When you read engaging copies, the first question flashing across your mind is:
“How long did it take to write such a masterpiece?”
But if you rethink about it, you deduce …:
“Well, this guy has been writing for the same industry for ages. No wonder he delivers such a good-quality work. Very few people can cook up nice copies like him.”
You may have heard it before: “the more you’ll read and write, the better your copy will get.”
… do you really think that a copywriter starts from scratch at all times?
… do you believe that a copywriter will simply go with the information he’s collected from his clients?
Well, before getting to work, he/she relies on another thing.
And that thing is called a Swipe File.
What’s a swipe file?
“A swipe file is a collection of ads or content pieces used to gain inspiration for future work”.
Those pieces range from headlines, email promos, introductions, slogans, to body copies or CTAs …
It’s not by chance that those examples caught your attention. If you selected and stored them in your swipe file, that means it’s damn good copy.
Okay, but what is it for?
When you start your copywriting business, you first must learn all the basics. And usually, you learn the tricks of the trade by … reading.
But there comes a time when you need to put this into practice. You cannot keep reading all the time.
Instead of spending your money on personal coaching, you can learn a lot by yourself and … for free.
With a swipe file, you enhance or fine-tune your writing skills as you see how others write. It also provides templates for your own writing.
If you suffer from writer’s block, you can still rely on your swipe file. There, you will find suggestions for headlines, intros, call-to-actions, pictures, and more.
How to develop a swipe file?
Some people may recommend that you use tools such as Evernote. This online tool helps you organize your file with categories : sales letters, sign-up pages …)
But, I’m not convinced.
You can definitely save time and money by doing it yourself.
All you need to do is create a folder called “swipe file” and store all your proven examples in sub-categories.
As far as I’m concerned, my personal copywriting swipe file consists of 5 main categories:
Headlines – Body copy – Blogging – Quotes – CTA
But look, nothing is set in stone. You can organize your file as you wish. As long as those examples help you for future works …
Don’t forget to add new elements to your swipe file from your smartphone or computer. Every time you find something interesting or engaging, don’t procrastinate: store and save.
You’ll be surprised at the results…
But there’s one thing you musn’t do: don’t save examples you don’t understand. If you want this to help you overcome writer’s block, then you must take the time and analyze the piece of copy.
That’s the way you’ll develop and hone your writing skills.
Swiping is not plagiarizing
However, let me be clear on one thing.
Your swipe file helps you analyze techniques developed by other copywriters.
You can cook up or develop your own templates based on their works.
BUT never copy sentences word by word.
You can avoid plagiarism by reading or analyzing texts outside your industry.
5 things to consider before starting …
Before creating and developing your own swipe, read and note the following rules:
Everyone must start somewhere.
This is where a copywriter does.