The Basics of Writing Bullet Points2 min read

Ah, bullet points! What would blog posts, sales letters, and sketchy PowerPoint presentations be without them?

All jokes aside, bullet points are important because:

  • Well… readers like them.
  • But typical bullet points are sort of lame … much like this one.
  • So let’s start making our bullet points fascinating.

Bullet Point Basics

Here are the five basic rules for general bullet points that convey your points clearly:

  1. Express a clear benefit and promise to the reader. That’s right… just like mini-headlines. They encourage the scanning reader to go back and give your content a real chance, or go forward with your call to action.
  2. Keep your bullet points symmetrical if possible; meaning, one line each, two lines each, etc. It’s easier on the eyes and therefore easier on the reader.
  3. Avoid clutter. Do not get into a detailed outline jumble of subtitles, bullets and sub-bullets. Bullets are designed for clarity, not confusion. Simple is always better.
  4. Practice parallelism. Keep your bullet groups thematically related, begin each bullet with the same part of speech, and maintain the same grammatical form.
  5. Remember that bullets (like headlines) are not necessarily sentences. If you want to write complete sentences, stick with a paragraph or a numbered list.

Captivate Readers

Curiosity is a powerful force. It’s one of the things that makes us human. We simply want enticing things we can’t have or don’t yet understand.

And that’s exactly what drives people to take action.

Make people curious; this technique will ensure the following:

  • Drawing people back into the content they skimmed.
  • Prompting the download of a free e-book.
  • Causing the click of a link.
  • Driving subscriptions to your blog.
  • Triggering the purchase of your product.

The key is using the benefit in a teasing manner, without actually giving away what it is.

Bullets points are maligned because most people don’t know how to write them. Put a little time and effort into making yours fascinating (or, at minimum, crystal clear and beneficial), and you’ll see your response increase.

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

14 thoughts on “The Basics of Writing Bullet Points2 min read

  1. Important to do bullet points right. How we structure a post makes it more attractive. It is hard to have a good bullet point when you feel like all of the details are important. Thank you for helping us to be disciplined.

  2. One more point (which would have been one too many): after five bullet points, people just stop reading, or else they lose track of the purpose of the list. So restrict each list to a maximum of five. Fewer is better.

  3. I just wanted to say thank you because I’ve started slowly implementing a few of your suggestions in The Art of Blogging:
    – Creating eye-catching titles
    – Writing intriguing first sentences
    – Thinking about my reader, not myself
    – Using bullet points & headings
    – Asking people to comment
    – Promoting my blog on social media
    – Interacting with other bloggers
    – Posting consistently every week
    … and although I haven’t seen huge growth yet, each post gains a few more followers, which feels great!

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