I recently read a fantastic marketing book called “Made To Stick”. It’s focused on how to get people to listen to your message.

One of the concepts discussed in the book is something called the knowledge gap.

Essentially, because we’re experts in our field with stories, experiences, and context around our areas of expertise, we often forget that our audiences don’t have that same insight.

Which means when we speak to them, sometimes assume they already understand when they actually don’t – creating a massive disconnect.

In today’s episode, I’m diving even deeper into how to identify your own knowledge gaps to ensure you’re actually connecting with your audience rather than losing them.

If people can’t connect with what you’re saying, if they can’t fully see themselves implementing or understanding what you’re saying, if they can’t connect that to their own life…

They’re going to forget what you’re saying, you’re not going to make an impact on them, and they are not going to buy from you.

Tune in to make sure this isn’t happening to you!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. If you could see me right now, you would be laughing at my setup. I’m in California. I’ll be here for a couple of weeks with my kids, so I have to record podcast episodes and usually on the go. I bring my microphone with me, which is awesome, and I usually have a little stand that I bring, but I forgot it. It’s like a microphone that you could hold as if you’re speaking into a microphone, which would be really annoying recording a podcast episode. So I had to put it inside of this candle thing beause it’s the only thing I can find on my mom’s desk. Now I’m talking into it. It’s funny. Whatever we have to do to be able to create content on the go, right? I see a lot of people set up their video to be able to create the content and that’s what I’m doing now. I do this every summer. I leave and go to California and hang out with my family beause it’s super hot in Texas. I’m doing that and lots of travel plans, lots of travel plans this summer. So I’m very excited about that. Can’t believe that we are in summer again already. 

Today I am super excited to talk about today’s episode. I’ve actually been thinking about this episode, it’s come up multiple times for the last couple of weeks. As with a lot of my episodes, it was originally inspired from something that I read in a book and then I was like, oh my gosh, that’s so true. It showed up many times and I’m excited to share it with you guys because I think it’s something that people really struggle with in their marketing. So the concept is called the knowledge gap. This came from this book I read called, Made To Stick, which I thought was going to be a book about ideas, but it really isn’t. It’s more like a marketing book of getting people to listen to your message. I do recommend the book. I rated it four out of five stars, but I loved what they talked about. 

So the knowledge gap is essentially you have a knowledge gap around what you’re an expert in because you are an expert in it. You’re knowledgeable and so you have stories, and experiences, and perspectives, and all of these things in your head around what you do in your business, or what you teach, or what you’re an expert in that you forget about when you go to teach somebody else, or create content. I’ve talked about this a lot, where with your marketing, whether it’s a webinar, or a video, or a podcast, or emails, you have to remember that the person reading it, or watching it, or listening to that content, doesn’t have the level of knowledge that you have and you need to meet them where they’re at and speak to them in their language, which is really hard to do.

This concept ties together the fact that you have this knowledge gap, which means you have noise in your head and you have context in your head that you don’t even realize you tie around what you say. So the example of the book I loved was that they did a study on people where one person tapped a song. So on a desk, they tapped the song and then the other person had to try to guess the song. I didn’t try playing this game yet. Maybe I will, but anyways, they came up with a song and they just tapped the beat to the song and then the person next to them had to guess it. When they asked the person tapping how much they thought the other person would be able to guess the song, I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was like over 85%. They thought over 85% of people would get the song right. But then in fact, only 20% actually guessed the song. Maybe I should actually try it to see how hard it really is. 

But essentially the reason is because the person tapping the song has the rhythm in their head, but they are not connecting that the person listening to them tapping doesn’t. So they’re like, how could you not get this on? Don’t you understand my tapping? It’s so easy because they have the rhythm in their head, and so that’s the knowledge gap. That’s the knowledge gap that they have. So whatever you spend your time doing, which is probably related to your business, what you teach and how you attract your audience, you live and breathe that, right? You’re in there every day. You understand the language. It’s like second nature to you, but your audience doesn’t. If you go teach a webinar, or you create a podcast, or you create some form of content and you forget about that knowledge gap, then you create a disconnect with your content.

I love this because, essentially, if you can remember that knowledge gap and meet your audience where they’re at, you’re able to create better content. You’re able to create and connect with your audience better and create content that sticks, like the book. The ideas that you have and the content you have, it’s going to stick with the audience because you’re able to relate to them. I know I’ve talked about this before, and I think on the surface level it makes sense for people. They’re like, yeah I know, don’t use complicated words, don’t be overwhelming. I challenge you a little bit to go and look at your content and go look at your webinar, if you have a webinar. Go through and really ask yourself, pretend and try. Because you have the knowledge gaps you can’t do this a hundred percent, but try to imagine if you were you five years ago or maybe it’s eight years ago,  before you even started your business. If you were you, then is what you’re teaching fully clear and are you making assumptions about your audience’s knowledge that you shouldn’t that’s going to create a disconnect in what you’re teaching? 

For me, how this might show up, and sometimes I’ll give you some examples that I came up with around this. When I teach, sometimes I assume that people understanding their ideal customer or knowing how important marketing messaging is, that they already know that. I’ll make an assumption that that’s easy or everybody knows that. If I talk about it, it’s boring and then I won’t make content around it or I’ll just dust over it in a training and then people want to go deeper, but I didn’t go deeper there. So thinking about the things that you’re like, “oh, that’s a no brainer.” Have you ever been in a situation where you think, “that’s a no-brainer, everybody knows that and then you say something and then everybody says, “wow.” Or they say, “I didn’t even know that.” And you’re like, “what? That’s so simple.” It’s because you have that expertise. 

When I think about it from my perspective, a lot of it comes down to the marketing foundational components that I assume people already think about and already have that considered in their strategy, when in reality they don’t. I also think this comes up when you have a team and when you’re communicating with people, because way too many times, more times than I can count, have I said something or had an expectation and because of my, this actually just happened to me so I’ll explain this. I told the team member to do something, and I asked the team member to do something, my assistant. I said like two lines of what she should do, and she did it wrong. I was a little frustrated for a second about it. When I talked to her about it, I realized though,how would you have known what I was saying? Because once I re-explained it to her, there was about five paragraphs of talking, of contexts that went around what I was asking her to do. Without realizing it, I thought the two lines that I told her because of my knowledge gap, because of the knowledge I had about what I was asking her to do, because of that, I assumed she knew all that. It’s not a conscious thing, right? I didn’t sit there and go, I am assuming that my assistant knows X, Y, Z. I just did it in my head. 

That’s what you’re doing potentially when you go to create content and when you go to connect with your audience, you’re making assumptions without even realizing that you’re doing it, that they already at are at a certain place, or already know a certain amount of things, or have this experience, or understand this concept when they probably don’t. A lot of it will come back to foundational things for you. For me, like foundational marketing things are your strategy and your messaging and setting your ads up with a budget and projections. Many times have I assumed, “of course they know they have to set goals in a budget.” I can’t tell you every time I go speak and I talk about having goals and having your goals based off of your sales numbers, people always say, “that’s such a great concept. Why don’t I do that?” I could easily go into that situation and be like, everybody knows that. Of course you have to have sales goals and your budget based off of sales goals. That’s so easy, but that’s because I live and breathe this. I’ve said it probably a thousand times. I have that knowledge gap.

So I would encourage you if this resonates with you, maybe you spend five or 10 minutes and you write down where are the places that your knowledge gap might show up? Where are you making assumptions when you teach or when you’re trying to get across a point to your audience that they already know something, so then you’re just skipping over something, or you’re barely touching on it, or you’re not going deep enough. And then they’re not really getting value out of what you’re saying, because if people can’t connect with what you’re saying, if people can’t fully see themselves implementing what you’re saying, or doing what you’re saying, or understanding what you’re saying, if they can’t connect that to their own life, they’re going to forget it. They’re going to forget what you’re saying. It’s not going to make an impact on them. But I can tell you that the person who hears me go and say a speech, and I tell them about having their budget be based off their sales goals with their ads and I challenged that, and that clicks for them in that moment. They won’t forget me. They won’t forget that. 

I for sure had moments where I, and I’m sure you have too, where it’s like somebody said something and it was the simplest thing and it clicked for you, right? You don’t forget those people, those brands and that information. That’s what you’re trying to do with your audience, because they’re way more likely to remember you and listen to you. So my encouragement would be if, if this resonates with you, get a piece of paper, write down the areas that you think maybe your knowledge gap is potentially creating a disconnect when you go to communicate with your audience. As soon as I heard this, I just started seeing it and that might happen to you too. You hear this and then tomorrow you’re going to be like, oh my gosh, that’s an example of the knowledge gap. It’s happening all the time. That’s what I’ve discovered after I heard it is like, wow, we do this so much as humans. 

Like I said, in many cases, communicating with a team, communicating with a partner and communicating with my kids, communicating with friends, communicating to my audience, we have perspectives in the story and experience that’s driving what we’re doing, but people can’t connect to that, right? They don’t have those same experiences that’s driving that example, that context for them. So you have to create that for your audience and you have to go deep in the foundational things and create that and fill the gap. Fill that knowledge gap hole for your audience so that they get more out of what you’re saying. 

This was a short and sweet episode, but I’ve been wanting to talk about this because I think it’s really powerful. So make that list. Send me a message if you guys get anything out of it, and hopefully this makes you just think a little bit deeper about your content and is an invitation for you to maybe go deeper. I think that a lot of us stay surface level when we teach our content or when we connect with our audience, or maybe even in conversations with other people. But the deeper you’re able to go, the more impactful, and memorable, and effective everything’s going to be for you. If you can create that impactful experience for your audience, they won’t forget about your brand. They’ll become a lead. They’ll become a customer. They’ll become a loyal follower. Thanks so much for listening today guys. I’ll talk to you next time.

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