Dealing With Your Curse Of Knowledge

A few weeks ago I noticed that Rand Fishkin tweeted his favorite source of marketing knowledge.

The link was to the List of Cognitive Biases on Wikipedia.

I’ve been trying to read up on these because there is obvious benefit for business. When you understand how we think it’s easier to figure out what people want.

In this post I’d like to discuss one of the biases I feel affects quite a few entrepreneurs as they consider a business blog. I know it’s been something I’ve struggled with. Hopefully with a better understanding of the bias we can find better blogging topics.

How The Curse of Knowledge Affects Bloggers

The example on Wiki for the Curse of Knowledge is a test from the game charades. Have you ever played that game when you had to hum a popular song with the goal of getting your partner to guess?

If you’ve been incredibly unsuccessful with that game you’re not alone. It turns out that it’s incredibly difficult for the other person to guess. Even though it seems like it should be so easy the person often struggles to guess.

The person humming has the knowledge of the song and that is where the bias is.

That’s a simple situation, but it shows how we interpret facts in many situations in life.

For blogging, we fail in a couple ways with the Curse of Knowledge.

Keeping Content Too Difficult

I actually think there are quite a few basic posts on the Internet. Best practice-type articles are usually very focused on those in the early stages of building knowledge on a topic.

But on the other side of things are posts that are way too difficult for the targeted reader. I know I’ve slipped up before on various blog posts by using industry speak. Even using abbreviations like SEO.

You probably know what SEO is but others won’t know. Not knowing those things make a reader feel like they’re not targeted with the content and they’ll just go to another site that understands their position.

For your blogging strategy use a mixture of posts that reach your targeted reader on all levels. Sometimes making things simple is difficult.

At GBW we always worry that we won’t know enough about a topic when we start with a new client, but often it’s to our advantage. We can write from the perspective of someone that is also new to the industry and as we grow our knowledge we can write about more in depth topics.

Feeling There Is Nothing Useful To Share

Curse of Knowledge Blogging
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everyone knows everything that you do. via NASA

The other issue with the Curse of Knowledge for bloggers is the feeling that you have nothing useful to share. I see this all the time with business owners. They have all this knowledge locked up in their head, but they don’t think it’s anything special.

As business owners we’re so involved in our industry that it feels like everyone we know has the same knowledge as us. As a result we avoid sharing knowledge on channels like blogging because we don’t feel that what we know is not very useful.

When I worked at a catalog company I remember talking to a salesperson about their SEO service. I asked him a few questions and he said he would be happy to answer because they were “throw away answers”.

Those throw away answers were things he knew as basic information, but to me it was an enlightening moment. The information really helped me and I felt a trust with the person because they were really smart.

That’s the opportunity you likely have with a business blog.

It’s like the plumber who feels everybody knows how to fix a leaky sink. Well, most people don’t so sharing that information on a blog can be really useful and a great way to earn new customers.

Getting over our own bias in life can really open up new doors. Getting over the Curse of Knowledge can open up a huge new door by giving you the opportunity to share information with a business blog.

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