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Blog posts, tweets, and tens of thousands of images pinned to digital boards are flying past us faster than we can read them. Faster than we can even scan them, depending on the time of day.

What does this mean for writers trying to cut through it all with attention-grabbing techniques? Here are two:

  • You’d better know how to write magnetic headlines.
  • You’d better know how to write bullet points that grab (and keep) attention.


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Bullet Points

Bullet points are used to list out items in your content. They help you effectively communicate your message because they capture the attention of readers who prefer scannable content.

A bulleted list can also break up long blocks of text, and the intriguing phrases you use in your bullet points are opportunities to turn scanners into readers. Like it or not, they keep people engaged with your blog posts, pages, articles, and copy like nothing else.


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Writing Bullet Points That Work

The essence of a great bullet is brevity + promise.

  • Brevity has been a hallmark of good writing since writing began, but everyone currently possesses an acute awareness of just how important brevity is right now. Long, complex bullet points would defeat the purpose of writing bullets at all — to keep your reader moving through your copy.
  • Promise is the element that hooks your reader like a fish. You’re making a plain and legitimate claim that your product/idea/service will give them what they’ve been looking for.


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A Clear Benefit

Bullets encourage the scanning reader to go back into the real meat of your content or go forward with your call to action.

They are your mini-headlines.


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Creating Better Bullet Points: Things To Remember

  • Keep your bullet points symmetrical if possible. Meaning, one line each, two lines each, etc.
  • Avoid bullet clutter at all costs. Do not get into a detailed outline jumble of subtitles, bullets, and sub-bullets.
  • Practice parallelism. Keep your bullet groups thematically related, begin each bullet with the same part of speech, and maintain the same grammatical form.
  • Bullets (like headlines) are not sentences. If you want to write complete sentences, stick with a paragraph or a numbered list.


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Punctuation In Bulleted Lists

Since the text that comes after a bullet point shouldn’t look like a paragraph, you might be wondering about how to handle punctuation in bulleted lists.

It depends on the type of bullets that you write, but the key is to keep your punctuation consistent. Your bullet points should more or less be the same style and length.


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You can capitalize the first word that follows a bullet point in your content. However, if each of your bullet points is only one word, you could keep the letters all lowercase.

Again, whichever style you choose, just make sure you’re consistent throughout your text.


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Periods In Bullets

If your bullet points end up being short sentences, you’ll want to add periods after each one. In this case, you see why you’d capitalize the first word after a bullet point.

If the bullet points are just short phrases or incomplete sentences, they don’t need periods.


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Bullet Points That Work: External Fascinations

These types of fascinating bullet points are usually found in sales copy.

They create curiosity and work like headlines to prompt a purchase or other action.


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Bullet Points That Work: 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.


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Bullet Points That Work: Bullet Chunking

Extracting bullets out of compound sentences helps you drive home a point while also increasing the usability of your content.


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Bullet Points That Work: Authority Bullets

Authority bullets are used to recite the data and proof that support your argument.

As with all persuasive writing, turn dry factual information into interesting reading any time you can.


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Bullet Points That Work: Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger bullets tease and foreshadow what’s coming up next or in the near future.

You can also use cliffhanger bullets to lay the groundwork for an upcoming promotion, launch, or special content event.


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Bullet Points That Work: Give-Aways

These are sort of like the lady who hands out cheese cubes at the grocery store.

She gives people a little “taste” of food that keeps them alert and shopping — and many times they end up with the thing they tasted in the shopping cart.


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Bullet Points That Work: Expansion Bullets

These bullets break up the “sameness” of the page (when you have several pages of bullets), and they add more tease, demonstration, and curiosity.

Plus, they give a nice little “loop” effect to your ad that keeps sucking the reader back in.


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Bullet Points That Work: Can't Be Done Bullets

Basically, this is where you say something that is almost unbelievable.

Something 100% true, but that is so wacky and “out there” it makes you say, “How in the heck can you do that?”


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The Simple Shortcut

Craft each bullet as if it were to serve as your headline. You won’t achieve perfection with each and every bullet you write, but if you stick to this principle generally, writing them gets much easier over time.

And, more importantly, those beautiful little bulleted lines will keep your readers running down your page like water on a slide.


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