What are Bullets For?

Can you rattle off major points from some of the best articles or sales letters, or book covers you’ve seen?

If you can, the bullets have done their job.  Once the title or lead catches you, you’ll be pulled into the bullets.  They fascinate you, captivate you and keep you reading!  

The bullets pull your eye… keep you from getting sucked down by the detail.  While details may be important,  they’re the back-up, supplying additional information on demand. 

Right now, see if you can remember something you read recently that particularly captured your interest,  and find out how many of the following are true:

1.  There are no more than three to seven major bullet points.

According to numerous studies, that’s all the human mind is capable of absorbing.  

2.  The bullets are clear.

They build and outline the content in a way that sets out the major points so they are easily described and understood.

3.  They’re logical.

Logic is the brain’s way of sorting information and seeking order. For persuasion, you will generally see the strongest bullets at the beginning (for attention) and at the end (for impact), with those having least impact in the middle.  People generally only remember the beginning and the end, and what’s in the middle gets lost.  This is a good one to test.  If you remembered bullets from an article that stuck in your mind, which ones did you remember?

Chronological order can work as well, when the suspense builds to a crescendo, or if you’re simply building facts in step toward a conclusion. 

4.  They’re fascinating.  Bullets are whispers of the secret that’s coming…the one you’re waiting for as you read…the one that’s going to transport you to a new place and time…NOW.

5.  They establish credibility.  This is the “why” bullet.  “Why” bullets support and strengthen the position or sales proposition, and whet the appetite for what’s being offered.  They tell us why we should get on the wagon…”because Joe and Alice did, and look at how successful they are!”

6.  They drive home a point.  Bullets that hit you where it hurts, or feel really good…they’re doing their job.  They’re visceral…psychological triggers.  You’re thinking “Right on.  That is SO true.”

7.  They are rapid fire.   The staccato tempo beats to a rhythm our brain thinks is its Drill Sargent, and we respond with a “Yes,sir, No,sir, Now, sir.”  They inject emotion, drama, and power…how you are going to gain pleasure or avoid pain.   They are short and tight. 

Successful writing, in any venue, is the dance of words.  It’s the dance that sees you sitting on the sideline…waiting, hoping…that someone will say..”Would you care to dance?” 

And when you say “Yes”, that you will be swept onto the dance floor… that someone will lead you,  intrigue you, then show you, with rapid fire clarity, the moves of the dance step.  And as you swoon in your partner’s arms, you will be lead once again, to what you knewwhen you started…YOU can dance…now that some one’s shown you how! 

The lead catches you and draws you into ‘your’ story, the bullets pull you, and the conclusion reinforces why you’re there…because it’s your story. 

So…are you ready to dance…with…or without…the Stars?

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