Copywriting Bullets That Hit The Target

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bullet.jpgThe Story: Almost without fail, copy that doesn’t get good results suffers from a lack of powerful, persuasive, and pithy bullet points.

The Point: Internet readers don’t read; they skim, scan, and scroll.To suck them into your copy, use bullet points that are attention-arresting, super-scanable, scroll-stopping statements.

The Resource: My own Bullet Point Copy Explained

3 Simple Bullet Point Blueprints:

1. “How To [INSERT YOUR BENEFIT HERE]”. (“How to lose weight three times faster without ever feeling hungry or deprived”

2. “The Secret To [SOLUTION] They Don’t Want You To Know”. (“The secret to getting 60 mpg that big oil companies don’t want you to know”)

3. “The Single Most…That Even…”. (“The single most effective method of reversing heart disease that even Harvard-trained physicians have never heard about”)

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.myseoblog.net Raden Payas

    Writing is not just for money…it’s passion…the more you write because you like writing, the more money will come, I think..

  • http://www.richbumwealth.com RichBum

    ray,
    this was some good stuff. taking advantage of these tips alone can bring about a shift in my responses. everything you said made perfect sense. great attention getters!!
    -RichBum

  • Cheryl

    Hi Ray,

    I just read your post and listened to your podcast about using bullet points – and now you’ve got me curious about your new product “Bullet Point Copy Explained.” (I even checked out the sales page and was disappointed not to find more “rapid fire” details.)

    I think a lot of copywriters find bullet points deceptively difficult to write. I mean, they seem simple enough – you write short pithy sentences that can stand alone, each one targeting a different benefit of the product or service. It doesn’t sound difficult at all – kind of like shooting fish in a barrel – but it’s harder than it looks.

    And I have to agree with you about how underwhelming many bullet points are – on Websites and in sales copy I see every day. Although they’re not the only elements I usually have to change or add to when I’m doing a copy critique or rewrite – I agree that bullet points that are off the mark are one of the most common copywriting mistakes I see.

    I’m not trying to steal your thunder with your new product, but I have a few questions about your new product – I hope you don’t mind if I take a shot in the dark?

    Are you going to include information about the importance of writing balanced bullets? (I like to think of some bullets as being tightrope walkers – if they aren’t perfectly balanced, they topple over into the lion’s pit.)

    And what about when bullets SHOULD be unbalanced – and how to know when to use them?

    You mentioned in your podcast that you’re going to share 21 proven ways to use bullet points. So, I admit it, I’m a linear-type personality (okay, fine – you can say it – anal) and I started writing down all the different formulas I could think of for using bullet points. I can only think of 17. So now I want to know the rest!

    Come on – spill it…when is your new product going to be ready? Hit us with your best shot…

  • http://www.makemymarketingwork.com Paul Keetch

    Me again, Ray.

    I find bullets really hard to write effectively. I guess I am one of those that probably needs your new course. :)

    To Cheryl: great question about ‘balanced’ and ‘unbalanced’ bullets. I find most of mine end up being on the unbalanced side and that is where my copy really weakens.

    I wonder if copy can have “too many bullets”?

    Paul


    Learn marketing strategy before you ever apply the tactics at http://www.MakeMyMarketingWork.com

  • Cheryl Antier

    Hey Paul…

    Yes I think copy can have too many bullets…too many and your reader is going to get sidetracked.

    Why? Because as Ray said in his podcast, bullets are supposed to be scan-able and scroll-stopping.

    But if you write too many – you end up giving away too much, your reader becomes distracted or feels like he knows everything he needs to know – and chances are, (s)he quits reading.

    Or to put it another way, as my Great-Aunt Agatha used to say, “Why would a farmer want to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free?” (And she ought to know. Aggie was married to a farmer for 32 years!)

  • http://www.intelliot.com Elliot

    Those are good attention-grabbing bullet points. It’s also important to put some real unique content into them; when I see the same clichés over and over, I simply ignore them.

  • http://www.outsourceSuccess.com Gavin Allinson

    I hope I’m not giving away too may secrets but Ray devotes a whole section in Web Coopywriting explained to mastering bullet points. I was amazed at the amount of different types there are.

    Gavin Allinson
    gavin@outsourcesuccess.com

  • Ed Erickson

    Great stuff Ray.

    The effectiveness of how a sales page reads including smart bullet points reminds me a lot of Web Usability guidelines that I’ve been studying as part of my *day job*.

    The fact that people do scan when they are reading is a foundational point in Usablity. They especially tend to read in an F pattern which all the moreso emphasizes the need for powerful bullets. I know when I read sales copy, I heavily scan, then go back if I need to. Good copy and the value it builds sure will pull or *suck* you in… and the wallet out of your pocket!

    For great insight on Usability and the powerful effect it can have on the various forms of web pages that we design and place before people to get info across and them to act, check out this resource… http://www.nngroup.com/

    BTW, interesting thoughts on balanced/unbalanced bullets Cheryl.

  • Ray Edwards

    @ Raden:
    There are a lot of people with “passion” who write their butts off and don’t make a dime. While it’s true having passion helps keep you going… for me it’s about the money, too.

    @ Richbum:
    Thanks, I always enjoy people agreeing with me.

    @ Cheryl:
    You make a good point… I’ll put “balanced bullets” on my list to write about.

    @ Gavin:
    Thanks for the plug for Web Copywriting Explained… and yes, we spend a lot of time on bullets in there!

  • http://www.emotionalintelligencecenter.com/Pay-Per-Play JEFF WELLS

    Bullet points can also be emphasised be altering the font and point size. Of course bold them when you can and use a different set of characters for each set of bullets. Use a dash, an arrow, an equal sign, #’s, *’s mix it up for variety.

  • http://www.healymarketing.com Ryan Healy

    Bullets are interesting. I’ve found that in some markets, the longer style bullets work well. But other times, I’ve used short bullets with good effect.

    A short bullet might look like this…

    “How to write bullets that sell.”

    I think in markets that have a lot of hype, this plain-and-simple style can sometimes work better.

  • http://www.emotionalintelligencecenter.com/Pay-Per-Play JEFF WELLS

    Next time you want to use bullets
    in your web page codeing,
    try using the list tag
    inside of an unordered list .
    http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_lists.asp

    Another method is to use standardized unicodes.
    0x2022 , &bull and &#x2022 all produce bullets.
    (U+2023) produces a trianguler bullet.

    On most windows keyboards
    (Atl+0149) will type a bullet,
    and (Alt+7) will type a midpoint
    (sometimes called periodcentered)
    which is often used as a bullet point.

    On a Mac use option+8 for a bullet,
    and option-shift+9 for a midpoint.

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