A Copywriter's Wild West Secret

“Fire! Fire!”

In the Old West, that shout meant one thing - time to assemble the Bucket Brigade!

There was no fire department. But plenty of fires. So whenever there was a blaze, everyone in town came running to the nearest water source. They’d line up and pass water - bucket by bucket - from the water source to the fire. 

There the bucket went...from hand to hand...traveling down the line...until the closest person tossed it on the flames.

That was the bucket brigade.

- - - - - - - - -

Today, physical bucket brigades no longer exist. But your email, web, and ad copy SHOULD have it’s own “bucket brigade.”

In copywriting, this refers to phrases that don’t tell a story and don’t inform. They exist merely to keep the reader moving to the next line, without letting them disengage for even a moment. Because as soon as they disengage, you’ve lost them.

That’s why your copy must have a Bucket Brigade It should keep your reader moving briskly from one sentence to the next without letting up.


Yeah, so it seems complicated but it’s really not.

I’m talking about the bucket brigade in your copy, of course.

See what I did there? And now I did it again.

All the italicized phrases above are bucket brigades. Do you see it now?

A bucket brigade is simply a set-up that lets the reader know, something interesting is coming up next, so don’t stop reading!


The easiest way to get it right? Pretend you’re having a conversation.

Take that email, blog post or sales page and pretend you’re giving it over orally to a potential client. And all those phrases you pulled out because they were too informal to include in writing?

Stick them straight back in.


You use these kinds of phrases all the time in your day-to-day conversations.  


Best of all

By the way

Even better

Good news!

Here’s why


No wonder

On the other hand

What’s more

You see

Think about it


All you have to do is throw your English teacher’s writing advice out the window and just TALK.

This about page is so weak that an army of Bucket Brigades can’t save it. But some well placed phrases can certainly make it a lot more readable! Watch how:

Original Etsy About Page

Original Etsy About Page

Bucket Brigaded About Page

Bucket Brigaded About Page

Now check out this piece of copy:

Aubrey Marcus Collection Description by Cole Schafer

Aubrey Marcus Collection Description by Cole Schafer

It's a whole different planet, right?

Full of personality and humor. And also a Bucket Brigade to rival the fastest fire engine fleet in town. Of course, it's no surprise - this here description of the Aubrey Marcus Collection was written by copywriting heavyweight Cole Schafer.

Which “buckets” do you spot? Drop them in the comments!

Chavy Helfgott