The Importance Of Curiosity When Creating Bullets

    Step into a bookstore, step into the business section and pull out a book. Then flip the book to the back cover. And here’s what you’re sure to find on almost every business book. Yup you guessed it. You find bullets.

    And there’s a reason why bullets make it to the back cover of a book
    It’s because you tend to read the title, then the subtitle (on the front cover) and then flip the book to get a gist of the book. Yes there’s the yada, yada about the book on the back cover. Yes, there’s an index. Yes, there’s a contents page, but you ignore most of the yada, yada and head for the bullets.

    And you do so, because bullets are like flashing Christmas lights
    They flash because of their ability to create curiosity. And not just some amount of curiosity, but a massive amount of curiosity. So here I’ve got a book on my desk that’s about podcasting. And at the very top of the back cover are these bullets.

    * How to find and download audio and video podcasts to your computer or portable media player
    * How to develop, format, produce, edit, encode, and upload your audio or video podcast, including in-depth information on using music legally
    * How to set up an effective audio studio, including the complete and updated “The podcast studio buyer’s guide”
    * How to create great video, including tricks of the trade such as the law of thirds, the line, and the three-point light
    technique, as well as tips on casting, locations, scheduling, and more
    * How people are marketing and making money through podcasting in the era of Web 2.0

    Notice how they’ve put the entire guts of the book in those four or five lines?
    And notice how each of those points started with a ‘how’ statement?

    So let’s tackle those two ideas one at a time.
    Idea 1: Notice how each of those points started with a ‘how’ statement?
    Idea 2: Notice how they’ve put the entire guts of the book in those four or five lines?

    Idea 1: Notice how each of those points started with a ‘how’ statement?
    It doesn’t matter what the line, if you put the word ‘how’ before it, it instantly becomes interesting and curious.

    e.g I went to Ireland this summer
    With “how”: How I went to Ireland this summer.

    e.g. I make butter chicken.
    With “how”: How I make butter chicken.

    Of course you can always add a “why”.
    e.g. I make butter chicken.
    With “how”: How I make butter chicken.
    With “why”: Why I make butter chicken.

    e.g. I went to Ireland this summer
    With “how”: How I went to Ireland this summer.
    With “why”: Why I went to Ireland this summer.

    Of course you need to tidy up your sentences so that they’re not as boring as the ones above, but you do get the point, right? The only question that does remain is how do you get all of these sentences. And the clue lies in Idea 2.

    Idea 2: Notice how they’ve put the entire guts of the book in those four or five lines?
    So take your entire book or course, or speech, or whatever. Split it up into distinct parts. e.g. The Brain Audit has seven parts so it could be split into seven distinct parts, but hey you could choose seven or you could choose five.

    Then pull out something from each part to describe what the reader could get from that part.

    So in The Brain Audit Book the bullets read like this:
    1) How to instantly get (and keep) the attention of the customer.
    2) The roller coaster sequence (and why it matters when selling).
    3) How to create a uniqueness factor in a matter of days.
    4) How to know if a customer is really interested in your offering.
    5) Why benefits and solutions aren’t the most effective way to sell.

    Each of those bullets represents a different part of the book.
    And each of them have a simple ‘how’ and ‘why’ structure to get and keep attention. In fact this same technique that you see at the back of a book, can be used for any promotion, be it a sales page, an event, a speaking engagement, product or service.

    The fundamentals are simple.
    Take your product/service. Split it into five/seven parts and pull out the most important highlights/benefits.
    Take those highlights/benefits and put a ‘why’ or ‘how’ before it.

    And there you have it: a whole bunch of bullets.

    And that’s how you make your product/service or course stand out. Like flashing Christmas lights.

    About the author

      Sean D'Souza

      Sean D'Souza is a writer, marketing guru and expert on sales psychology. Read more by Sean on Psychotactics.com

    • Thanks, Sean. bullets are great and help the fast-moving reader get the meat of the piece. Beth

    • • How I decided to write a comment!

      Well, i always read “Write to Done” but don’t always leave a comment but this article is one I will now use in my writing all the time.

      • Why I decided to use this new skill of bullet writing?

      Because it is so true! I just never knew this little trick!!

      Thanks Sean for posting! Love it!!

    • Sean, thank you for this. Only this morning I was thinking about the use of the word *why* in titles:

      * why the word *why* matters
      * why *why* can be more interesting than *how*
      * why I should try to use *why* more in my writing
      * why I hadn’t thought more about the use of the word *why* until now
      * why *why* is an overlooked word

      • Ha, ha – good one, Barbara!

        The interesting thing is that starting a line with ‘why’ or ‘how’ shapes who is going to read what we’ve written.

        *Why* will attract those who are starting to think about the topic in a general way.
        *How* will attract those who are further along the thought process: these people have already made a decision to dig deeper into the topic.

      • Why works amazingly well. However, I’ve found that I use HOW a lot more (that’s just from reading my own headlines).

    • Ah – this is really good advice. It gets to the guts of creating bullet points.
      Thanks, Sean!


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