Should you always write about ‘what you know’?

“Write about what you know.”

Common usage

That’s what they say, isn’t it?

It’s one of those truisms that is so widely disseminated nobody ever stops to think if it’s actually good advice.

Personally, as a concept, I’m not sold.


Well, it seems to me that people writing about ‘what they know’ can get too close to their subject.
If, like many content creators, you’re writing about a subject that you immerse yourself in 24/7 you can easily lose objectivity.

Before you know it you can’t see the wood for the trees – meaning that you’ve lost sight of what makes your subject of specialism, of expertise even, engaging to the average person ‘on the street’.

Too often, when I talk to a business’s in-house experts, I find they’ve lost their sense of wonder at what they do. They’ve become stuck in the minutiae of expertise, kept up at night pondering detail which, ironically, would send the uninitiated reader (or customer) to sleep.

The ability to step back and calmly assess how to tell your business’s story to your customers is vital. Which bits does your demographic NEED to know about? What will ENGAGE with them? What will leave them COLD? This process needs the input of someone with no vested interests. Someone fresh, an outsider with an interested, but not partisan perspective.

Think of the times when you’ve struggled to write your own CV. It’s bloody difficult.
Because it’s yours and it matters a lot – to you.

Then think of how much better your resume sounds if you allow a friend to write it. With their fresh perspective they can cut through to the interesting bits of your story – without becoming bogged down in the detail.

So what am I saying?

I’m not anti-expert. Far from it. What I am is pro-perspective.

When I write for your business I don’t bring baggage.

I don’t pretend to be the expert in your field – you are.

What I do is work with you to communicate the best bits of your organisation’s story in a way that is engaging to people who may not know what you do, but given the chance, might like to learn.

The most effective content is, in my view, created by someone who isn’t writing about ‘what they know’.

Know what I mean?

Published by The Out of Depth Dad

A new dad, completely out of his depth. Who knew that parenthood was so tricky?

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