23 Ways to Strengthen Your Bullet-Writing Skills …

Yesterday, I talked about how to "write powerful bullets that your readers will devour like starving teenagers … " If you missed it, you can read it by clicking here.

Bullets stimulate curiosity, build desire, grab attention, and keep your reader glued to your copy – making them an essential writing skill to have in your arsenal, no matter what type of writing you do.

Today, I'm going to take writing compelling and effective bullets one step further by presenting to you 23 different bullet-writing formulas, but first a special reminder …

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Now back to the 23 bullet writing formulas:

  1. The "how to" bullet – A very popular bullet. It promises to provide the reader information on how to do something. Example: How to lose 10 lbs. in one week by eating pizza every day.
  2. The "why" bullet – You promise to reveal something to the reader that will make a difference in their life. Example: Why you can't trust Wall Street or your broker. Find out all the tricks they play with your money that threaten your retirement and your peace of mind.
  3. The "what" bullet – The "what" bullet has two formats: (1) You promise to give your reader specific instructions. Example: What you must do now to safeguard yourself from the upcoming bird flu epidemic; (2) You provide your reader with important information. Example: What your dentist won't tell you about dental floss.
  4. The "avoid these mistakes" bullets – You advise the reader on how to avoid possible mistakes they might be making (or are about to make). Example: Avoid these common newbie mistakes writers make when launching their freelance business.
  5. The "what never" bullet – You tell the reader something they should never do. Example: What never to eat on an airplane (a very famous bullet written by copywriter Mel Martin).
  6. The "plus" bullet – This bullet works best at the end of a list of bullets. It gives the reader the impression that they're getting more, more, MORE. Example: PLUS – my complete list of pizza ingredients that have been scientifically proven to promote weight loss.
  7. The "number" bullet – You tell the reader about multiple secrets or ways of doing things. Example: Six ways you can win the lottery without buying a ticket.
  8. The "right … WRONG" bullet – You give the reader a common belief and then you suggest that it's not actually true. Example: Eating pizza every day is a sure way to gain weight, right? WRONG! Find out about the new pizza sauce that actually encourages weight loss. Now you can eat all the pizza you want 24 hours a day and actually lose weight!
  9. The "warning" bullet – With this bullet, you warn the reader about imminent danger ahead. Example: WARNING – Avoid these three popular stocks. Your very livelihood could depend on it.
  10. The "secret" bullet – This bullet promises to let the reader in on something that's not commonly known. Example: The secret bidding technique eBay doesn't want you to know about.
  11. The "Are you … ?" bullet – You ask the reader about something you believe he's already doing. You could also start the bullet off with "Do you … ?" "Does your … ?" or "Is your … ?" Example: Are you making this common mistake when shopping for frozen pizza?
  12. The "gimmick" bullet – This involves finding an idea in your copy and applying a creative name to it. The idea being that the name creates intrigue. Example: The amazing "hipster walking technique"" that burns off twice as many calories as usual without an extra effort.
  13. The "If … then" bullet – You ask the reader if they are experiencing some kind of malady or problem and then suggest that you have a solution for them. Example: If you experience crippling migraine headaches, then you'll want to turn to page 38 immediately for Dr. Smith's "three-finger temple massage" technique.
  14. The "sneaky" bullet – Not to be overused, you inform the reader that there's something a specific group of people don't want you to know about. Example: The sneaky way upscale restaurants pass off a $6 bottle of wine as an extremely rare (and expensive) vintage.
  15. A "statement of interest plus a benefit" bullet – You state a fact and then follow it with a benefit. Example: Donuts are the number one cause of weight gain for police officers. Find out how you can use an Apple Fritter to get out of your next speeding ticket.
  16. The "direct benefit" bullet – Here you start off with a strong claim and follow it up with additional benefits. Example: Turn ugly flab into muscle overnight – Amazing new ten-minute exercise technique turns a Woody Allen-type body into a Superman-type body in less than eight hours.
  17. The "specific question" bullet – You lead with an intriguing question followed by a promise that they will discover a solution in the promoted product or service. Example: What day of the week are you most likely to have a heart attack? Here's the surprising answer and what you can do first thing each morning to safeguard yourself.
  18. The "when" bullet – You tell your reader if they do something by a certain date or time, something good will happen. Example: Make this tiny $100 investment before you file your next tax return and you'll save thousands of dollars on your 2012 taxes.
  19. The "quickest and easiest" bullet – A very popular bullet. Example: The quickest and easiest way to lose weight without exercising or changing your eating habits.
  20. The "stop losing" bullet – This bullet gives the reader advice on how to put an end to something that could be harming them in some way. Example: Stop wasting time, effort, and money on an email strategy that doesn't work.
  21. The "truth" bullet – With the truth bullet, you're putting to rest something that's controversial or debatable. Example: The truth about Wall Street. Why your broker is the last person you should ask for advice.
  22. The "better" bullet – You tell your reader that you have a better way of doing something. Example: Better than walking! New report reveals that being a couch potato is actually good for your heart!
  23. The "single" bullet – You elevate the importance of a piece of information. Example: The single most important sentence to say to a new customer. Hint: It's not "thank you for your business."

Keep this list handy and refer to it the next time you have some bullets to write, and you'll find that the bullets you write will be more varied and less ordinary.

Can you think of a style of bullet not on this list? If so, please share it with your fellow AWAIers below.

For more tips and techniques on how to write great bullets, read my article "How to Write Stronger, More Effective Bullets That Your Clients and Readers Will Love."

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Published: December 20, 2011

4 Responses to “23 Ways to Strengthen Your Bullet-Writing Skills...”

  1. 24. The "little-known" bullet:
    * The little-known casinos that offer the best odds

    25. The "Visceral shock" bullet -- convey the idea of someone not wanting you to know something or hiding something from you. Push waaaaay beyond "secrets" -- imply outright conspiracy. Use power words. Write tabloid style --

    * Cruise Ship Rapes: the uncensored facts which even news media won't touch

    Guest (Allen Kerry)December 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm

  2. How about the

    "Do you think" bullet, such as "Do you think you know the answer to this question"?

    Do You "want" or "need" bullet, such as:
    "Do you want to write better bullets'?

    Do you "care" about? Such as "Do you care about how others think about you"?

    How about the?

    Do you "wish" bullet? Such as: "Do you wish a new car was parked out in your driveway"

    Great article. Bullets are an ever important part of sales writing.

    Guest (Webwriter777)December 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

  3. Thanks, John

    Obviously mixing up bullets styles is ideal to avoid predictability.

    Dale Sims--freelance copywriter--web content consDecember 21, 2011 at 11:53 am


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