How to Write Powerful Bullet Points Your Readers Won't Skip

Bullet points are the key to writing content that grabs attention. Learn about why they’re valuable, and see examples to help you write your own.

August 11, 2022
How to Write Powerful Bullet Points Your Readers Won't Skip
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In this age of non-stop stimulation online, capturing and keeping attention is a key goal for marketers. Grabbing and holding the attention of your audience can make or break your ability to bring awareness to your brand. 

Bullet points are a form of summarized content that offers readers the brevity they want without sacrificing value. To do this, your bullet points should be high-impact statements about your content. 

In this article, we’ll share ways you can use bullet points to make your content more appealing to readers while keeping their attention. We’ll also highlight an important tool to help you write persuasive bullet points. 

Numbered lists vs. bulleted lists

Generally, there are two forms of lists — numbered lists and bulleted lists. Here are some writing tips for using each option.

When numbered lists are better

A numbered list is information introduced with a numerical value; a number. These lists are best used when the order of the items in the list matter i.e. the order in which you complete the steps is important. 

Numbered lists might be used for any of the following reasons:

  • Making a top 10 list
  • Writing a step-by-step guide
  • Listing hypotheses

Here’s how a numbered list would work in a step-by-step guide. For example, this guide teaches you how to wash a car:

  1. Prepare two buckets of water with a cleaning solution and a spare cloth.
  2. Park your car in an open space where you can reach all sides.
  3. Rinse the car with clean water to remove any loose dirt or mud.
  4. Dip the cloth in the cleaning solution and use it to wipe the car down, from top to bottom.
  5. Rinse the car again with clean water to remove all the cleaning solution.
  6. Wax your car for added shine and luxury.

When bulleted lists win

We use bullet lists instead of a numbered list if the order of the points doesn’t matter. These lists begin with a special character most commonly resembling dots, which may be a small filled-in circle or a small outlined circle.

Bulleted lists are also more versatile than numbered lists. 

The benefits of bulleted lists include that they:

  • Share content efficiently: Simplifying content into its essence gets your point across faster.
  • Improve readability: Readers enjoy content more (and stick around longer) when it is easier to skim and read.
  • Draw attention to the most important information: Readers grasp valuable information more quickly.

How to write powerful bullet points

Writing strong bullet points doesn’t have to be a mystery. Here’s what you need to know to write bulleted lists that keep readers interested in your blog articles:

1. Keep bullet points symmetrical

Make sure all the points in your list are about the same length. Eye-tracking research shows that symmetrical content holds readers’ attention for longer. Consistency is key for readability.
For example:
  • Keep bullet points symmetrical
  • Make sure they’re simple to read

NOT

  • Keep bullet points symmetrical
  • When writing bullet points, make sure they’re simple and easy to read — this makes it easier for readers to follow

It’s harder for readers’ eyes to follow your second bullet because it strays much farther than the first.

2. Simplify your idea 

Powerful bullet points get right to the point with no added fluff words or ideas. You can do this by removing any extra words and including only the most important ideas and phrases. For example:

  • Eat oranges for extra vitamin C

NOT

  • You can eat oranges to increase the amount of vitamin C in your body

3. Make them mini-headlines

Think of writing your bulleted lists the way you would write a catchy headline. It’s important to include the most important information first, then add details afterwards. You might want to incorporate power words into your first phrase to add strength to your bullet point. For example:

  • Access power words instantly

NOT

  • Get access to all the best words to use right away

4. Begin with verbs 

Verbs pull readers in instantly by offering the most informative words first. Additionally, leading with verbs creates more impactful sentences, since they emphasize the action. Strong verbs don’t require an accompanying adjective because they are descriptive on their own. For example:

  • Begin bullet points with a verb

NOT

  • To start a bullet point, use a verb

5. Incorporate keywords 

Emphasizing your keywords doesn’t just help readers find the information they need faster, it increases your article’s chances of ranking as a featured snippet. Better SEO leads to more traffic for your article and website.

5 vital tips for using bullet points effectively

Bullet points make your content shine and stand out from the crowd. Follow these writing tips to make your bullet points the best possible:

  1. Write in short phrases: Effective bullet points are short and to the point. Long bullet points defeat the goal of scannable content and will lose your audience's attention. 
  2. Remove transition words: Bullet points don’t need to be full sentences. Words like “next” or “additionally” are unnecessary and only slow your reader down.
  3. Emphasize the first few words: For longer bullets, summarize the main point in the first few words. Let the rest of the sentence explain the shortened concept or idea.
  4. Don’t use too many bullets: A long wall of bullet lists is as good as no bullets. The same thing goes for sub-bullet or nested bullet points. It results in cluttered text that is hard to skim.
  5. Ensure continuity: Make sure that your introductory sentence flows seamlessly into your bullet points. Each bullet list should form a grammatically correct sentence when joined with the introductory sentence. See an example below. 

Amara’s favorite fruits are:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Mangoes

NOT

Amara’s favorite fruits are:

  • She likes apples
  • She likes to eat bananas
  • Mango

Punctuation and grammar in bulleted lists

Both punctuation and grammatical structure matter in bulleted lists. Poor punctuation makes your article look poorly done and can cost you your credibility. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure to follow these style guidelines.

Capitalization

Typically, the first word of each bullet point starts with a capital letter. This is the standard in business writing and online content. If your bullet points are single words or phrases, some style guides allow you to begin with a lowercase letter.

Sentences

It’s up to you whether to make your bullet points complete sentences, a short headline, or just a few words. Regardless, try to maintain the same format for all of the bullet points in the list. If your bullet point is just a phrase or sentence fragment, don’t add a period at the end.

Periods

If your bullet point is a whole sentence, make sure to finish it off with a period. Adding a period after each bullet point indicates a full stop. If your point is a sentence fragment or phrase, it doesn’t need a period.

Colons

When introducing a bulleted list, make sure your introductory phrase or sentence ends with a  colon — not a dash or semicolon. 

5 great examples of bullet points to learn from

Want to see excellent examples of bullet point usage across a variety of platforms? We’ve gathered three examples to get you started: 

1. Bullet list example by APA Style Guide

examples of bullet points APA Style Guide

This bulleted list is introduced with a phrase that only mentions the most important information. It shows how a single word or phrase can be used to effectively share the main idea. 

2. Bulleted list example from the CoSchedule blog

examples of bullet points Coschedule blog

This list has a bold introductory phrase, letting readers know exactly what the list is for. It also helps them find the bullet points quickly in the article. The list comes immediately after a short couple of sentences, which maintains flow as someone reads the article.

We love that it uses just a few words or a single phrase for each point, keeping the information simple and clear. Notice how each of the list items begins with a capital letter.

3. Bulleted list example by ConvertKit

examples of bullet points convertkit blog

Here’s another bulleted list that is introduced with a sentence. Notice how the first word is bolded to emphasize the most important information first. The sentence that follows describes the initial point to add clarity and detail. Also, see how each one of the points follows the same format for ease of reading.

4. Bulleted list example by Zapier

examples of bullet points Zapier blog

This bullet list is unique because it’s written in the first person. The author successfully uses symmetry, verbs, and short phrases to quickly and effectively make his points clear. Readers get an instant feel for his success with these powerful bullet points.

5. Bulleted list example by Ahrefs

examples of bullet points Ahrefs blog

This is an example of a bulleted list that replaces long sentences with short and sweet points. Rather than losing readers’ interest with a paragraph explaining these points, a short bullet list does the trick to share the information while keeping readers engaged.

Creating persuasive bullet points with Jasper AI

Take your bullet lists from plain to powerful with Jasper’s Persuasive Bullet Points template. 

It’s so easy to add in your information, select how many outputs you’d like, and hit “Generate AI Content” for instant optimization.

Jarvis Persuasive Bullet Points template - examples of bullet points

With Jasper, you can take your value-packed product description and transform it with engaging and magnetic bullet points. There — your product description just went from boring to brilliant! 

Write anything about your company or product and let Jasper give it the extra boost to catch the eye of your ideal customer. Jasper recognizes power words, patterns, and knows which short phrases will be key for conveying your information. 

Our AI writer distills bulky text into convincing, high-impact bullet points for landing pages, product descriptions, and article readability. 

You don’t have to stop at bullet points though. Jasper can help with all of your content writing needs with over 52 different templates to take your writing from boring to brilliant. You can also get more out of Jasper by using the guides in Jasper’s Bootcamp.

You’ll get upgraded copy in no time — no editor needed! Don’t take our word for it, sign up with Jasper and try it yourself today.

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Meet the author

Austin Distel
Marketing @ Jasper

Austin Distel is the Sr. Director of Marketing at Jasper, your AI creative assistant. He's also an Airbnb superhost in Austin, Texas. You can follow Austin's adventures around the internet and the world at distel.com.

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