Blogging and The Curse of Knowledge

by Admin on September 30, 2011

In a 2007 book titled Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, the authors promoted the concept of: The Curse of Knowledge. Simply stated the Curse of Knowledge says: the better we know or understand a subject or idea, the less able we are to clearly communicate or explain that idea or subject to others.

Studies have shown that the better we know something, the more difficult it is for us to imagine not knowing it. If we can’t imagine ourselves not knowing it, we can’t imagine others not knowing it. So we become poor communicators because we assume a knowledge base that our audience doesn’t have. Think about the egghead professor who can’t give you a comprehensible answer to a question on his subject. Her vast knowledge and experience renders her unable to fathom how little you really know. We are all like the egghead professor in our areas of expertise.

So how does this relate to blogging? In two ways:

  1. We can’t come up with subjects to blog about because we assume our audience already knows about every topic we come up with.
  2. When we do blog, we communicate poorly because, again, we assume a knowledge base our audience doesn’t possess.

Because we are aware of the Curse of Knowledge, we can take steps to overcome it.

TIP: If you blog for your business, write down the 20 questions your customers ask you most often. Use those as the topics for 20 blog articles. If you write 2 blog per week, that’s 10 weeks worth of blogging. If your customers are asking these questions, your potential customers are probably asking them online. And remember, don’t assume your audience has the same knowledge base as you.


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