Content Creation and the Rule of Three: What You Need to Know

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Would you like to create content that’s more satisfying, interesting, and engaging? Then you need to know about the rule of three! (Do you see what I did there?) The rule of three works not only in writing, but also in art. If you’ve ever seen three objects together, you realize that they seem more balanced than two or four. In the world of art, you might also see artists dividing the canvas into thirds and making sure there’s something of interest in each third.

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The Science Behind the Rule of Three

You don’t actually need a scientist to understand why three is a good number. It’s a lot easier to remember three things than four or more things. And if you’re telling someone ten things? They’re likely to forget seven things, so why not keep it simple and stick with three? Carmine Gallo in his article on Forbes: Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, and the Rule of Three says “If your listener will only remember about three things from your conversation, presentation, or email, why overwhelm them with twenty-two key messages?”

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Who Uses the Rule of Three?

Writers, artists, and even marine corps instructors use the rule of three. Many people use the rule of three without even realizing. In the childhood classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for instance, the rule of three is used extensively. And who doesn’t relate to Goldilock’s choice? Papa Bear’s bed is too big, Mama Bear’s bed is too soft, but Baby Bear’s bed is just right. There’s something about being given three choices that is just right, too. The porridge and the chair in the Goldilocks tale is similar, with three choices for each. The history behind Goldilocks is fascinating, too. Then there’s life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (also three!). And photographers who use foreground, middle ground, and background as a rule.

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How Can You Use the Rule of Three?

In marketing, you can give your potential clients three choices. In the olden days, those choices might have been Gold, Silver, and Platinum. These days, maybe you could offer Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial. Or something humorous could work, too. For instance if you run a circus, your tickets could be labeled as the Emmett Kelly, the Ronald MacDonald, and the Bozo the Clown packages. By the way, did you realize that I once wrote a whole series focused on clowns? Yup! Here’s one: Secrets of the Social Media Circus, from 2013.

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How Do You Use the Rule of Three?

Will you employ the rule of three in your writing? In your artwork? It’s a simple way to create focus.

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