Are you a know-it-all?

What would be your specialist subject if you were a contestant on Mastermind?

Mine would be ‘general knowledge’.

With more than 30 years’ experience writing for all kinds of business, I’ve developed a niche as an expert generalist.

Some of my copywriting colleagues specialise in healthcare copywriting, fintech, energy, sustainability and so on.

Me, I’ve never felt the urge to go too deep and narrow.

Here’s why.

You can have too much knowledge

If your job is to make widgets or implement legislation, you sure had better know everything about it.

But when it comes to communication, knowing it all can be a disadvantage.

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand.

Being really close to a subject frequently makes it harder to put yourself inside the head of someone who knows a lot less about it than you (a good description of many of your customers, I’d imagine).

As a generalist, I come to new sectors with fresh eyes, without assuming anything about your audience or your brand.

I make difficult things simple for your customers

I may not be an expert in your business or sector. But I am outstanding at getting your message across in language your target market can understand and respond to.

“Mary has the ability to listen to a complex subject being explained in unfamiliar technical jargon, go away and read up on the subject, and then return to listen to further explanations in more technical jargon, before finally producing copy that anyone can understand.” (A wealth management client)

I’m curious

I love finding out things I never knew before. I like knowing how things work.

Give me a new subject to write about and I’ll be reading up everything I can find out about it. I’ll ask you to explain things to me like I was a five year-old.

I won’t start writing about it before I understand it. I’ll dig deep to find out what your customers really want to know.

“Mary develops an in-depth understanding of our organisation and our purpose – social responsibility – and researches what matters to our members and customers, so we can communicate in an easy to understand, simple way.” (A co-operative telecoms client.)

Isn’t that just what you need in a copywriter?