How to Write Killer Bullet Points

How to Write Killer Bullet Points

Reader Comments (31)

  1. Anyone who remembers Mel Martin and knows his work knows what good bullet writing is. Parris Lampropoulos has a formula: the bullet should reveal the pain but not the identity of the solution.

    Wrong:

    Apples cure this common disease (reveals solution but not pain)

    Right:

    This delicious fruit found in the supermarket may cure cancer (reveals pain but not solution)

    • This is a very instructive point, Bob. Thanks for taking the time to post it. It’s all about the pain, and those of us who are fond solving and fixing have a natural aversion to agitating pain. But that is what good copy does, it agitates pain. Bullet points can (and should) be used effectively as sharp, pointed pin-pricks. Your comment makes this point. Sorry for the pun.

    • Yep, the fascination. The copy for the Bottom Line Secrets newsletter gave some of the best examples I’ve ever seen. I wrote about fascinations and Bottom Line here.

    • Fans of great classic copywriting advice will be well advised to tune in for Mondays post 🙂

    • Hahaha… Absolutely Bob… You have a perfect example out there… infact i am also bad at writing attractive bullet points but your one is amazing.. 😉

    • Thanks Bob. Definitely applicable to subject lines for emails as well. You don’t want to give a question that can be answered in a glimpse so that they don’t need to click open!

  2. “Bullets are a great opportunity to entice and to tease people, and give them something, but not give away the farm.”

    Spot-on, guys! I agree that bulleted points entice a reader to read more, but it’s so important not to overdo it. When I see your examples of bulleted clutter on other blogs, I often think, “Did you guys even try to write a post?”

    Just thought you made some excellent points here, guys! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jerod and Demian

    Following on from what you said about highlighting parts of your list items in bold, let’s not forget that we use other visual enhancements to bring our bullets points to life.

    For example:
    – We can use tick points or check marks instead of plain bullets. These convey the idea that we’re fulfilling certain (purchasing) criteria.
    – We can use arrows. These are great for commands and instructions as they convey a sense of action.
    – We can experiment with spacial arrangement and colour.

    And lots, lots more …

      • I guess that’s the response every Copyblogger reader would love to see Jerod.

        So now we’ve got an added teaser to your How to Write Killer Bullet Points 201 course without giving the entire game away.

        Perfect!

  4. Jerod, the mini headline approach vibes with me. Smart post. I scan, and read, and bullet points help me flow through articles quickly to take out vital information. Appeal to the microwave culture; use bullet points. Deliver content quickly and easily. Thanks!

  5. Brilliant guys!

    Bullet points have long been a favourite way of mine for presenting key information to my visitors – I simply don’t believe there is a better way of delivering a message, except maybe clever imagery.

  6. Interesting read Jerod:) I realize your article is universal. I’m focused everyday on sales page content.

    My Takeaway: Do a A/B test. #Measure the conversion results of bullet points describing benefits vs. problems. See if by describing problems (pain), leads to more scrolling by the reader (potential customer).

    Does it reduce bounce rate? Which will convert (Submit Button) more?

    Jerod’s Takeaway (lol): I followed you on Twitter, bookmarked your content, retweeted your content with an endorsement to like-minded people, and posted a comment on your page. Let’s see what happens:)

  7. What a fantastic piece…I have lived in the world of “fascinations” my entire career and those “bullets” have paid a lot of bills for Boardroom/Bottom Line…and sold millions of subscriptions and books.

    Gene Schwartz used to send us “fascinations he’d LIKE to write about” (i.e. specific health ailments and concerns that he knew would vibrate off the page)…and then it was the job of our editors to “find the article to support the fascination.”

    How’s that for writing copy before you know what the product is? It was all about the fasciantions.

    And yes–Parris Lampropolous teaches “writing fascinations” way before he teaches “writing copy”…they are different.

    When you master the former, you are much further along to becoming a writer as amazing as…well…Gene Schwartz or Parris!

    By the way…shameless plug…I am hosting a three day event in September called “The Titans of Direct Response” (Sonia knows about this already)…speakers already confirmed are Dan Kennedy (not a bad fascination writer himself!), Ken McCarthy and Jay Abraham.

    And we will have a session called the “Mount Rushmore of Boardroom Copywriters” and Parris–along with David Deutsch, Arthur Johnson and Eric Betuel–will talk about their best promos for us and others–and a swipe file for all.

    Do you think the topic of “Bullet Points” might come up? 🙂

  8. I love these podcasts – super job. [Thanks to all involved!].

    The voices add a human touch to the people I usually only see (a headshot of).

    The length and format of the podcasts are perfect. Allows me to multi-task with ears peaked for the golden nuggets – because it’s guaranteed to contain them. Talking of which, BOB BLY’s right/wrong example in the Comments section is definitely golden.

    Note: Having given up on iTunes, unable to rate/review your podcasts :-[ (I’ve done no evil and went for Google Play).

    • Beat, thank you for the kind words! Glad the podcasts are delivering value, as intended. And no worries on iTunes. Anywhere you listen is good for us. 🙂

  9. Wonderful podcast! I’ve never really thought about bullet points but now you’ve made me wonder if I’ve been using them wrong. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Rightly said Jerode!
    A perfect blend of time and ingredients makes any dish Super-Hit. Same is the case with a write-up. Use of bullets capacitates viewers to understand the gist of the content in a simplest way possible.
    Thanks for sharing such a useful information and inclusion of the podcast.

  11. Jerod–your piece obviosuly created an awesome thread–thanks again. And those “ridiculously entertaining and educational three days” will be September 11-13 in Stamford, Connecticut. I’ll send more information when everything is finalized…reading this thread on “Bullet Points” got me even more excited.

    There are days I wish I was a copywriter…:-)

  12. Always interesting, thanks a lot guys.

    After listening to this episode I remembered that in your landing pages, your bullets use visual aids (red checkmarks) instead of the normal “circle” bullets. Can you talk a little more why is this so?

    Would you recommend them to emphasise certain information? Would you use both styles in the same page?

    Cheers!

    • Don’t get hung up on form over function. The visual aids next to any set of bullet points are just that — visual cues to draw the eye.

  13. Thanks for the great contribution, Jerod Morris. Writing up a Killer Bullet Points is always beneficial in attracting new readers to our site. Moreover there’s some Powerful words like “Bang”, “Attention”, “Warning”, “Stop”, etc. which quickly grab the attention towards the post. Yet, I would really thank for such article.

    Thanks and Have a Great Weekend,
    – Bishal Biswas

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