Stop and think for a moment about your favourite blogs, YouTube channels or television series.
What is it that you find interesting enough to spend your time watching or reading?
Aside from the nature of the content (which may be interesting, educating, entertaining or inspiring), chances are that you can relate to the creators and their stories in some way.
Maybe it's the style of the content that keeps you coming back. Or the character's quirky personality. It could just be the presenter's wit or charm. Or the fact you share their worldview on life.
In contrast, think about content you find boring or inspiring, or the content creators you just can't stand. They make you bounce away and click the back button in a flash.
The difference between these two groups of content is relatability.
So clearly, it's important to create relatable content your readers will love. And these 10 rules below will help you make sure that you do.
(1) Communicate with your audience the way they like to communicate
Talk or write in a language and tone that resonates with your audience. Use common phrases, slang words and the type of humour that they would use themselves. This is why it's so important to get to know your audience inside out.
(2) Educate, entertain and inspire through your content
This is a bit of a no-brainer really. You'll have to ask yourself why you're creating content at all if it doesn't educate, entertain or inspire.
(3) Express your core values and your "why"
Human beings are naturally drawn to those who share the same values. So don't be shy about sharing yours. It will give people a reason to rally around what you stand for.
(4) Be Personal
Don't be afraid to share information about who you are. Not just the work-related stuff, but the little things that make you YOU. Your audience will enjoy learning more about who you are and what inspires you.
For example, sharing that you're feeling 'out of sorts' because you've had to take your dog to the vets shows your readers your human side. Things like this are problems your audience can relate to.
Even when things go wrong, it's ok to share. As long as you focus on providing inspiration, education or entertainment, you'll be unlikely to over-share.
(5) Use imagery
It's a cliche but it's true. A picture does paint a thousand words. Sometimes it's much easier to convey emotions through images and even GIFs*.
*GIFS are moving images (memes) that demonstrate a point and convey emotion. They are often humorous and can be clips of well known phrases, lines in movies, human or cartoon expressions. You can find GIFs at places like Giphy.
For example, I used this Winnie the Pooh GIF to illustrate the feeling of getting stuck in this blog post.
(6) Focus on topics your audience cares about
Aside from those moments when you're sharing a little about yourself, you should always deliver content your audience cares about. Don't just talk about everything and anything that comes into your mind. Nobody wants to be at the receiving end of a brain dump!
(7) Tell them why it matters
Your audience doesn't want to have to work hard at being educated, inspired or entertained. So even if you think they know why you're sharing a specific piece of content, let them know the reason why anyway. It just makes things a little smoother for your audience.
(8) Invoke emotions
If you focus on entertaining, educating and inspiring your audience, this should naturally work out for you anyway. But it doesn't hurt to check that your content should make your audience feel something, not least because conveying emotion is the greatest way to connect with others.
(9) Be helpful
Unhelpful content is just noise. There's enough noise out there already.
(10) Give examples in your content
Giving examples helps your audience 'get' what it is you're attempting to say. For example, see how I used an image when I talked about using images earlier? And of course, I've just used an example here 5 seconds ago.
Giving examples is particularly important if you're trying to explain complex concepts. It's a helpful thing to do and makes it easier for your audience to consume and consolidate their understanding of your content.
It may seem there's a lot to remember in order to create relatable content but it's really quite simple: Give your readers what they want to read about. Use words and phrases they understand. And share your experience and expertise in a helpful and authentic way.