The whole purpose of legal blogging is to transfer your knowledge to your audience. To provide them with insights that answer their most pressing questions regarding the legal process. But one thing that often gets legal bloggers in trouble is the curse of knowledge.
What’s the Curse of Knowledge?
This is defined as “a cognitive bias that occurs when, in predicting others’ forecasts or behaviors, individuals are unable to ignore the knowledge they have that others do not have, or when they are unable to disregard information already processed.”
In other words, you know things that your audience does not, but you’ve forgotten that others don’t have this knowledge. As a result, you may use complex legal jargon, Ph.D. level vocabulary words or complicated abstractions that are simply over the head of your average reader.
This is problematic because it creates a gap in communication and makes it much more difficult to build rapport and make a connection. In turn, would-be clients may end up going elsewhere to another law firm that can speak their language and answer their questions in a more simplistic manner.
Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge
So how do you ensure that you’re not alienating your audience? It usually starts with creating a targeted persona of your average client. Try to put yourself in your typical reader’s shoes and ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s my audience’s base knowledge level?
- What’s their current understanding of the legal process?
- Are there any specific topics they don’t understand?
Once you’ve created a target persona, this will guide you in your legal blogging and reduce the likelihood of going overboard with your writing.
Simplify Legal Terms
Sure you understand legal terms like arraignment, default judgment and executory contracts, but your average blog reader probably doesn’t. You can do yourself a big favor by being aware of what’s common knowledge. If there’s any question that a particular legal term could be confusing, be sure to break it down to its fundamentals in a way that anyone can understand. In other words, “dumb it down.”
Use Stories and Examples
What’s one common ability of some of the world’s greatest teachers? They’re great at telling stories to explain complex subjects to their students. Even if someone can’t immediately grasp a particular topic, it becomes much easier to understand when you tie in a relevant story. By providing tangible examples, you can make your blog posts come to life and much easier to digest.
Use Images to Your Advantage
Most people love images. In fact, roughly 65 percent of the population is considered to be “visual learners.” That’s why it’s smart to sprinkle in relevant photos to your blog posts. Data-centric graphs and charts in particular tend to work well for transferring knowledge and making a point. You may also want to experiment with visual-oriented mediums like infographics and slideshows as well.
The curse of knowledge is a very real phenomenon. And legal bloggers in particular can easily become victims of it. But by being aware of your average blog reader’s knowledge level and adjusting your content accordingly, you should be able to overcome the curse of knowledge and optimize your blogging.
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