Bullet points make you a stronger blogger?
Absolutely, if you’re good a writing them. In fact, being a master at writing killer bullet points is one of the most important copywriting skills around, second only to headline-writing.
The goal of strategic bullet points is primarily to keep people reading. You’re highlighting easily-digestible bits of important information, which keeps attention focused and breaks up dense pools of text.
The downside is that if you write weak, boring bullet points, you’re giving the reader an express invitation to leave. People scan text to decide if they want to keep reading, but also as a way to justify NOT reading.
So let’s write some better bullet points.
1. External Fascinations
These types of fascinating bullet points are usually found in sales copy for information products and membership sites, and they function like headlines that prompt a purchase or other action. Also known as “blind” bullets, they hint at the content of a product or service and create curiosity without revealing the actual substance. You can also use these bullets to prompt an opt-in or subscription tied to a free report, audio or video.
Here’s an oft-cited example from ace copywriter John Carlton:
- The amazing ‘Towel Hanging’ trick that increases the strength of your erection … plus your lovemaking stamina … allowing you to supercharge your love life in a very short time! (You have to experience these kinds of ‘rocket-burst’ orgasms to believe they’re possible! See page 139.)
I don’t know about you, but that got my attention.
2. Internal Fascinations
Internal fascinations are pretty much identical to external, except they’re designed to persuade people to continue reading the post they’re already reading. If you have a long article that you want to sell people on reading all the way through, you might lead with some teaser bullet points that captivate the imagination.
By reading this article you’ll learn:
- Whether blogging is dead or not
- How to avoid the tyranny of Google
- Why you should forget the “Long Tail”
- Why you’re not normal, and why that’s a good thing
3. Bullet Chunking
Extracting bullets out of compound sentences helps you drive home a point while also increasing the usability of your content. Attention spans are short for sure, and reading dense paragraphs of text on a computer screen is still nowhere as easy as in print. Don’t forget to keep your points in parallel by beginning each bullet with the same part of speech and maintaining the same grammatical form.
Here’s an example:
Fascinating bullet points are great for:
- Drawing people back into the copy they skimmed.
- Prompting the download of a free report.
- Causing the click of a link.
- Driving subscriptions to your blog.
- Triggering the purchase of your information product.
- Initiating a new client relationship.
4. Authority Bullets
Authority bullets are used to recite the data and proof that support your argument. You want this information strongly presented in order to bolster the credibility of your content and your level of authority as a subject matter expert. As with all bullets points, try to turn dry factual information into interesting reading if at all possible.
Here’s one approach:
Don’t believe me when I say reading is an uncommon activity? Check these facts:
- 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
- 42% of college graduates never read another book.
- 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
- 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
- 57% of new books are not read to completion.
- Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
5. Cliffhanger Bullets
Cliffhanger bullets tease and foreshadow what’s coming up next or in the near future. You can close an installment in a content series with a cluster of teasers that have people looking forward to the next installment, which can also spur subscriptions. You can also use cliffhanger bullets to lay the groundwork for an upcoming promotion, launch, or special content event.
Check this one out:
Up next on Copyblogger:
- Discover how an unknown blog designer became an overnight Internet sensation, and the chance meeting that exploded his business.
- Find out why this instant rush of fame and demand resulted in headaches and frustration for this legendary designer, and why he suddenly refused to accept any more client work… at any price!
- See how this designer’s decision to stop accepting client work is the best thing that ever happened to WordPress users… and how you can work this to your immediate advantage.
See you tomorrow?