It’s a question that drives you nuts.
Why some blogs cast a spell over their readers. Yet nobody wants to know yours.
And you just can’t figure it out.
Well, the answer could be something about your writing. Something that’s missing. Something other writers are doing that you’re not. Something you need to uncover right now.
And that something is grease-slide copy.
What Is Grease-Slide Copy?
Grease-slide copy is a magnetic writing technique that keeps your readers glued to the page.
Copywriters use it in sales letters. Top bloggers use it in their posts. And now you can use it too.
Here are a few examples:
But wait – there’s more As if that’s not enough We’re not through yet How can you beat that? Yes, you read that right It gets better
Grease-slide words and phrases create smooth transitions between paragraphs and sentences. They stitch them together, minimise the friction in your copy and make it read just like a greased slide.
So once you get on at the top, you can’t help but keep sliding down.
In other words: Once you start reading, you can’t stop reading. Until you reach the bottom of the page.
Another name for grease-slide copy is the Bucket Brigade.
In the days before modern fire engines, firefighters would pass buckets of water to each other in a human chain. Copywriters later adopted the term for conversational words and phrases that help to “keep it going”.
But there’s another reason why so many bloggers love using grease-slide copy:
It’s also great for SEO.
Just think about it.
People generally spend more time reading content that offers them value. Right?
So the longer visitors spend reading your posts, the stronger the indication of quality.
Well, it’s widely believed search engines think in the same way and use the time readers spend on your website as a ranking signal.
If you want a more detailed explanation then check out this useful article about dwell time by digital marketing authority Neil Patel.
What’s in This Post?
In this post, you’ll find a reference list of more than 500 grease-slide words and phrases.
But note: What works in sales letters doesn’t always necessarily work for bloggers. So, here, you’ll find only examples you can actually use in your posts.
Simply refer to the list whenever you reach a section of your content where readers might lose interest.
To use it:
- Go to the type of Bucket Brigade you want
- Pick a phrase – or make up a similar one of your own
- Insert it into your copy
Then you’re done.
Finally, at the end of this post, you can access the full list as a PDF download – which also includes 67 bonus phrases.
Now let’s get to it:
First impressions count.
So you know it makes sense to get your blog post off to the best possible start.
But nearly every writer and every blogger has exactly the same problem.
That is, coming up with a strong opening line or paragraph.
Start with a question
Nothing sucks you into a post quite like an opening question.
Because, when presented with a question, people can’t let go until they’ve got an answer.
So they keep on reading:
|Do you want to learn how to __?||So you want to __?||Want to know more about __?|
|Have you wondered why __?||Ever noticed how __?||Don’t you just hate it when __?|
|Do you hate __?||Have you ever found yourself __?||Do you have a __?|
|Seriously, how do you __?||What if you could __?||Wouldn’t it be great if __?|
|You know what I’m tired of hearing?||Want to know a secret?||Can I be totally honest with you?|
|Who else wants to __?||Are you sick and tired of __?||Does this sound familiar?|
Set the scene
Setting the scene fulfils the reader’s need for intrigue and entertainment. It creates a mental picture in their mind and turns the opening of your post into a powerful emotional experience.
So use these techniques, borrowed from fictional writing, to fire up your reader’s imagination right at the start of your post:
|Picture this||Imagine this||Just imagine|
|Imagine what it would be like||Think about this for a moment||It’s a familiar story and it usually goes like this|
|You know the score||It begins with a feeling of||You start to worry that|
|You feel you’re banging your head against a wall||You’re in a never-ending battle||You’ve sweated blood to|
|You’ve tried everything. But||You’re afraid that||You cower in fear|
|You freeze in your tracks||You drown in||You dream of|
|You yearn for|
Get inside your reader’s mind
Empathy’s the key to getting inside your reader’s head. It shows you’re on their wavelength. That you feel their pain, anxiety or frustration. And that you’ve been in their situation too.
The following openings pave the way to telling your reader you know exactly how they feel:
|We’ve all been there||I know the feeling||I’ve been there|
|We’ve all done it||We all do it||OK, I know what you’re thinking|
|Let me guess||Let me take a wild guess||Be honest|
|Admit it||Deep down you know it’s true||Don’t even try to deny it|
|It’s the question you secretly dread||You’ve heard the advice a million times|
Call them to attention
Safety announcements, public speakers and teachers – they all use signals to command our attention.
Likewise, you can apply this technique to your writing. Attention signals call out “Read me! I have something important to say”.
So people naturally read on to find out what it is:
|Check this out:||Fact:||Question:|
|Good news:||News flash:||Big news:|
So now you’ve grabbed your reader’s attention, you have to keep hold of it and not let go.
The following phrases will liven up the dullest of blog posts and will have your readers hanging on every word.
Some follow on naturally from the grease-slide openings we covered in the first section. So let’s start with those first:
Answer your own question
This is a common rhetorical device known as hypophora. First you pose a question. Then you answer it. And it’s especially popular in political speech writing.
The following are Bucket Brigades that exploit this technique:
|That’s right||You’re dead right||And you’d be right|
|Too true||You bet!||You bet it is!|
|You’ve got it||Good for you||You can say that again|
|No doubt about it||Yeah, until recently that is||So, yes|
|Yes, it’s true!||Yeah, I thought so||Thought so|
|Didn’t think so||Too bad||Not good|
|You’re out of luck||No pressure there!||Not really, no|
|Not exactly||Hardly!||You must be joking!|
|No! No! No!||Wrong!||Nope|
|Not necessarily||Probably not||Maybe|
|Fair enough, but|
Describe a moment of insight
We all know the story of Sir Isaac Newton, who formulated his universal theory of gravitation after watching an apple fall from a tree.
This is a famous example of a moment of epiphany – a classic writing technique that helps the storyteller to paint a more vivid picture.
Give your moments of insight added impact by including these grease-slide phrases in your posts:
|Boom!||Bang! You’ve been hit with||And boom! You’re there.|
|Then it hit me||That’s when it hit me||It hit me like a ton of bricks|
|At this point you realise||I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read||For the first time, it dawns on you|
|That’s when you know that|
Ask another question
Want to keep the momentum going? Then just ask another question.
You can either pose a rhetorical question or you can repeat the question-and-answer combo above:
|Can this really be true?||Still not convinced?||What’s the catch?|
|So what’s the problem?||The only problem?||How do I know?|
|Why do I say this?||Why am I doing this?||What makes this so special?|
|So what am I talking about?||Sound silly? It’s not.||Sounds impressive, right?|
|Sounds good?||Sounds familiar?||Do you see where we’re going with this?|
|So have we got that straight?||Get it?||How about you?|
|What about you?||Does this sound like you?||Think I’m exaggerating?|
|I know that’s what you’re thinking, right?||No?||Correct?|
|Or is it?||Isn’t it?||Astonishing, isn’t it?|
|Annoying isn’t it?||The result?||See the difference?|
|So what?||And you know what?||But you know what else?|
|And what’s worse?||And guess what?||So what it’s all about?|
Get down to business
Your introduction sets out the purpose of your post, builds anticipation, sets expectations and makes a promise of what’s to come.
But then you’ll need to get down to business and move onto the nuts and bolts.
The following are typical phrases you can use to signal the end of your intro and shepherd your readers towards the next section:
|Let’s get started||So let’s begin||Let’s get this show on the road|
|Then let’s go||So here we go||So let’s get down to it|
|Let’s jump right in||Let’s dive in||Let’s get things under way|
|So let’s get to work||So let’s fire away||So let’s get busy|
|So let’s get to it||So let’s get down to business||Let’s dig a little deeper|
|So let’s take a closer look||Let me explain||Let me show you how|
|Want to see how it works right now?||Ready?||I’ll walk you through the whole process|
|Keep reading and you’ll find out|
Use a conjunct
Conjuncts sound really complicated. But, honestly, they’re very simple.
A conjunct is just a word or group of words that provides a connection between the current sentence and a previous one.
Here are some of the simplest and most common ones:
|First of all||First off||For starters|
|To begin with||Next||Likewise|
|By contrast||Moreover||In any case|
|What’s more||Beyond that||So|
|Even so||Or even better||But that’s not all|
|Either way||In other words||For example|
|For instance||Then again||Still|
|After all||Above all||Most of all|
|To top it off||And another thing||In addition to that|
Use a disjunct
A disjunct is another sentence component that sounds scarier than it really is.
Essentially it’s just a word or group of words that expresses the tone, attitude or manner of the writer.
Adding a disjunct will make any sentence more conversational and more readable:
|Honestly||Let’s be honest||Let’s face it|
|The simple truth is||Frankly||Most importantly|
|On the face of it||For what it’s worth||You’d have to say|
|Basically||In fact||But one thing’s for sure|
|But don’t get me wrong||Make no mistake about it||Let me say this straight|
|Believe it or not||Needless to say||If I may say so|
|Personally||Like everything else||In general|
|By and large||Usually||Surprisingly enough|
|Oddly enough||Perhaps unsurprisingly||Remarkably|
|I tell you what though||Strictly speaking||To make matters worse|
Pause for thought
When you pause for thought, it creates a temporary moment of suspense. Just enough for readers to draw breath before they carry on for more:
|Think about it||Think about it this way||And just think|
|Think about this||But consider this||And get this:|
|Now get this:||Now:||Look at it this way|
|Put it this way||Think about it another way||Think about it like this|
|Put it another way||Now consider it this way||Here’s another way to think about it|
|In other words||Why?||Ever wondered why?|
|You may wonder why||Why is this so?||But how?|
|How’s that?||So what’s going on?||So what’s it all about?|
|What’s the bottom line?||Bottom line:||And you know what?|
|By now you’ll be wondering||But you’re probably wondering||Just imagine that|
|Imagine for a moment||Now hang on||But hang on a minute|
|Now stop right there!||Now I’m going to stop you right there|
Add supporting information
Supporting information gives your points more legs. And more impact.
The following phrases give you a way to change direction and add more detail – without losing sight of the ultimate goal:
|Bear with me, because I’m going to show you how||But just keep reading and I’ll||But before I share it with you|
|Before we go any further||But before we go into that||But first let’s|
|So stick with me here||But stay with me||But more about that later|
|But I’m jumping ahead||Back to what I was saying|
Usher in the point
At various stages in your post you’ll be making important points you don’t want readers to miss.
So use these curtain raisers to make them stand out:
|Here’s the point||Here’s the deal||Here’s the kicker|
|But here’s the rub||But here’s the problem||Here’s the thing|
|Here’s the big idea||Here’s the scary part||But here’s the interesting thing|
|But here’s something really interesting||Here’s the most important part||Want to know the best part?|
|And the best part?||But the truth?||The point?|
|So what’s the point?||The moral of this story?||So what’s it all mean?|
|The bottom line is this||My point is this||It all boils down to this|
|It all comes down to this||What it all boils down to is||What this means is|
|What it means is this||Let’s get to the point||The point is|
|But that’s the point||But that’s the key||But there’s one problem|
|But there’s one small catch|
Issue a warning
We’re all scared of making mistakes. Likewise, we feel vulnerable to threats that could do us or our loved ones harm. And we’ll do anything that helps us to avoid them.
Try these grease-slide alert signals to make your warnings attract more attention:
|Be warned:||Warning:||But first a warning:|
|A word of caution:||But beware:||But remember this:|
|Don’t forget:||Let’s not forget||And don’t forget to|
Offer a solution or revelation
Readers love blog posts that solve their problems or offer them new insight.
So if you can do that you’ll leave a much stronger impression.
Here are a few ways to tee up your problem-solving ideas:
|So what’s the answer?||The answer?||So what’s the secret?|
|What’s the magic formula?||So how do you __?||So what can you do about it?|
|How?||How’s that?||Don’t worry. There’s a solution.|
|Let me explain||Allow me to explain||Here’s a clue:|
|Here’s the secret||The truth is||Fact is|
|The fact of the matter is||Reality is||But the silver lining is|
|The good news is||The cool thing is||Odds are that|
|It turns out||Chances are that||The answer might surprise you|
|The solution is||The secret is||The trick is to|
|The key to||There’s a way for you to||There’s only one way to|
|Sometimes all you need to do is||This calls for||That means|
|This requires||This demands||This involves|
|That’s how you||That’s where __ fits in|
Make it sound simple
People lead busy, complicated lives. And they’ll lay their hands on anything that’ll make things quicker and easier.
So don’t make anything sound harder than it need be. Unless it really is:
|It’s simple||It’s that simple||It really is that simple|
|It sounds simple. And it is.||It’s a no-brainer||It couldn’t be easier|
|It’s easy isn’t it?||It’s easier than you think||It’s pretty obvious once you think about it|
|Here’s how ridiculously easy it is||Here’s all you have to do||This part is easy|
|It sounds simple. But it isn’t.||Sounds easy enough. But|
Reach a milestone
Signalling achievement milestones in your blog posts are another way of making actions and accomplishments sound simpler.
When readers visualise a breakthrough or successful outcome it appears all the more attainable. So they have more incentive to read on:
|This is the point where||This is the part where||By now you’ll have realised|
|But by then you’ll||Then you’ll hit the sweet spot||And you’re set!|
|And you’re good to go||Now you’re ready to||Done!|
|Once you’ve cracked it||Once you’ve got it taped||Once you’ve nailed one|
|Once you’ve got it licked|
Issue a command
Commands, instructions and calls to action, which we’ll deal with later, are the psychological triggers that inspire readers to get out there and get something done.
These common action prompts come straight out of the classic blogging phrase book:
|You start by||The first thing to do is||All you have to do is|
|Make a list of all the things you||Figure out what||Give yourself a|
|Walk away from||Don’t get left behind||Don’t do it|
|Don’t worry||Don’t go there||So stop thinking that|
|Stop now!||Stop it, all of you||Stop right there|
|It’s time to stop||Keep doing it until||And so on until|
|Lather, rinse, repeat|
Write a platform statement
Action points and instructions often come in the form of bullet points or a numbered list.
To introduce them, we usually use a lead-in or platform statement.
The following make ideal platform statements for introducing lists – or anything else you want to set out differently from the rest of your post:
|For example:||For instance:||Let me give you some examples:|
|Let’s look at another example:||Let’s look at it in detail:||Let see exactly how this works:|
|Here’s how it goes:||So here it is:||Here’s how:|
|Here’s why:||Like so:||You’d do it like this:|
|This could be:||Things to check are:||Things to consider are:|
|Here are the details:||So check these out:||Take a look:|
|Let’s find out:||Here are a few ways:||Here’s one company’s story:|
|Ask yourself these questions:|
In a previous post I wrote about crafting bullet points I talked about how the first and last items in a list generally grab the most attention.
Well, the same principle applies to your blog post as a whole. That is, openings and endings make a stronger impact than the middle.
Your closing words shape the reader’s parting impression of your post. So use the following blogging devices to round off in style:
There’s an age-old formula used by direct marketers and public speakers that goes right back to ancient Greek times. Yet it’s still as valid today as it was back then. And it goes like this:
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them
- Tell them
- Tell them what you just told them
It’s also one sure way to get your message across in blog posts. So once you’ve finished what you have to say, say it again in a closing summary:
|In short||In all||All in all|
|In truth||In essence||Let’s recap|
|Let’s rewind and||To sum up||So what does all this mean?|
|But the bottom line is this||So it all adds up to this||In a nutshell|
Call them to action
The last few words of your blog post shouldn’t be the end, but just the beginning.
After all, it’s what readers do afterwards that counts.
So if you want people to follow your action points then say so.
Likewise don’t forget to ask readers share your post, sign up to your newsletter, make a comment or whatever else you want them to do:
|Now do it||Just get it done||Go solve it|
|So give it a go||Now go out there and||Now go out and do it|
|Now make it happen||Now it’s your turn||So go ahead|
|So take the next step||Best get started with it||Now let’s take it somewhere awesome|
|Here’s to [an action]||Leave a comment||Share the love|
|Let us know||Good luck and let me know||I’d love to know your thoughts|
Leave them thinking
Ask your reader a question, issue a warning, put the ball in their court or leave them in suspense. That way, you’ll leave them thinking. So they won’t forget your post in a hurry:
|I’m ready. Are you?||Are you ready to __?||Do you want it?|
|Can you handle it?||What’s stopping you?||So what are you waiting for?|
|What have you got to lose?||Can you really afford not to?||What could be more important?|
|What could be better?||How can you resist?||And isn’t that what you want?|
|It’s easier than you think||It’s up to you||The choice is yours|
|It’s down to you||It’s your decision||It’s your call|
|It’s your money||It’s your business||It’s all in your pitch|
|You’re just leaving money on the table||You’re robbing yourself of||That’s quite a challenge|
|Now that’s a problem||And that’s just sad||Don’t let this be you|
|The good news is that this doesn’t have to be you||But don’t just take my word for it||Soon you’ll have it figured|
|Soon you’ll have them eating out your pocket||Do that and you’ll live happily ever after||Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.|
|Trust me. It’ll all be worth it.||Should make interesting reading||But that’s for another post|
|But that’s another story||And that was just the beginning||But that’s just the tip of the iceberg|
|That’s all that really matters|
Don’t forget: The above list barely scratches the surface. There are loads more Bucket Brigades and tons of other ways you can incorporate them into your posts.
And there’s nothing to stop you creating grease-slide phrases of your own.
OK, I Get it. But Where Can I See These in Action?
Whenever direct mail comes through the letterbox, study it carefully before you throw it away.
Don’t just look for Bucket Brigades. Try to spot any other copywriting techniques you can use in your own content.
But it’s not just copywriters who love Bucket Brigades. As we said, bloggers love using them too. So, to finish, here are three examples of online marketing blogs that grease-slide their content to brilliant effect:
|Jon Morrow’s blog Smart Blogger undoubtedly ranks among the best places to learn about blogging. But it’s also a gold mine of Bucket Brigades. What’s more, every post is a blog writing masterpiece.|
SEO Copywriting: Success Works
|Success Works is run by SEO copywriting trailblazer Heather Lloyd-Martin. Here you’ll often find grease-slide gems you rarely see anywhere else.|
|Brian Dean of Backlinko is an internet marketing blogger who understands the SEO value of Bucket Brigades. You only have to look at his posts. They’re jam-packed full of them.|
So there you have it.
You now know the secret to transforming forgettable posts into irresistible content.
You know what Bucket Brigades are. You know where to find them. And you know how to use them.
Now put them into practice.
Exclusive BONUS Content
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Have Your Say
Do you have any grease-slide phrases of your own? Tell us in the comment section below. And if you enjoyed this post then don’t forget to share it.
If you like this, you’ll also like:
In our next post: Everything writers need to know about cloud computing – the mega-bucks business that pays writers big.
About the Author
Kevin Carlton is an IT copywriter and blogger based in Stafford in the UK. He is owner of freelance copywriting service Write Online, which helps technology companies get the most out of their online presence.