Three is the magic number — especially when it comes to being interesting, enjoyable or memorable. How can we use the mighty “Rule of Three” to help define our target user personae and create dynamite content that informs, entertains and converts? Trying to define your audience and develop a persona or personas for content creation can be a daunting task. The answer is as easy as one, two, three…

Rule of 3The “Rule of Three” relates to how things that come in threes are generally better than things that come in twos (which are regarded as too boring) or fours (which is too much information to truly catch hold in the mind). A quick look at Wikipedia shows that “rule of three” can refer to several different topics, from writing and music to mathematics, religion and even aviation.

Personally, I like how Lisa B. Marshall defined the phrase in an article about how to communicate better using the rule of three: “The rule of three is a very general rule in speaking, in writing, and in music that states that concepts or ideas presented in threes are inherently more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable.” As inbound marketers, how can we use the rule of three to help us understand our audience and effectively engage in a community with them?

1. Who is my audience?

Asking this question is the first step to using the rule of three to construct a model of how to engage in conversations with our past, present and future customers. Identifying this audience is a crucial step in any content creation. It can be as detailed as diving through and analyzing rich demographic data, or as a simple as attempting to understand the person on the other side of the sales counter. Know who you are talking to, and care about who they are.

2. What does my audience want?

Now that you’ve mapped out the customers you’re talking to, you’ve got to find out what they want. What is your audience searching in your website’s search bar? What terms are they utilizing when engaging with brand? How are they talking about your product online? What search terms are driving traffic to your website, and to your competitors’ websites? This is where all those folks who say, “SEO is dead” are dead wrong; you’ve got to understand the language your audience uses to discuss your product or service. Understanding that language is key to communicating with your audience, key to understanding what they want, and the key to answering our third “rule of three” question.

3. What stands in my audience’s way to getting what they want?

There are a dozen different ways to phrase this question. Challenges. Pain points. Fears. But they’re all asking the same thing: What’s preventing my customer from getting what they want (particularly when they interact with my brand)? Answering these key and crucial questions is the third part of understanding your target user persona for any given piece of strategic content. When you identify what’s keeping the customer from interacting with your social channel, downloading your eBook or converting on your website, you can address those concerns.

Now, you have a purpose and a plan for creating content. Write to who your audience is, in the language of what they want, and provide the solution to help them get what they want. This is the job of any good content strategist and inbound marketer, every day of the week and twice on Sundays. If you’re going to strategically tell the story, communicate the “why” of your brand and align it to your prospect’s purpose, you must engage in true, genuine communication with your audience…and that’s one way that community happens.

You and me and community…there were three in the family, and that’s a magic number.

Got your personas all defined? Time to start writing content! Download The Enterprise Blog Post Optimization Guide today.