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What is a Swipe File? (And why you NEED one)

Wooden desk with laptop,coffee and notepad

We’ve all been there — or, at least I know I 1,000% have. You open up a fresh Google Doc with the expectation of writing knockout copy and then it hits you like a ton of overripe avocados (because we ALL hate those, right?): WRITER’S BLOCK. 

Sure — I may not have a way to avoid this dreaded place of UN-inspiration… but I think I may’ve cracked the code on how to cure it. The answer?

A Swipe File.

What is a Swipe File?

I like to think of a Swipe File as a professional Pinterest board of sorts. It’s part scrapbook, part bookmark — and it’s chock full of all kinds of inspirational “things” that can jump start your creativity when you’re running on E.

Some of the most useful categories of Swipe Files that we use at Diana P. Carter Co. are:

  • Emails (Subject Lines & Sales Sequences)
  • Headlines
  • Homepages
  • Sales Pages
  • Social Media (Graphics & Captions)

Simply put: A Swipe File is a collection of curated content that you pull from various places of the internet — all designed to inspire you when you need it most.

How do I create a Swipe File?

For starters — figure out a simple way to collect content in a way that’s natural for you. 

It may mean you screenshot inspiring content and save it to a folder in your Google Drive.

It may mean bookmarking specific websites and adding them to a folder in your web browser. 

It may look like “Saving” social media posts to a collection on Instagram. 

It may mean creating a Pinterest account and going pin crazy.

Whatever comes naturally to you — start there.

And then figure out a way to organize your collections so you can find your saved content readily.

The list outlined above is a great starting point for some “buckets” to drop your collected content in — but truly, do what makes most sense for you. 

If you find yourself constantly getting stuck when trying to write email subject lines — you may just opt to create an email folder with inspiring subject lines. Similarly — if you’re stumped on your homepage copy, you may create a bookmark folder in your browser that just houses knockout homepages.

The key here is being honest about what you need and how you operate. Do what works for you and be fiercely committed to building out your content.

Tips for Using Your Swipe File

Don’t cheat. There’s a HUGE difference between being inspired by someones’ work and straight up copying it. Don’t plagiarize — no one likes a copycat.

Know your audience. Just because something someone else does is flashy, “cool,” or captivating, doesn’t mean it will be effective for your audience. Make sure you know WHO you’re talking to like the back of your hand.

Keep it clean. I’m kind of a sucker for organization — so I like to beat this drum pretty hard. Do all you can to keep your Swipe File organized and tidy so that you know where to look for what. Use tags, labels, or systems that make sense for your brain to ensure you’re not jumping through hoops when you’re looking for some inspo!

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Copywriting

July 12, 2021

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