5 Ways Strategic Bullet Points Make You a Stronger Content Marketer

5 Ways Strategic Bullet Points Make You a Stronger Content Marketer

Reader Comments (92)

  1. I came across this post just seconds after resolving (publicly) to spiff up my new writing blog using tips from the pros. Bullet points will be at the top of my list of improvements! Thanks for the useful and timely advice.

  2. Hey,
    I’ve never commented on copyblogger before, but i’m a charter TS member and have been reading copyblogger for a while now. Honestly, although i’m young ive been using the net for a while now, and the stuff you guys produce is just ridiculously on point.

    Like it’s almost mindblending how useful copyblogger and TS are to me. Not just for ‘informational products’ or membership sites.. just everything. I apply this to my company.. to resolving disputes between my parents. I guess its really about tapping into the psychology of people and structuring correctly.

    I just wish there were exercises which I could do to warmup my brain. For example I’ll read an entry with the benefit conveyed in the headline, and the point will be obviously reinforced throughout the entry but at the end I feel as if I should be challenged to apply it somehow and I just get lost on what to apply it to. Maybe some kind of exercises to do here n there and people could reply through comments?

    thx again much love!

  3. I love the Cliffhanger Bullets. It seems like such a common sense way to win over over readers, but I obviously needed the reminder. Thanks.

  4. I guess it all depends on the size of the towel.

    James, that’s because nearly everything you write is a story. What was the last story you read with bullet points? I can’t think of one.

    I knew what fascinations were in direct sales copy, but hadn’t known about some of these other techniques. Super-useful, Brian, thanks!

  5. You know, the problem is, I do this so much now that I find myself doing it in emails to people. They ask me a question and I respond with three bullet points (because odd numbers work better for lists than even ones).

  6. I’ve always been a fan of bullet points. Thanks for pointing out their strengths. I’ve never used cliffhanger bullet points before. I’ll have to find some way of incorporating them. Thanks!
    Rick

  7. Folks, if navigating the blogosphere is anything like hitchhiking the galaxy, a towel is always a necessity.

    That said, I have a question about authority, bullets or not: When you (not necessarily targeted at Brian) include statistics or other data, how do you attribute the source? Or do you?

    I typically include [Source: {link}] at the end of the line or graf.

  8. Brian,
    * nice picture going with the post
    * after reading your post I won’t forget bullet points and
    * try to use them in my blog whenever possible.
    thanks for the article!

  9. For new blogger I know this is one great help. And one that they should do to have a great blog it should be written in a original content. Nice article you have here.

  10. Just as I thought that making sub-headings are enough to convince my readers to read my posts until the end.

    I remember this technical writing advise from my English teacher not so long ago. Bullets are very important to make your readers a bit more relax.

  11. Yes – awesome graphic and the towel scoop really is great visual – too funny!

    I like the internal fascinations to keep people reading your post and the cliffhanger bullets to bring people back tomorrow. Both kind of like a great title or headline?

  12. Great article. So I’m no expert copywriter, but in my experience the intro paragraph, “the offer”, and the testimonials are the most important after the headline. So this is an awesome, awesome article, but I’d like to contend that bullet points are not as important as a lot of people think (although they’re great for outlining benefits). But that’s just my take.

  13. Clay, good point. What I was trying to say was bullet-writing is the second most important *skill* after headline-writing. A lot of people have a hard time writing really good bullet points compared with laying out an offer or inserting testimonials.

  14. Yeah, it’s an important skill.

    I’ve seen some really good bullet points where the benefits are friggin’ stacked. The use of parenthesis can be used well for this (I’ve seen studies showing that, in some cases, people pay more attention to text within parentheses than normal text). Like 10 benefits (many of them implicitly stated) in one bullet point.

    On the testimonial bit… there’s definitely a skill there too. It seems there’s an art to gathering good testimonials, or creating an environment for good testimonials. Or whatever. Testimonial interviews, etc. But I guess that’s a whole other conversation 🙂

  15. “I’d like to contend that bullet points are not as important as a lot of people think”

    Clay, I’m gonna have to wrestle you on this one : )

    I argue bullet point writing is THE single most important skill a copywriter can have bar none.

    Even more important than headline writing.

    Why?

    Well (and I admit, I didn’t really “get” this myself until hearing Ken McCarthy teach it), what is your headline but your best bullet (or variation of your best bullet)?

    Heck, if you can write a good bullet, you can write a good headline.

    You can write a good subheadline.

    You can write a good P.S.

    You can write a good order form.

    You can write a good first paragraph.

    And so on, and so forth.

    This is why so many top copywriters start off by writing bullets first. Those bullets — even if they don’t end up as actual bullets in the ad — become the “fodder” for everything else.

    Anyway, just something to think about.

    Ben

    P.S. If you want to write “super bullets” dig up some Mel Martin ads and study them under a microscope. He was the master bullet writer. You can find a few at http://www.infomarketingblog.com.

  16. OK, so first off I think this is a great article with lots of value….

    Ben,

    Alright dude, I’m going to argue that **if you can write a good headline** then …

    –you can write a good P.S.
    –you can write a good intro sentence, etc.
    –you can write a good [insert whatever]

    So yeah, a good copywriter is a good copywriter.

    I’m with John Carleton on all this bullet point stuff for sales letters.

    But really it’s all just an empirical question that can vary on a product-by-product basis.

    Just split test and do what works best for you.

  17. I hear ya, Clay.

    And frankly, the more tests I see, the more I realize that “rules” truly are made to be broken anyway. (I once saw an ad that had lots of hot bullets fail compared to an alternate version with none. Same with an ad that had testimonials versus no testimonials — the one without testimonials out-pulled the one with testimonials. Strange indeed…)

    Ben

  18. Brian;

    In my world (white papers), the most common bullets are lists of benefits.

    The second most common are the use of what you refer to as chunking (breaking a sentence into bullets).

    Good work.

    Mike

  19. “80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.” Wow, it is no wonder that Americans seem to be losing focus to what is important. If everyone just read 3-4 books a year, we as a whole would be much more intelligent. Instead we watch 1-2 TV shows a day!

  20. *I LOVE bullets!

    I’m very visual and when I have to read massive amounts of text I love to be able to skim the bullets first to see if I even want to spend time reading the whole gob of words.

    *Draw me in with the Sizzle

    I’m the kind of reader that wants to get right to the juicey stuff. I’ll skim the bullets and go back to read the ones that get my attention first – in otherwords I don’t always want to read thru the whole thing in a linear fashion. That’s exactly how I read this post.

  21. This is very useful information, especially with Internet Readers who are seeking instant gratification, bullets can certainly keep your readers reading to the end.

    I love bullets in all writing they can entice, make writing concise, provide clarity and emphasize main points.

    I think I will post a link to this as one my Blogosphere All Stars!

    Thanks Brian,
    JR

  22. Nice article – perfect length and visual appeal.

    I’d like to add one other usage: Humor. Sometimes information that could be parsed off with commas or extra sentences doesn’t hit the funny bone like bullet points. I think it has something to do with the way you can quickly absorb each bullet point as a unit, more like a picture.

    To summarize, bullets are good for:

    – Being authoritative
    – Making cliffhangers
    – Using a towel to increase the girth of my boner.

  23. Great post.

    Also if you observe your reaction to the bullets in this post notice that the ones capturing your attention most include on or more of the following:

    1. Specific names or titles. For example the “Towel Hanging trick”.

    2. Specific numbers eg. “58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.”

    That specific 58% drags you into the bullet.

    3. Ideas that appeal to the reader and entice him to read or keep reading (that’s kind of obvious).

    Using specific names, place names, numbers facts and figures makes for far more compelling bullets and copy.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  24. I love the Cliffhanger Bullets. It seems like such a common sense way to win over over readers, but I obviously needed the reminder. Thanks.

  25. I have been blogging for 6 months here at gosview.com. In my short blogging journey, I have read many tips about SEO & content marketing. But this post is really helpful for me to improve content marketing effort and better SEO.
    Thanks for sharing these tips.

  26. Hi Brian,

    I just started my own blog. And at the moment there are only two posts published there; one is bulleted the other isn’t.

    The interesting thing is that the bulleted one has about 14 comments. The unbulleted one (though I personally think is the better one) doesn’t have any, several days after publishing.

    I can see the power of bullet points right there. And now I am going to make them even better with what you’ve shared here.

    Thanks!

  27. Great article Brian,
    I’m a big fan of bullet points, especially when you need to write long content. Also, in this fast paced world there are a lot of people who simply skim read articles. Bullet points give them something to anchor on.

    I like the idea of using the authoritative bullets to support an argument. I haven’t done this in the past but will definitely look at doing it in the future. Thanks for the article.

  28. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for a great post that includes action items! I use bullets extensively in my blog posts to communicate information clearly and concisely while improving readability. But your post demonstrably proves that I am not yet using them to full effect. Love the tips! Good work!

  29. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for this. Have always been a big fan of using bullet points in my content. These are great tips. Glad to know that I’m on the right path when I use them.

    Wish I could have shared this today with my teammates. Had a departmental meeting and every slide had bullet points…used in the worst way possible 🙁

  30. Another great insightful article! I love it when you guys re-publish old content, just shows how relevant all this stuff still is.

    Just reading a classic web copywriting book right now and it’s talking about the power of the “benefits bullet point”. Bullets are simple, effective and persuasive.

    I love your cliffhanger ones…definitely trying those next!

  31. These are all excellent examples of the types of bullet points that convince me not to read an article. They’re just padding, making it hard for a reader to get to the author’s actual message. Just say what it is you have to say, without all the hype.

  32. Truly special content. It has re-inforced my belief in pointing out bullets as I love them and always appreciate them. It also shows us that, when we are sharing great value we should be proud of the fact that we are emphasising the most powerful areas for action or awareness for the reader. Great post Thankyou!

  33. Thanks For the post! I always adore bold bullet points in a blog. Addition to this i noticed one thing that the bullet points with odd number work effectively as compare to even number of bullet points.

  34. Very useful tips and These are all excellent examples of the types of bullet points that convince me not to read an article. I Just reading a classic web copy writing book right now and it’s talking about the power of the “benefits bullet point”. Bullets are simple, effective and persuasive. Thanks a lot for sharing this content with us.

  35. Hi Brian,

    First of all I congratulate you about the photo that you have chosen for the post, it really adds more value. As for content I can’t describe it, it’s just so marvelous.

  36. I couldn’t agree more, Iv’e experirnced this first hand on my projects. The more proffessional the writer was the more bullets he used and less overall text.

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