There is a curse that so many business owners have, and thankfully there is a way to break free from it.

What is this curse?

It’s the curse of knowledge and it’s when we talk in a way that goes Waaaaayyyyyy over the heads of our audience.

You don’t mean to do it but it’s hurting your marketing.

How do you know if you’re suffering from the curse of knowledge? How do you get rid of it if you have it?

Let’s find out.

Is is really that common for business owners to fall foul of the curse of knowledge?


Lee LeFever, author of the ‘Art of Explanation’ describes it as:

“The more you know about something, the harder it is to imagine what it’s like not to know.”

And I’ve seen many a business owner fall into the trap.

Heck! I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Why the curse of knowledge can be a bad thing for your marketing 

People like clear communication.

If you’re not easy to understand, people won’t listen to you or read what you’re putting out there.

They’ll tootle off and find someone who is clear and easy to understand.

Uh oh! Not what you want.

What can you do to overcome the curse of knowledge?

Overcoming the curse of knowledge is simple but it’s not super-easy.

You can’t turn off what you know about what you know.

But you can take a step back and simplify your words and your explanations.

Begin by thinking about your ideal client.

  • What assumptions are you making about their level of knowledge, what they know and understanding?
  • What’s their level of understanding? You may have an audience that ranges from complete beginners to peeps who really know their stuff.
  • Write for their level of understanding.
  • What are they really struggling with?
  • What are you assuming they are struggling with?
  • Are you writing to be understood or show off (even a little bit)? (You’re human so it can be tempting to showboat from time to time.
  • Are you using words your audience will understand?
  • Are you using too much jargon?


The Level of Knowledge Scale

Let’s have a wee look at the level of knowledge scale.

The scale is marked 1 to 10.

1 is low

10 is high

Where are you in terms of your areas of expertise, your knowledge, your skills and even your experiences?

It’s possible you’re going to be say a 7 on the scale. Even higher.

Where is your ideal client on the scale?

They could be anything between 1 to 2 or as high as a 4. Even higher.

Know where they are.

How to avoid the curse of knowledge in your marketing?

Are you confusing the reader or helping them see the wood for the trees and bringing clarity and hope?

From your website, your blogs, your social media posts etc and ask yourself if you’re meeting your clients where they are or where you are.

Tips to avoid the curse of knowledge in your marketing:

  • Use clear, simple and easy to understand words and language
  • Avoid jargon
  • Read your words out loud
  • Come back to your writing with fresh eyes – leave it and come back to it a day or so after you’ve written it
  • Ask for feedback – get someone you trust to read it. Can they understand it?
  • Once it’s out there notice what comments or questions you get from your audience. Do they understand? 


In Summary

Your audience craves clear communication.

They don’t want to spend time working out what you mean.

Remember what Mark Schaefer says:

The most human company wins!


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