In his book The Art of Explanation, Lee LeFever explores the Curse of Knowledge…the phenomenon — when applied to business — of being too close to and too informed about your product or service offering. You simply know too much that you’re no longer helpful to your customers and prospects.
You’ve lived so long in your own world that you struggle to see things from your customers’ perspectives. You stopped speaking in real terms and started using words and phrases that only those on the inside understand. You no longer speak of the palpable pains your clients feel or the tangible satisfaction you can provide. It’s all gotten very complex…nebulous…formulaic.
Simply put, the curse of knowledge has made your business story very confusing.
To help our clients rediscover their business story, we created a simple 8-question survey that includes everything from relatively straightforward questions, such as — What do you sell? — to more thought-provoking inquiries, like — Explain why you do this work.
From there, we create a Content Style Guide broken into five easy-to-follow sections:
Our clients then use this as an internal reference guide when writing new content or speaking to customers directly.
It helps them tell new employees—and remind veterans—why they do what they do. It ensures everyone speaks the same real, comprehensible language and eliminate the confusion caused by the curse of knowledge.
The original value proposition of your business used to be so straightforward: A + B = C. Add this solution to this problem, and you end up with this happy customer. But somewhere along the way, things got messy. New products and services were added to the mix. New staff were hired. Investors got involved.
And here you are today, trying to market a suite of vague products or services that appear to offer a bit of everything for seemingly everyone. And as a result, all your employees are now telling their own version of the same jumbled story—making up some details, forgetting other key points, and ultimately losing people along the way.
So how do you know if your small business needs a Content Style Guide? Here’s a simple exercise:
Ask your mom or husband or sister to read through a brochure or check out your website. Can they easily tell you what you do, what you offer, and how you provide it?
If they cannot, then you’re a great candidate for a Content Style Guide.