Swipe Files: Why You Need Them & How To Create Them

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Ideas ConceptKeeping a swipe file is an important part of always being ready for the creative process of creating content for your website or blog.

Essentially, a swipe file is just a collection of ideas that have been shown to work to provide inspiration, improve writing skills, and increase overall productivity. To create a swipe file simply identify and find material that is working and save it to a file to refer to later.

Swipe files have been used as long as marketing has been in existence. Copywriters, marketers and advertisers kept a box of paper files, usually copies of ad copy, sales pages, headlines, interesting ad pictorials, bullet points and so forth, that they used as inspiration as they sought to create better marketing materials for their clients and themselves.

Today, it’s easier with the advent of digital files. Now you can keep all your swipe files organized digitally on your computer. If you use the right technology your swipe files can be accessed from any location as long as you have access to a computer and the Internet. This will make your creative process move faster to a finished and polished product.

The Benefits of Keeping Swipe Files

Keeping swipe files should become as natural to you as breathing. If you want to be able to create persuasive marketing copy that gets results, the best way to do it is to study what other people have done, as well as keep handy successful attempts of your own.

  • Easy Access — You can use your smart phone to take pictures of ideas and inspiration you see wherever you are. Like the layout of a billboard advertisement? Snap a picture, and save it for use later. 
  • Instant Inspiration — When you look at the swipe files you will generate new ideas for your own subject lines, sales pages, viral videos and more. Looking at successful copy, sales pages, and so forth will provide a great starting point for your own original work. 
  • End of Writer’s Block – If you have created a never ending list of potential starting points, you will never have writer’s block. You’ll be able to churn out headlines, sales pages and more easily due to tapping into and leveraging experienced copywriter’s work. 

Swipe files are an easy way to keep examples of effective work, your own or others. Having them at your fingertips will keep you from ever lacking inspiration or having writer’s block.

What to Collect  & Add to Your Swipe Files

You should spend time collecting swipe files for anything that you plan to create in the future. But, you can just focus on one or two. Ask yourself where you normally get stuck when creating advertising or web copy and start saving files regarding that one area. For example, if you get stuck on creating effective subject lines, start collecting subject lines that stand out to you.

  • Ad Copy
  • Sales Letters
  • YouTube.com Videos
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Promos
  • Headlines
  • Sub-headlines
  • Subject Lines
  • Bullet Points
  • Graphics
  • Opt-in Forms
  • Tweets
  • Facebook Messages
  • Postcards
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Bylines
  • Post Scripts
  • Closings
  • Power Words & Phrases 

Collecting great examples of any of the above will help get your creative juices flowing and give you a place to look anytime you need inspiration. Here is a collection of Swipe Files to get you started.

Saving & Organizing Swipe Files is Simple

You can use different software programs to create and keep swipe files such as Evernote and Dropbox. There are also other programs you can use such as Simplenote and Google Docs. What you use depends highly on your own preferences for each tool. If you don’t currently use any of them, I recommend trying Simplenote as it’s really easy to use.

Organize your swipe files by category, for example save all subject line swipe files in a folder called Subject Lines. You can even further separate them by being specific about what type of subject lines they are such as “Email Subject Lines“.  The more organized you keep your swipe files the easier it will be to get inspiration from them later.

Using Your Swipe Files

There is a lot more to using a swipe file than lifting the words and phrases from them to use in your own marketing. In fact, using swipe files wrong can cause problems for you and make it impossible to have a successful promotion. Swipe files should be used for inspiration but you always have to keep in mind, your market, why you’re using particular words over others, and how they affect your audience.

Remember to always hook your reader in, define the problem, solve the problems, overcome objections, promise results, show proof, reduce risk, and build your credibility while closing the sale (or other call to action) using the words that mean something to your audience. Swipe files are only as good as your understanding of your audience. So, as you use them, don’t forget who you’re doing it for and the benefits you can offer them.

As you test out new subject lines, promo copy, sales pages and so forth, keep adding ideas that work to your swipe file collection.

How to Develop Successful Email Marketing Habits

A big part of email marketing success, comes from making it a regular habit. The more you work on growing and nurturing your list, the better your results. To ensure you develop those great habits, be sure to join Alice for the 30-Day Email Marketing Challenge. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.

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About the Author

StephanieWatson
With more than 20 years experience working from home in a variety of roles such as HTML Website Designer, Internet Marketer, Template Bender and Virtual Assistant, today Stephanie is an author and content strategist who organizes, plans, writes and implements content strategies for business owners through her business Barry Publishing.

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