else can you do to get closer to your audience?
We live in a society where topics that have always been too taboo for businesses to talk about, are now becoming dinner conversation. Fast.
Climate change, immigration, racism, healthcare, homophobia—people are talking about it and they want you to talk about it too.
This new territory means that customers expect the brands they buy from to support the causes they care about.
If there’s a social issue you genuinely care about, talk to your audience about it. Voice your opinion, share quality resources and build a community that resonates with you.
Taking a stance on important issues makes you human, as long as you’re thoughtful and respectful with your message.
One thing to remember: timing and place can be just as (if not more) important as the message itself.
In other words, don’t jump on a social justice bandwagon just because it’s trending—it’s dishonest and you’ll get called out.
Instead, support relevant causes that relate to your brand’s mission and values. Take a stand, speak on it, act on it where you can and show your audience you care about more than your bottom line.
3. Write like a real human
“If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on extra deliverables, incentivise them to leverage a new tool to enable them to win low-hanging fruit.”
Nobody speaks like that. You don’t, I don’t and your audience certainly don’t.
The first rule of creating content that real people actually like to read?
Write like a human!
That means writing closer to how you speak. If you wouldn’t use “traction” in a verbal sentence, cut it out of your content. Use contractions. Most people wouldn’t say “We are so happy you have chosen us” in real life. But they probably would say, “We’re so happy you’ve chosen us!”
See the difference?
Use shorter sentences. Get to your point quickly. Don’t be afraid to use your real voice, and leave out the convoluted jargon that most people just don’t understand.
Whether you’re crafting blog posts, writing advertising copy or sending newsletters, think of one person in your audience (your perfect customer) who really wants to hear what you have to say, and write to that person. Keep these questions in mind:
Who are you talking to?
How are you helping them right now?
Why is this topic so important to them?
What do you need them to do next?
4. Be upfront with your sales intention
When was the last time you read a blog post that you thought was going to be super informative and solve all your problems, only to get halfway through and realise it was just a thinly-veiled sales pitch?
Nobody wants to feel duped. Make sure your readers never feel that way by simply being upfront about why you’re writing that blog post.
If you have an action you want the reader to take, the biggest mistake you can make is in assuming they don’t want to take it. They’re reading your content, aren’t they?
Let’s say you’re a furniture brand selling memory-foam mattresses. You want to kick off your blog with an article to highlight the difference between regular mattresses, and your amazing, second-to-none memory-foam.
Rather than just listing all the reasons why you think regular mattresses suck, you could try something like:
“Our customers are always telling us how much their sleep has improved since they bought our memory-foam mattress. We love them too but we know memory-foam isn’t for everyone. To help choose the right mattress for you, we’ve rounded up 10 brands we think you might like, so you can make the best decision.”
Be upfront with your interest early on, and when you eventually ask them to take that step (whether it’s signing up to a newsletter or making a purchase), they won’t be caught off-guard.
5. Give your content creators a voice
While every business blog should have some basic style guidelines, if more than one person is behind your content, they should all have a little room to shine.
Within those style guide boundaries, encourage contributors to use their natural voice.
Have them share anecdotes and personal experiences to inject more life into the content so readers know they’re talking to a real person and not a business.
It’ll be tough at first—finding your voice in content if you’ve always thought buttoned-up corporate was the right way—isn’t easy. But once you get into the rhythm (along with anyone else who creates your content), you’ll realise that not only is it so much easier to write like yourself, but people reading it will enjoy it more too.
6. Share content in different mediums
If you don’t like video or fun infographics, you’re a liar.
In 2021 and the written word isn’t the only way people want to access their content. If you’re only ever writing 2,000+ word blog posts without images or videos or infographics, you’re going to put a whole lot of people to sleep.
Think back to school when you learned about the different types of learners—visual, sound, written language and first-hand experience.
With content, you can tap into all of those.
That means you can resonate with almost every type of learner, with your own content and a well-planned strategy.
Because while high-quality long-form content performs better than shorter articles, you still need to add some spice into the mix.
For example, if you're adding images into a blog post, use images that give extra value to the reader, rather than stock images that exist only to break up space. Canva is an easy and free tool anyone can use to whip up an eye-catching graphic for your blog.
And if there’s a topic you want to revisit or expand on, repurposing is your best friend.
Take a long-form blog post that performed well and turn it into a snazzy and shareable infographic. Got a whole bunch of data about your customers? Whip it into an easy-to-read graph or chart to share the key takeaways in your next newsletter. Here’s a guide on how to repurpose your best content to reach more customers.
If you give your audience multiple ways to access your content, you instantly set yourself apart from the competition.
7. Create a conversation (don't rant)
Some of the best pieces of content I’ve ever read has had me nodding my head and banging my desk like “YES, I know, right?!”
Content that makes you forget you’re reading from a screen and not talking to a real person happens when you create a back-and-forth conversation with the reader.
A blog post, in particular, can quickly become a one-way speech but you can change that simply by asking questions.
As you’re telling your story, simply ask your reader a few questions. Your goal isn’t to dump info on your customers, but to create a dialogue with them. That’s why it’s important to give them moments here are there to stop, think and internally answer your question as they would if they were talking to you in real life
You want to bring the reader into a conversation and create a two-way exchange.
And in some cases, you might want to ask a question that you already know your reader will agree with, as a way to say, ‘hey, there’s more of that coming right up if you keep on reading’.
8. Learn about sales funnels (and create appropriate CTAs)
Until recently, marketers thought if you didn’t jump at your reader at the end of an article and push them to buy, they’ll just go somewhere else.
Thankfully, we now know that’s just not true.
There are different stages of a person’s sales cycle called a sales funnel, and it’s your job to nurture them through that process. A sales funnel ranks your prospects in order of how ready they are to become a customer.
Depending on where your prospect is on the sales funnel, you’ll want different CTAs to suit them. Let’s say you sell coffee makers and you’ve shared a blog post titled “12 Tips To Make A Better Coffee Every Morning”. Chances are, someone reading that just wants to know how to make better coffee, which would make a CTA like “Compare Top French Presses Now” too pushy and inappropriate.
If on the other hand, you’ve shared a post titled “RoundUp: 10 Most Affordable High-Scale French Presses Right Now”, it’s safe to say that reader is looking to buy a french press coffee maker. Your CTA could directly ask for the sale.
Hubspot shared a great overview of the different types of CTA you should try on your blog that goes into lots of detail with clear examples.
9. Bring on a journalist (or start thinking like one)
Remember when we spoke about taking a stance of social issues? One of the best things about content marketing is that it gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise on a subject and become a thought leader.
For many people, news in the form of content feels more valuable than when it comes from a news outlet. Why? Mostly because a lot of people simply don’t trust the news.
But also because brands that comment on current trends or societal issues tend to go into much more personal and invested detail. They might be an authoritative source on a particular issue because it relates to their brand. LEGO on the plastic debate, for example.
Create content about topical news that relates back to your brand or values and share your expertise with an even wider audience. It’s how people start turning to you for advice, or regularly checking your newsletters to see what you’ve commented on last.
10. Share user-generated content
One of the top benefits of user-generated content is that it provides automatic social proof for your brand. It shows three valuable things:
You have a product/service worth talking about
You have dedicated fans who care about your brand
You’ve built an enthusiastic community through social media
An obvious example of how powerful user-generated content can be is Airbnb. Just take a quick look at their Instagram account to see that they’ve practically stopped creating their own content. Almost everything they share is user generated and focuses on creating emotional connections.
Not only do customers simply trust user-generated content more than the content created by brands, but it also adds an extra vulnerability to a brand’s image, which customers appreciate
Other customers will talk about your brand in an uncensored, raw way that you probably won’t, and that helps other people paint a clearer picture. And customers will always trust other customers more than you. Sorry.
Not sure how to encourage user-generated content? Check out these 14 user-Generated Content Examples.
Win loyal customers with relatable content
Creating content your audience will connect with is tough, and even the most seasoned copywriters and marketing experts struggle from time to time!
But if you want to build a dedicated and engaged community, creating relatable content is one of the few methods that actually work, as long as you take the steps necessary to tap into your audience’s emotions.
Ready to take the next step but not sure what kind of content you should create? Here's a free "how to" blog post template you can use for your first blog post.