Creating culturally relevant content is essential for connecting with diverse audiences. To help you achieve this, we’ve gathered 12 expert tips from professionals like Editors in Chief, CEOs, and Junior Digital Marketers. From using inclusive language to adapting to cultural context, these insights will guide you in crafting content that resonates with your audience.
- Use Inclusive Language
- Engage with the Community
- Expand Your Circle and Ask Questions
- Understand Audience Through Research
- Find Culturally Relevant Visuals
- Focus on Authenticity
- Search for Local Insights
- Center Marginalized Voices
- Respect Your Audience’s Values
- Reflect on Cultural Nuances and Values
- Prioritize Inclusivity and Diversity
- Adapt to Cultural Context
Use Inclusive Language
Kate Duske is an Editor in Chief providing a practice for creating culturally relevant content. “Culturally relevant content is critical for effectively engaging target audiences and building relationships. One best practice for creating this type of material is researching the cultures that are being represented.
An illustrative example would be to employ sensitive language choices—for instance, instead of saying “homeless,” use the more inclusive phrase “housing insecure.” This allows the audience to feel included and respected while validating their cultural identity as members of a shared society.”
Engage with the Community
Social Media Manager, Ethan Lloyd shares why engaging with the community is essential. “To adhere to the best practice, make sure that you are having an engaging discussion with members of the culture that you are creating content for. On and off camera, it is best to have a dialogue with members of the community that you are representing digitally.
I also like to keep in mind that video content is always more engaging than written text. Have fun during the process; this will radiate in the final product. Remember to be a student of the game and not just a teacher; it’s completely okay to have a discussion where you are looking for an answer if you don’t know it already.
Most importantly, never forget, you are a storyteller. Fall in love with the process of storytelling, and the rest will fall into place!”
Expand Your Circle and Ask Questions
Azmaira Maker, Ph.D. is a Founding Director sharing another insight for creating culturally relevant content. “My best advice for this is to look outside your circle and ask questions. I love attending networking events and hearing from people of different ethnic backgrounds. In order to stay relevant, it’s important to understand what makes people feel excluded culturally. To hear others’ perspectives and points of view and to take action accordingly.”
Understand Audience Through Research
Digital Marketing Consultant, Shumail Ur Rehman describes the importance of understanding your audience through research. “Understanding the culture of your target audience is paramount. This requires comprehensive research, which could include studying traditions, language, social norms, values, and historical context. When you understand your audience, you can create content that resonates with them, feels familiar, and is culturally sensitive.
This understanding allows you to avoid stereotypes and cultural appropriation, which can be seen as disrespectful and could harm your reputation. Instead, you can focus on cultural appreciation, which acknowledges and respects the differences and similarities that exist among people.
For instance, if you are developing content for a holiday season, you should be aware of the important holidays in your target audience’s culture and how they are celebrated.”
Find Culturally Relevant Visuals
Ben Lau is a Founder and gives a tip for creating culturally relevant content. “Incorporate culturally relevant visuals and graphics that resonate with your target audience. Research the cultural significance of symbols and colors, and avoid potential misinterpretation or offense. For example, using a family gathering image is appropriate for some cultures while not suitable for others.”
Focus on Authenticity
Executive Creative Director, Time Burke explains the significance about focusing on authenticity. “Be mindful of the B.S. radar. Brands, creators, and writers who aim to be “culturally relevant” often emit an odor of insincerity or contrived intentions. Some ways to combat this would be by dialing things back and focusing on authenticity. Being genuine matters with culturally relevant content.”
Search for Local Insights
Basana Saha is a Founder providing a practice for creating culturally relevant content. “When it comes to creating culturally relevant content, one of the best practices is to focus on local insights. This means taking the time to understand the cultural nuances, preferences, and values of the target audience.
Invest time in researching the target market, not just on a national level, but locally too; by speaking to people, attending events, and immersing oneself in the local culture. Understanding language, traditions, preferences, and worldviews are a key part of creating culturally relevant content. Incorporating this understanding in content creation can result in positive engagement and deeper connections with the audience.
By adapting to the audience, brands can demonstrate respect, establish credibility, and build a sense of community.”
Center Marginalized Voices
CEO, Brenton Thomas provides a tip to center marginalized voices. “One best practice for creating culturally relevant content is to center the voices of people from marginalized communities. This means giving them the opportunity to share their stories and experiences in their own words. It also means listening to their feedback and incorporating it into your work.”
Respect Your Audience’s Values
Tamara Carpenter is a Principal Consultant sharing another insight for creating culturally relevant content. “Culture is dynamic and nuanced, whether it be country, community, or corporate culture. Writing relevant cultural content starts with understanding the values of the target audience. Values speak to the “why” behind attitudes and behaviors. Exploring the underlying values of the target audience will provide greater clarity around their wants and needs and will offer guidance as to how to create content that will resonate.
Discovering and honoring the values of the target community is worth the investment of time and effort. Not only does it communicate intentionality and thoughtfulness, but it can also avoid embarrassing or costly mistakes.”
Reflect on Cultural Nuances and Values
Founder and Entrepreneur, Bayu Prihandito explains why reflecting on cultural nuances and values are ideal. “The best practice is to carefully understand, respect, and reflect on the cultural nuances, values, and beliefs of your target audience. This approach cultivates a genuine personal connection, as they feel understood. It further helps avoid making cultural mistakes in your content, preventing potential virality that could tarnish your brand’s reputation.”
Prioritize Inclusivity and Diversity
Sai Blackbyrn is a CEO describing a practice for creating culturally relevant content. “As a CEO, one best practice for creating culturally relevant content is to prioritize inclusivity and diversity in your content creation process. This involves taking the time to understand and respect the cultural nuances, values, and sensitivities of your target audience.
To create culturally relevant content, start by conducting thorough research and gaining insights into the cultural backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs of your audience. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of their preferences, interests, and perspectives.
Engage in active listening and seek feedback from individuals within the targeted cultural communities to ensure that your content resonates with them and avoids any unintentional cultural missteps.
Another important aspect is to ensure that your content reflects the diversity of your audience. This can be achieved by featuring diverse representations in your visuals, narratives, and stories. Incorporate different ethnicities, genders, and age groups.”
Adapt to Cultural Context
Junior Digital Marketer, Søren Jensen shares insight to adapt to cultural context. “Really, you have to know what kind of culture your content is aimed at. A hit will easily turn into a miss if you don’t know the audience of your niche or culture. The best practice is really understanding the cultural context. Context is everything.
You have to adapt your messaging as well as your visuals in order to align with the cultural context. You have to align your storytelling.
Research references and understand them in order to use them appropriately in your content.
Understanding the culture and the context properly helps you to engage properly—which helps you understand stereotypes as well as taboos.
By investing time and effort in understanding and respecting the culture you are targeting, you can create content that truly connects with your audience.”