Relatability and relevance are key qualities in effective content. But, both can cause headaches for companies, too.
- How do you relate to such a diverse mass of humanity that assembles in social media channels each day?
- How do you know what people think is relatable or relevant?
- How do you present relatable and relevant content in a way that makes people stop and listen?
The answer to all of the above is simple…
Don’t. Over. Think. It.
People are strange. Yeah…you, too.
People are actually not all that different from each other (Even though our brains try to convince us that we’re the only person on the planet who has ever known such heartache, joy or embarrassment.)
The similarities between humans has served as the basis for comedy routines since the beginning of time. For example, have you ever had the following happen to you?
- You do something that makes you feel ridiculous and unusual.
- Later, you watch a comedy routine in which the comedian mentions that behavior.
- Everyone in the audience bursts out laughing at the joke, nodding furiously.
- You look around at all those laughing people and think, “Wow, I thought I was the only one who did that.”
No, you’re not the only one.
From how we fall in love, to our approach to day-to-day activities, to the way we build our careers — humans are awfully predictable. That makes for good material not just for comedians, but communications pros, too.
Finding the middle ground.
However, when companies try to translate these similarities to their communications content, they usually miss the boat.
Either they try to reach everyone in the universe by appealing to the lowest common denominator,* like this…
Or, they make their content so industry-specific, so uniquely relevant that they leave the fun (which is the relatable part) out of the equation entirely, like this…
Instead, they should shoot for the middle ground, like this…
While this sentiment is still generic, it moves beyond like-bait pandering. It is relatable to people who watch a lot of YouTube video, but not so specific that it isolates people who may not be watching videos about your industry, in particular.
The art of relating.
To find topics that fit this middle ground, poll your customers/clients or your employees. Also, stop yourself the next time you’re thinking, “Man, I hate it when [blank] happens…” and investigate that behavior.
Next, marry those ideas with great imagery (this is a “must-do,” and is not optional) to create some sort of graphic or video that can attract attention and quickly set the scene for your audience. Then, release that content into the wild.
Love it or hate it, this content will at least give you something to talk about with your social communities.
For example, if a person said, in response to the image above, “Actually, I rather like to sit through those five second videos,” then, you could…
- Ask, “Really? I’ve never met anyone who has said that. That’s really interesting. Can you tell me what it is that you like about them?”
- Back peddle on your thesis and say, “Well, maybe I’m speaking for too many of us. Anyone else agree with Tom that’s there’s some merit to video ads?”
- Open a new topic and say, “You know, that brings up an interesting point. I just Googled the stats on video ads, and it looks like only X% of people watch them. So, if most of us aren’t as tolerant as Tom, then why do you suppose companies still buy these ad spots?”
No matter what course of action you take, just be sure not to offend or alienate — both of which can be tempting when you’re trying to establish any sort of “people are all alike” theme.
We may be similarly human, but we’re still unique individuals too, worthy of respect. That’s the most relatable and relevant message of all.
*To see really great examples of companies shooting for the lowest common denominator, check out Condescending Corporate Brand Page.