Feb 20, 2023

How to Write Powerful Bullet Points That Get Your Readers' Attention

Image of Mayank, Founder at Scalenut
Mayank Jain
How to Write Powerful Bullet Points That Get Your Readers' Attention
Image of Mayank, Founder at Scalenut
Mayank Jain
Feb 20, 2023

How to Write Powerful Bullet Points That Get Your Readers' Attention

The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. So, how can you grab and sustain their attention within this time frame? One way to do this is by using bullet points.
How to Write Powerful Bullet Points That Get Your Readers' Attention

Table of contents

The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Likewise, most readers skim through content, especially long pieces of content like blogs, articles, and even social media posts. So, how can you should grab and sustain their attention within this time frame? One way to do this is using bullet points.

The bullet points are not just a summarized form of content. They also break the monotony of constant paragraphs and provide the much-needed white space for long-form content. Now, this leads us to the question:

What are the best practices to follow while writing bullet points?

There are no defined rules for writing bullet points. However, there are certain steps and bullet points examples that you can consider to write interesting bullet points.

In this article, we will talk about:

  • How to write bullet points
  • Subtle differences between a bulleted and numbered list
  • Minute details to remember while willing interesting bullet points
  • And some awesome examples. 

So, without further ado, let's get started. 

Bulleted List Vs Numbered List

One thing that often confuses most writers is whether to use a bulleted list or a numbered list. In this segment, let's uncover which one is a better option:

When to use a numbered list 

If you are making a list where the order of the points matter, such as:

  • A top 10 ( or 5, 15, 20) list
  • A step-by-step guide 
  • A listed hypotheses

Here is an example:

10 simple steps to reduce screen timing:

  1. Use paper and a pen
  2. Reduce your social media indulgence
  3. Set a limit on on-screen entertainment
  4. Visit online stores only if you need something 
  5. Delete gaming apps and drift towards physical games 
  6. Avoid video calls and set strict time schedules for the calls
  7. Read original books (aren't you missing the smell of those beauties?)
  8. Don't think too much while creating content, all the while staring at your screen 
  9. Ban screens while eating (and spend some quality time with your friends and family)
  10. Don't look at the screen while walking or driving and save your life or precious body parts

When to use a bulleted list

If the order of the points doesn't matter, opt for a bulleted list. If you wish to convert the above list into bullet points, all you have to do is tweak it a bit, like this:

Simple ways to reduce screen time:

  • Use paper and a pen
  • Reduce your social media indulgence
  • Set a limit on on-screen entertainment
  • Visit online stores only if you need something 
  • Delete gaming apps and drift towards physical games 
  • Avoid video calls and set strict time schedules for the calls
  • Read original books (aren't you missing the smell of those beauties?)
  • Don't think too much while creating content, all the while staring at your screen 
  • Ban screens while eating (and spend some quality time with your friends and family)
  • Don't look at the screen while walking or driving and save your life or precious body parts

We just removed the number "10" and changed "steps" to "ways''. 

That's the only difference. Any list that revolves around numbers requires a numbered list and the rest are better suited for a bulleted list.

How to write powerful bullet points

To curate perfect content, it is important to pay attention to every aspect of writing, including bullets. Here are a few actionable suggestions from expert writers: 

1. Use a two-tiered bullet approach to writing

Let's suppose you come across a list of items to be purchased that looks like this:

  • Baseball: Baseball gloves, Baseballs, Bats
  • Basketball: Basketballs
  • Golf: Golf clubs, Golf balls

Now, let's apply the two-tiered approach: 

  • Baseball
    • Baseball gloves
    • Baseballs
    • Bats
  • Basketball
    • Basketballs
  • Golf
    • Golf clubs
    • Golf balls

Which one of the above bullet form examples is better?

The second one Creates a deeper visual impact as it looks more detailed, even though it contains the exact same information. This exemplifies one of the main reasons to opt for a two-tiered bullet list whenever you can because it gives a clearer and more impactful summary.

2. Keep bullet points symmetrical

Look at the following example of bullet points listing content ideas for social media posts:

  • Share problems that you faced in your industry. Don't forget to mention the solutions and how to avoid such situations. You may also share some of the experiences (both good and bad) you learned from.
  • Offer guidance, tricks; suggestions, and help to others on the platform through your posts
  • Share your insights on any topic that you feel like addressing.
  • Share memes related to your industry. They garner high engagement because we all need humor in our lives.
  • If nothing comes to your mind, scroll through the posts of the leaders in your industry. Get inspiration (do not copy if you don't wish to give credit) from there and share your thoughts on the same.

Now have a look at these bullet points that explain how you can grow on social media platforms without sharing content:

  • Research your ideal audience's problems
  • Pick 5 to 10 of the most common you hear
  • Create content to solve all those problems
  • Pick a list of around 20 influencers you like
  • Follow them and engage with their content
  • Reserve 30 minutes twice a day to engage
  • Do not shy away from sharing your opinion
  • Last but not the least, optimize your profile

Now, which one do you think is better? Obviously, the second one looks symmetrical and more organized. Therefore, you would want to actually read every word. However, more people would only just skim through the first list. 

So, what should you do if you have a bullet list like the first one? Let the editor in you take over, break sentences, and chop out the unnecessary fluff to make it look like the second one. Here is how:

  • Share problems that you faced in your industry
  • Offer solutions and suggest how to avoid issues
  • Share your insights on industry-relevant topics 
  • Share humorous memes related to your industry
  • Get inspiration from posts relevant to your industry 

3. Simplify your idea

Compelling bullet points are supposed to be precise. Just get straight to the point and use simple language to get your ideas across to your readers. For example:

Don't write like: 

Write as though you're making a conversation with your readers.

Write like this instead: 

Write in a conversational tone.

So, even if you have written long sentences, just chop them up while editing.

4. Start your sentence with verbs

An action word will instantly grab the attention of the readers. Starting a bullet point with a verb can turn the points into powerful and actionable statements. Let's check this up with an example.

To avoid any errors, proofread and edit your write-up

Now, look at this:

Proofread and edit your write-up to avoid any errors

Did you see the difference? Just by changing the sentence structure a little bit, you can turn the bullet point into a CTA.

5. Highlight benefits rather than features or product

When you check out any product that you are interested in, the main thing you look out for is how it resolves your pain points. The same goes for the targeted audience. So, better list out what they are looking for.

6. Don't forget the keywords

Yes, that's right! You can incorporate keywords into bullet points because this simple step increases the chances of your article ranking as a featured snippet. So, pick keywords and use them in your bulleted list. 

Punctuation and grammar in bulleted lists

What is the first thought that you get when you see a piece of content with punctuation and grammar errors? You will not want to read it and the source will lose credibility. The same applies to a poorly constructed bullet list. So, here is how you can avoid mistakes:

1. How to use punctuation with bullet points?

If your bullet points contain full-fledged sentences, it is imperative to put a period at the end of them. However, there is no need for a period for short phrases or sentence fragments. If you are introducing a bulleted list, make sure to end the sentence with a colon and not with a dash.

2. How to use capitalization in a bulleted list?

You might have noticed that every bullet point summary example in this article starts with a capital letter. This is the standard practice for online content and other forms of writing. Some style guides suggest using lowercase letters only if the points contain a single word or phrase.

For example:

5 fruits containing Vitamin C are: 

  • orange
  • grapes
  • kiwi 
  • grapefruit
  • lychees

7 great examples of bullet points to get inspiration

The attention of the audience is instantly drawn toward aesthetically pleasing content. If your bullet points are appealing to the eye, it will be easier for the readers to spot and read them. Writing bullet points in this manner often takes up significant time but the result is worth all your efforts. Here are 7 bullet points examples that established writers vouch for:

Example 1: The Symmetrical List 

As we have already noticed, the symmetrical list is quite alluring as compared to a haphazard list that looks rather sloppy. We have already seen how it looks and how you can write such a list but let's have another look:

  • Research your ideal audience's problems
  • Pick 5 to 10 of the most common you hear
  • Creating content solving all those problems
  • Pick a list of around 20 influencers you like
  • Follow them and engage with their content
  • Reserve 30 minutes twice a day to engage
  • Do not shy away from sharing your opinion
  • Last but not the least, optimize your profile

Tip: Just list out all the points you need to share without breaking the flow of your writing. Then, go back to the first point and see what you can remove. Considering it as your reference, edit all the other points.

Example 2: The Ascending List

Creating this list is far easier than the symmetrical list because you just have to ensure that the next point has to expand a bit more than the last one. Unlike the symmetrical list, you don't have to go back and forth to edit it. This is an ascending that shows how writing every day can help you:

Writing daily will help you to:

  • Write better daily
  • Write faster over time
  • Build the habit of writing
  • Improve spoken conversation
  • Understand human emotion better
  • Improve your content creation process
  • Become a better communicator as a whole

Did you notice the fourth point? It only has 3 words, one less than the previous point! So, you don't have to worry about the word count at all and instead focus on the visual length.

Example 3: The Descending List 

Just flip the ascending list and you will get a descending list. Have a look at this:

Writing daily will help you to:

  • Become a better communicator as a whole
  • Improve your content creation process
  • Understand human emotion better
  • Improve spoken conversation
  • Build the habit of writing
  • Write faster over time
  • Write better daily

See, we literally flipped the above list and here you are with a descending bullet list. Here is another example of a descending bullet list that shares the steps that lead to conversions on social media (SM):

  • You post quality content - consistently
  • You comment like crazy every day
  • You create new conversations
  • They visit your SM profile(s)
  • You get noticed by them
  • They see your content
  • They follow you
  • They connect
  • You're hired

Writing these is also important and you also get to enjoy a bit of creative liberty for such lists. If you have to write 2 groups of bullet points one after another, using an ascending and descending list would look good. For example: 

Writing daily will help you to:

  • Write better daily
  • Write faster over time
  • Build the habit of writing
  • Improve spoken conversation
  • Understand human emotion better
  • Improve your content creation process
  • Become a better communicator as a whole

When you write better on a daily basis, here is what happens:

  • You post quality content - consistently
  • You comment like crazy every day
  • You create new conversations
  • They visit your SM profile(s)
  • You get noticed by them
  • They see your content
  • They follow you
  • They connect
  • You're hired

These lists are great not only for blogs and articles but also for emails and social media posts. So, impress your audience and clients with bullet points that instantly grab attention.

Example 4: The Alternating List

If you think following a symmetrical, ascending, or descending bullet point format is taking a lot of your time, it would be better to try the alternating bullet list. Here is an example: 

Ask yourself these questions before you even begin writing a copy:

  1. What do you wish to achieve?
  2. Who are the people you wish to target?
  3. Do you know their points of pain?
  4. Where are they in the buyer's journey?

It is quite easy, right? All you have to do is to ensure that the alternating points are bigger or smaller than the last one. 

Example 5: The Emoji Bullet List 

Unleash your creative side and let the emojis be a part of your bullet list. You can use emojis as bullets for very creative blogs (however, consult your clients before you use them) or social media posts. 

    ✅️  The title should clearly state the context: "3 Tips to Take Your Copy to the Next Level"

    ✅️  The "lead" or first paragraph should be short and engaging for your audience 

    ✅️  Last but the most important step is to use simple words and sentences

You can open the document on a tablet or a mobile to insert emojis. Alternatively, a simple Google search will show multiple websites from where you can copy and paste any emoji you want. 

To achieve a similar effect, press the spacebar 4 times before inserting the emoji and press the spacebar twice after it.

Example 6: Paired Bullets

If you wish to present contradicting opinions or draw comparisons side by side, paired bullets are the perfect option. These bullets give a clear perspective to your audience while also offering a lot of white space between the pains.

Here is how you can transform your outlook as a copywriter:

    ❌️  You need to be the best writer in the room!

    ✅️  You need to be the best "idea generator"

    ❌️  The boldest, most out-of-the-box copy wins!

    ✅️  The "clearest" copy wins > Clear, not clever

    ❌️  You need to come up with the final copy asap!

    ✅️  "Clear" and "simple" copy usually takes months

    ❌️  Every great idea you have will get published!

    ✅️  99% of your copy will serve as "inspiration only"

    ❌️  Deliver "my final copy recommendations"

    ✅️  Pitch "my thought process behind this copy"

Use the similar trick as mentioned in example 5 to achieve the bullet effect. Also, try to keep the same length for the sentences of the paired points. 

Example 7: Grouped List

You can use grouped lists to draw comparisons separately and to justify or add to the previous bullet lists. Grouped lists look highly organized and much cleaner as compared to long sentences in bullet lists. 

Additionally, there are multiple bullet point ideas and formats that you can try to make your grouped list impactful. Here is an example:

Improve your copywriting skills by following these simple hacks:

  • If it feels like writing, rewrite it.
  • If it doesn't sound natural, rewrite it.
  • If it sounds like you're selling, rewrite it.
  • If it doesn't spark any emotion, rewrite it.
  • If it sounds too long, it probably is too long.
  • If it isn't very specific, it's probably very vague.
  • If it is written for everyone, it is meant for no one.

While you are at it, don't pay attention to all the noise that sounds like:

  • "You'll never make it big. Your copywriting sounds basic."
  • "You'll never earn 6 figures as a non-native speaker."
  • "You'll not be a good parent. You work too much."
  • "Stick to startups. Leave the big clients to us."
  • "Stick to writing. Strategy is not your sport."
  • "Stick to the Balkans. You belong there."
  • "Faker. Wannabe influencer. Bosnian."

You can experiment with the format of these bullet points. Using a symmetrical bullet list to create a grouped list also appears appealing. 

Try out all these bullet point formats and see what works for you. 

Creating persuasive bullet points with Scalenut AI

When keeping a reader engaged is a top priority, bullet points are a sure-shot way of making the content gripping and interesting. Bullet points have to be precise and should convey the summary of your ideas in an impactful manner. Scalenut’s sentence/paragraph to bullet points generator can help you in this regard.

The best part is that our tool can generate innovative bullet points for your product or service in 3 simple steps:

  1. Enter the name of your brand on the product
  2. Describe your product or service
  3. Click on the Generate button

That's all! Your bullet list will be ready in no time. But what if you don't like it? Simply generate more results at the click of a button. 

Based on the latest GPT3 AI technology, the generator can curate authentic bullet points customized to your product or services. Scalenut helps you write concise and appealing bullet points for your:

  • Webpage content 
  • Marketing content
  • Blogs and articles
  • Description of product or service 
  • Anything else you have in mind

What are you still waiting for? Sign up on Scalenut to let the AI help you create better and faster content.

Mayank Jain
Co-Founder, Scalenut
ABout the AUTHOR
Mayank Jain
Co-Founder, Scalenut

A content marketing geek at heart, Mayank is the captain of the ship at Scalenut. He believes in building for the users and ensures that every Scalenut feature helps people get the most from the all-in-one SEO and content marketing platform.

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