As a web content writer, you probably have listened to one too many lectures about how bullet points are very effective tools of communication.
Well how about we tell you how to create effective bullet points without any blood, sweat and tears? Here’s how to craft bullet points that will shoot right off the page.
How do bullet points work?
The bullet point is a powerful tool in a copywriter’s repertoire. Here’s how they work,
They liven up your writing: It adds a specific point of interest in paragraphs for the reader. Bullet points break up your copy and offer bite-sized chunks for the reader to peruse.
They are easy to scan: Readers tend to scan rather than read through every line of a web page. Therefore bullet points offer a landing point for scanners to gather information from.
They capture attention: Since bullet points are often used to highlight the most important aspects, they immediately capture the attention of the reader.
Effective construction of bullet points
Despite having the understanding that bullet points are crucial to web content writing, not many of us use it effectively.
Instead of bullet points giving the reader critical information, ineffective construction throws them off guard with inconsistent and confusing information.
Here are the fundamental guidelines that will help you craft quality bullet points.
Use a homogenous grammatical construction.
Often when writers create bullet points, the grammatical construction used in one line is not consistent with the next. For example, if you are writing a blog post, you should
- Not use excessive jargon
- Include internal links
- To write interesting headlines
- you should also proofread the article carefully
Every bullet point in the above example is grammatically different. While the first point starts with a negative, the second one starts with a verb, the third one with a preposition and the fourth bullet point begins with a pronoun. The same example can be re-written for clarity in the following fashion.
If you are writing a blog post, you should:
- Avoid excessive use of jargon
- Include internal links,
- Write interesting headlines and
- Proofread the article carefully.
Ensure that the bullet points complete the platform statement
The introductory words that precede the bullet points are known as the platform statement. Generally, the platform statements are not complete statements. They make complete sentences in conjunction with the bullet points.
In the example above the third point reads like this, “For example, if you are writing a blog post, you should to write interesting headlines.”
The fourth point reads, “For example, if you are writing a blog post, you should you should also proofread the post carefully.”
They make perfect sense in the next example which is the correct use of the platform statement in conjunction with the bullet points. It is easy to ensure you aren’t making a mistake, just read each bullet point out loud with the platform statement to be sure of the construction.
Stick to consistent punctuation though all the points
In the same example, the first point ends with a comma, the second with has no punctuation, the third one has a semi-colon and the fourth one has a full stop. Readers find consistent pattern and punctuation easy to follow.
Also the use of capitals is not consistent in the points. The last point does not begin with a capital letter.
The trick is simple, pay attention to the punctuation and the capital letters and you will have consistent sharp bullet points that will hit the bull’s eye time and again.
Now that you know the technical aspects of bullet points, here are some trade secrets that will give you the edge over your competitors and more eyes on your web page. (Shhhh! Keep it a secret though.)
Experiment: Smart content writers don’t just think about the words on the page. The format, the spacing between the lines and even between the words make a difference in reader perception. Similarly instead of using plain and boring bullet points, experiment a little. Look again at your bullet point library. Look for something like color, a different shape or size. The different bullet point will give you an edge and an impact.
Use check marks:The added bonus that comes with check marks is the fact that they make your list look more like a checklist. It will help motivate your reader to act on your writing. Also they work well with reinforcing ideas and benefits. Arrows also have the same impact as a check mark.
Last bullet point: Most readers scan the first and the last bullet point. Most writers on the other hand consciously or unconsciously filter the bullet points on the basis of importance.
In the quest to make bullet points more effective copywriters over time have added images that summarize or support the statement that the bullet point makes. Images grab attention and that’s the bull’s eye that you are looking to strike. In your personal quest to get your writing to capture the reader’s attention keep these things in your mind:
- Grammar and
How do you ensure that your bullet points are sharp arrows that hit the target every time? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.