Thoughts on content creation and consumption

Recently I have been playing with the rule of three in my content creation. It’s a simple concept in marketing and storytelling. I am sure you have encountered it. We learn it at school. Stories should have a beginning, middle and an end. 

As with all rules this is a simple one to learn but can take years to master. I am a million miles from mastering it. One thing that I am trying to do though is to apply the rule of three as I consume content. I do this by asking myself a simple question; What are the 3 things that I have learnt from this.” I then capture those learnings in my notes. 

Once I have built up a stash of these learnings I can then repurpose and reuse in my own content. Combining ideas or stacking concepts is a great way to innovate and think about things in a new way. 

Pressure when reading content

In the past I have put pressure on myself as I read books. I either read them and take notes in the margin or take extensive notes in a Google Doc. Both approaches have led to periods of paralysis. I wouldn’t read due to worry about my note taking workflow. 

But over the last week applying the rule of three has liberated my consumption. So long as I take 3 things from a piece of content I am happy. I can always go back to it if it’s really worth it. 

And for content creation as well the anxiety I felt has disappeared. Can I write a three line intro? Yes. Can I write three lines of valuable content? Yes. Can I summarise and wrap in 3 sentences? Yes. Once I have completed this overview I can post it as a 100 word piece of content or use as a framework for a larger piece. 

Using the rule of three as a mental model to apply to consumption and creation seems simple. But I love the idea that both sides of the content workflow can flow into each other. I look forward to getting back into consuming and creating more using this model. You can see how I have been using this more by following me on my LinkedIn profile here.


James O'Donnell
James O'Donnell

James is on a mission to put the Social back into Social Media!