How to write bullet points

In all articles that you write for clients, try to include a list of bulleted or numbered points; and always place the list early in each piece. Readers will find this helpful.

They’re getting key points straightaway. Seeing bullet points early on will also convey immediately to them that they are in for a structured read, made easy for them.

For emphasis, when making positive points/drawing attention to benefits with bullets, use (eye-catching) ticks not dots.

Emboldening verbs at the beginning of lines can also sometimes help with accentuation:

  • combats fatigue
  • reduces the effect of hangovers
  • prevents pain
  • fights sickness, and
  • improves energy levels

See what a difference a subtle change makes:

  • combats fatigue
  • reduces the effect of hangovers
  • prevents pain
  • fights sickness, and
  • improves energy levels

However, a common mistake made by writers is beginning all or most of their points with you or you’ll:

EXAMPLE – Poorly written sample text:

So tap water isn’t great, but buying individual bottled water also has its disadvantages. A water cooler is a good solution. Effectively buying in bulk means that:

  • you can be sure of the source of the water
  • the correct storage temperature is maintained. Potential carcinogenic chemicals can leach into the water from plastic bottles if they get too warm
  • you don’t have to worry about the spread of germs and bacteria from smaller bottles; from someone’s hands or face
  • you’ll be more environmentally friendly. Recycling is getting easier, but three out of four water bottles still end up in landfill
  • you can save money in the long run. Water cooler companies mostly provide simple contact terms which cover the annual supply, installation and maintenance

This list could perhaps be reworked to read like this:

So tap water isn’t great, but buying individual bottled water also has its disadvantages. A water cooler is a good solution. Buying in bulk is usually best:

  • The water’s source is assured
  • The correct storage temperature is maintained – Potential carcinogenic chemicals can leach into the water from plastic bottles if they get too warm
  • No concerns about the spread of germs and bacteria from smaller bottles; from someone’s hands or face
  • Protect the environment – Recycling is getting easier, but three out of four water bottles still end up in landfill
  • SAVE MONEY in the long run – Water cooler companies mostly provide simple contact terms that cover the annual supply, installation and maintenance

Now, how about having a go at reworking this list of (badly written!) bullet points:

By having water cooler dispensers in your company:

  • You play a very big environmental role to prevent earth pollution.
  • You play a very big role to the optimisation of your staff’s health!
  • You provide your staff with healthy, refreshing and chilled water.
  • You save staff from having to buy drinks at nearby shops.
  • You prevent staff taking unneeded time off from their jobs during the day.
  • You can increase your staff’s productivity!

Now see how these can be reworked:

By having water cooler dispensers in your company you can:

  • Play a role in preventing earth pollution
  • Provide your employees with healthy, refreshing and chilled water
  • Save your team from having to buy drinks at nearby shops
  • Prevent workers from taking unnecessary time off from their jobs during the day
  • Increase productivity!

Notice how:

  1. ‘You’ has been used only once
  2. The bullet dashes have become large ticks (drawing attention to benefits)
  3. Each initial word is a verb (well, almost)
  4. The full stops have gone (to help make the list ‘flow’)
  5. The word repetition (staff) has been eradicated
  6. An exclamation mark has been cut (strengthening the end/the final point)