Copywriter Tips: Using a Swipe File

If you have ever had one of those days when the copy is just not flowing and you cannot get the ideas to translate onto words on the page, you have likely thought how nice it would be to just have some automatic inspiration.  If you have been trying to write copy for hours and the blank page just stares back at you, a swipe file could just save your day.

Swipe files are used by writers all over the world.  They are key words, phrases, ad copy, and other written material that help you with ideas.  It is important to note that the purpose of a swipe file is not to use the ideas exactly as written, but rather it should be used for inspiration only.  Remember that plagiarism is never acceptable.

Create Your Own Swipe File

You can create your own swipe file that best suits your purposes.  If titles are what get you stuck, create a swipe file of titles that you can easily manipulate to suit your content.  If you get stuck on calls to action, collect calls to action that make you want to reach for your wallet.  Whenever you come across titles, calls to action or other sales material that help you come up with your own ideas, save it into a file that you can easily access. Also collect your own best titles and keywords to the swipe file to help with inspiration for another project.

Over time, you will gather up many quality titles and sales material that are helpful.  When you are stressing over the lack of words on your page, you can open up your swipe file and find something that works for your copy.  Model your copy after the ones in your swipe file, but remember that you need to substitute your own words and ideas for those in your swipe file. Put your own feel into it.  You can mix and match from two different ideas to create your own ideas and wording, too.

Swipe Files are Just a Starting Point

Over time you will need to use your swipe file less often.  The point of the swipe file is to give you a place where you can learn from the techniques that are used by successful writers.  You will begin to remember where the ideas come from and you will generate your own ideas just be thinking of your swipe file.

Remember that a swipe file is just a starting point.  You should not need to use it every time you sit down to write something.  Instead, you should become better with time, but when you are really stuck, a swipe file can be a great tool for getting the words flowing again.

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