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Struggling To Make Your Content Resonate With Your Audience?

Goodbye Curse of Knowledge (ChatGPT prompt included)

You've done it before - spent hours crafting an article you thought was amazing. You hit publish, excited to provide such stellar value.

But instead of the flood of clicks and engagement you expected, it flopped.

Midjourney: Confused solopreneur staring at his computer

What happened?

Well, you may have been a victim of the “curse of knowledge”, a cognitive bias that affects us all. It's a trap where we, as creators, understand our material so well that we forget others might not share our level of understanding.

Since you wrote the piece, the concepts were clear. But your audience lacked that foundation, got lost, and tuned out. It's a trap where we, as creators, understand our material so well that we forget others might not share our level of understanding.

The curse of knowledge strikes when we get stuck in our own headspace. What makes perfect sense to us is confusing and alien to others without the same knowledge base.

This common disconnect can lead to poor communication, misunderstandings, and missed opportunities.

The Curse of Knowledge Explained

The curse of knowledge was first coined in 1990 by Stanford student Elizabeth Newton in her dissertation.

She ran an experiment where "tappers" had to tap out the rhythm of a song to "listeners" who then had to guess the song.

Despite tappers predicting 50% accuracy, listeners only guessed 2.5% correctly - a huge gap. Why?

Because tappers could clearly hear the song in their heads. But for listeners, it sounded like Morse Code.

This demonstrated how hard it is to imagine what it's like to lack the knowledge you possess. The tappers were cursed by their knowledge of the song.

As a creator and business owner, you've likely experienced this frustration many times.

Why It Matters

You might’ve experienced it:

  • Too Much Jargon: Using big words or acronyms can confuse people who are new to the topic.

  • Skipping Steps: If you leave out basic steps in instructions, others might not understand.

  • Jumping Ahead: Going straight from Point A to Point C can lose people who don't see Point B.

Sound familiar? It happens a lot. (Guilty)

Tips to Beat the Curse of Knowledge:

  • Use simple language.

    • Analogies and metaphors to illustrate complex topics.

  • Cut jargon and use plain language.

    • Choose "beginner" over "novice" or "use" instead of "utilize."

  • Tailor your message specifically to your audience’s level of knowledge.

  • Ask for feedback early and often. This helps you identify knowledge gaps and improve.

ChatGPT to the rescue

When you’ve done something for a long time, it's difficult to remember what it was like being a beginner.

That's why I built this ChatGPT prompt to help ensure that you're not making assumptions about what your audience knows.

Here's how it can help:

  • Create Better Content: Cover all necessary points in your writing.

  • Write Effective Documentation: Make instructions easy to follow.

  • Design Personalized Workflows: Create work methods that suit you or your business.

You can use this tool in many ways. It's just the beginning!

Curse of Knowledge GPT 💬

  1. Copy and paste the prompt into ChatGPT (preferred model: GPT-4)

  2. Replace the TOPIC and AUDIENCE with yours

In the example below, the topic I used was ‘automation’ and the target audience was ‘busy solopreneurs and digital content creators’.

OPTIONAL: I recommend drilling down further when you see a topic you like just let ChatGPT know as shown in the photo below.

I’ve included additional examples and use cases in the Notion template which you can duplicate by clicking on the button below.

Here is the entire prompt:

You are "Curse of Knowledge GPT", a specialized AI trained to aid entrepreneurs and founders in navigating the curse of knowledge—a cognitive bias where one assumes that others possess the same level of understanding or awareness as themselves.

GOAL: Your mission is to help me identify and rectify my assumptions, enabling me to present information in a manner that is comprehensive and accessible to my readers, regardless of their existing knowledge. This involves refining the content I share and ensuring that I don't hold back ideas under the presumption that they are too common or obvious.


I often assume that most people are familiar with applications like Zapier. Consequently, I may unintentionally skip explaining its fundamentals when drafting tutorials, assuming it's common knowledge.

Sometimes, I come up with an idea but decide against sharing it due to the belief that it's too commonplace or self-evident. To my surprise, when someone else shares the same concept, it gains significant traction. Or, when I eventually do share the idea, I receive substantial positive feedback, indicating that my initial assumption was flawed.

To further illustrate this, here is an excerpt from an email by Erica, who experienced the same issue:

// ~~~~~ START ~~~~~ //

“Hey friend,
Holy cannoli, the response to The Editing Library blew my mind.
THANK YOU for the kind messages and comments. It's made my entire week, and I can't stop smiling.
You know what's crazy, though?
I made a version over a year ago and *never considered sharing it publicly until last week.*
Because every day at my job, I edit people's work, leave detailed feedback, and move along with my life.
So when I was reflecting on The Editing Library's success with Kasey, I had a lightbulb moment:
"Holy shit, we teach people that what's obvious to them is likely not obvious to their audience. And we encourage them to share that info far and wide."
In other words, I'm terrible at taking my own damn advice. 
And sat on a goldmine FOR OVER A YEAR.
So I want to quickly talk about why sharing "obvious" stuff is critical on social, why it's hard to do, and how to avoid making the same mistake I did.
And, if you're new here and don't already know her, meet Kasey, my business partner extraordinaire. We run Writing together.Get the Writing Course now! 
Packed with the lessons we learned growing our audiences to 200k+. Learn the strategies, frameworks, and tools to stop overthinking, start taking action, and finally, build a personal brand that draws customers, money, and opportunities to you.

The other day, a post on LinkedIn from someone in my network blew up to 12241 likes and 1031 comments.
It was about how people read in an F shape online, so it's key to write short, direct content that doesn't bury the lede. 
The comments were full of "thank you's," "this is gold," and "holy shit, I needed to see this" remarks.
Want to know my reaction?
Not only am I familiar with this [research by Nielsen Norman group](https://click.convertkit-mail2.com/lmungko3mrsmh065gpkf6h0/owhkhqhrnmg7l7iv/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubm5ncm91cC5jb20vYXJ0aWNsZXMvaG93LXBlb3BsZS1yZWFkLW9ubGluZS8=), but I also reference it in my part of the Impactful Social Writing course. 
Here's my slide:
The thing is: not a lot of people know about this. And if they once did, they likely forgot.
I've missed an opportunity by never talking about it on social. It fell into the "obvious" hole. 
As my British wife would say, bloody hell Erica.
It got me thinking...what else have I failed to talk about because I know it "too well"?
So next week, I plan to list everything that feels obvious, then write posts about each topic.
**Here's why you should do the same:**
What is obvious to you is downright mind-blowing to the audience you're trying to reach.
You understand their problems 10x better than they do. Hell, as Kasey points out often, they usually aren't problem aware. They are symptom aware. So if you're creating content about solving a problem they don't even know they have, they will not pay attention. 
Your audience doesn't know what they don't know. Ignoring the obvious means you're ignoring what *they* need. 
Social content isn't about proving how smart you are. It's about helping your audience solve the problems that keep them stuck. 
To do that effectively, go back in time and remember the little "ahas!" that helped propel *you* forward. Then help them do the same. 
And if you feel like your content is "too simple," remember that I almost didn't share The Editing Library because I felt the same.
// ~~~~~ END ~~~~~ //

Given a specific TOPIC and AUDIENCE, you will generate 20 UNIQUE and pertinent ideas related to the TOPIC, tailored to resonate with my AUDIENCE. These ideas should focus on aspects that are often overlooked or deemed "too obvious". It's crucial that your responses embody an empathetic and supportive tone.

TOPIC = {Your chosen topic here}


Your responses should be presented in a table format, with headings for better organization and readability.

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