One of my favourite strategies for dealing with wordy copy is bullets. They are just like real bullets. Okay, maybe not just like them. But they’re fast, and effective.
Bullets can break down a long sentence-a fabulous option for the brevity-challenged writer. But there are also benefits to the reader. Bullets help break up the page. They make content more “readable.” In many ways, they can prevent your target audience’s eyes from glazing over.
Consider the following paragraph:
Caring for a dying cancer patient is part of a palliative approach when the healthcare team determines that a cancer is unlikely to be cured. The goal is to improve quality of life. This includes: managing physical symptoms such as pain, meeting emotional needs such as anxiety and depression, addressing spiritual needs, and supporting caregivers.
Now apply the “bullet treatment” to it:
Caring for a dying cancer patient is part of a palliative approach when the healthcare team determines that a cancer is unlikely to be cured. The goal is to improve quality of life. This includes:
– managing physical symptoms such as pain;
– meeting emotional needs such as anxiety and depression;
– addressing spiritual needs; and
– supporting caregivers.
Looks better, doesn’t it?
Bullets are especially appealing to people who “scan.” You know who they are: they would prefer to scan quickly through the text, rather than to focus on every single word. With bullets, you have a higher probability of getting them to recall some of your key messages.
I’m not saying every single list has to be bulleted; however, it is a great “tool” for getting your point across in just about any kind of communication vehicle-in particular, websites and sales materials.