Knowledge is Killing Your Business

too much knowledge is a bad thing

Do you write your own marketing materials?

How is that going for you?

Is your website converting visitors?

Are your brochures being read or are they used as coffee mats?

Do your emails hit the right spot or are they deleted as soon as they arrive?

Thought so.

Want to know why?

It’s because you have too much knowledge about your business.

Too much knowledge is bad

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking – how can too much knowledge be a bad thing?

The simple answer is because you start to make assumptions.

Your writing takes on a level that your customers don’t understand. You’re writing as though they have the same inside knowledge you do.

Look at it this way, if you have kids you’ve probably been asked for help with their homework. Because you’re older and more educated, you immediately launch into an explanation that’s several layers above them, telling them stuff they haven’t even learnt yet. And when they don’t get it, you start to get frustrated because the answer is obvious to you.

The same thing happens when writing your marketing materials.

Instead of starting at the beginning and building on knowledge, you write in a convoluted high-brow fashion that confuses your reader.

Overcoming the knowledge block

Once you know stuff it’s really difficult to ignore it. It feels as though you’re dumbing it down, but you’re not.

That’s why it’s often easier to outsource your writing.

When I work with clients, during the initial briefing session I always ask them to treat me like a customer. They mustn’t assume I have any knowledge of their industry, so they have to brief me without using any jargon, acronyms or technical terms that I wouldn’t understand.

If any sneak in I just stop them and ask them to explain and keep asking until I completely understand what they’re telling me.

It can get frustrating, but rather that than them putting out marketing materials that their customers can’t understand.

If you don’t have the budget for a copywriter, try out these tips:

  1. Write down what you want to say
  2. Review it to make sure it is aimed at your customer and not about you and your company, highlighting the benefits
  3. Review it again and simplify the language and remove any jargon
  4. Get someone not connected with your business to read it to see if they understand what you’re saying and whether it would make them buy/get in touch etc.
  5. If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board and start again
  6. Keep going until you write something that’s simple, clear, engaging and compelling

I did’t say it would be easy.

Writing effective copy is hard. It takes a lot of though, a lot of time and a lot of determination, but when done well it will bring in more sales, traffic, enquiries and brand loyalty.


Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

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