Applying First Principles of Novel Writing to Content Writing

Applying First Principles of Novel Writing to Content Writing

My focus here at HPC is to help clients build relationship with their customers through marketing content. To do this, we must connect human to human — in other words, create human connection.

I’m often asked how I do this. How do I make an article or a white paper feel like it’s speaking directly to the person reading it?

It comes down to several core elements: Understanding the target audience as intimately as possible

Knowing the goal of the content

Doing enough research on the topic to be able to sort the important threads from the unimportant ones

Keeping the company, brand and product messaging in mind but NOT letting them drive the narrative

I wish I could give you a simple step-by-step on how to do this, but much of it has come from experience, experimentation, practice with various mediums and written structures, and studying the topics of psychology, sociology and brain science. None of which is simple to boil down.

At least, that’s how it felt for the longest time … until I started writing novels.

As I learned and practiced the art of writing fiction, I began to see a correlation between novels and engaging marketing content.

I realized this could be a simple way for almost anyone to get their head around how engaging content works.

Novels — especially series — engage their readers and build a long-term relationship. Done well, content writing does the same thing.

Let’s take a closer look at the foundational elements of novel writing and how they apply to effective marketing content … First Principles in Novel Writing — and How they Apply to Your Content

In January, Dave Perrell wrote in his newsletter: Elon Musk was once asked: “How do you learn so fast?” He replied: “I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying. It’s important to view knowledge as a semantic tree. Make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.” This sentiment reminds me of a quote from John Reed in a book called Succeeding. He says: “When you first start to study a field, it seems like you have to memorize a zillion things. You don’t. What you need is to identify the core principles – generally three to twelve of them – that govern the field. The million things you thought you had to memorize are simply various combinations of the core principles.” Read that last sentence again.“The million things you thought you had to memorize are simply various combinations of the core principles.”Core principles, fundamental principles, first principles, they’re all talking about the same thing.The dictionary defines first principles as the fundamental concepts or assumptions on which a theory, system, or method is based. First principles boil a process down to what’s foundational. So, let’s take a look at the first principles of novel writing […]

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