Do you want to make more sales, generate more conversions, and level-up your copywriting at a faster pace?
In this post, we are going to talk about 3 different ways to grow your own swipe file and level up your own skills exceptionally quickly.
We are also going to define what a swipe file is and how you can keep making great use of it for YouTubing, blogging, writing ads, and anywhere you need to implement great copywriting!
As you know, copywriting is the most valuable digital skill of the modern online landscape. If you want to create effective emails, landing pages, marketing funnels, etc… then your copywriting has GOT to be on-point!
How It Works
So, the process of putting together a this file is pretty simple. But it does require some effort on your part!
First of all, let’s talk about exactly what a it is and why you'll want to keep one.
A swipe file is basically a collection of proven, professionally crafted headlines and bullet points that you keep in a file for future reference, to function as a sort of ‘guide’ to help you create your own awesome headlines and bullet points.
This does three things.
- It gives you inspiration for crafting your own great headline and bullet points
- Gives you several templates that you can use as a guide to craft your own marketing copy
- Gives you an idea of what the top copywriters in the world are doing to sell their good products and services.
I can then emulate these headlines and bullet points in an attempt to level up my own copy, to make it look and sound even better!
Do Swipe Files Still Work?
In the old days, newspaper editors would keep a drawer full of clippings from their favorite papers and magazines to help inspire them when crafting the front-page news stories.
But does it still work, even today's marketing world?
Absolutely! In fact, having a swipe file may be even more relevant and useful now than ever… and I will explain why.
Most digital marketers and affiliate marketers don’t have the money to hire a full-time copywriter when they first start out. This means that as you grow your business, you are going to be the one tasked with writing all of your own marketing content.
But if you are not a professionally-trained copywriter, this obviously puts you at a bit of a disadvantage!
That is why a swipe file can be so helpful to independent digital marketers.
Magazines keep very, very skilled copywriters to come up with those short three, four, five word headlines and bullets for the covers of magazines. Those marketers are literally at the top of their game, getting paid the big-bucks to come up with powerful headlines that, effectively, are designed to sell the entire magazine!
There is a formula to these headlines. And the more you start looking into them and taking a closer look at them, the more likely you will be to start picking up on how to craft powerful headlines on your own - just like those great marketers.
Why You Need to Create Powerful Headlines
Great headlines are a huge part of your message. In fact, about 80% of the success of your sales message can be measured by the quality of what headlines you use on sales pages!
Headlines are even more important on opt-in pages, taking up about 95% of the credit for every successful opt-in!
But the bullet points you place under these headlines are also vitally important!
Together, these two things do most of the ‘heavy lifting’ where sales are concerned on your website.
As you can see, being able to craft powerful headlines that will actually work is a very powerful skill. And your files can help you keep up with that!
Build Your Swipe File For Writing Inspiration
Some people don’t fully understand the purpose one of these files, and think of them as plagiarism or cheating.
But this is not the case at all! You obviously don’t want to copy the writing in a magazine and put that content directly on your website. That is not the point.
What you actually want to do is look at the many different elements of the headline and bullet points to gain inspiration for your own original, unique content. You can look at…
- The number of words used
- The overall format
- The number of adjectives and adverbs used
- Where those adjectives and adverbs are placed within the headline
- The number of bullet points used
- The impact-points of headlines and bullets and where to place them
- And so on...
Take the best headline you find from the swipe file and keep changing it around and craft your own unique inspiration! We'll get into this later...
So now, let’s talk about 3 ways to build your own awesome swipe file!
First - Check Out The Magazine Rack In Your Hometown
One of my favorite sources for swipe-file writing material are magazines. Stopping by the magazine rack, or looking at magazine covers online, can yield amazing swipe-file finds that can help you on your own copywriting journey.
My favorite way to gather these headlines is to just use my smart-phone. I will visit the magazine stand, scan the covers for headlines that really stand out as well-crafted and eye-catching, and then snap pictures of the covers of that writing.
I then put these photos into a swipe file. This is easy because it's free. Then, when the time comes for me to craft a new email give away, letter, or marketing email, I will pull these files out and look at them.
Also remember that they are updating these magazines every month. So you may want to get into the habit of visiting regularly, so that you can keep collecting these snippets and building your own file now, before you need it.
Remember… the goal here is not necessarily to find one great headline and copy it. The goal here is to glean insight and inspiration for your own headlines from ideas found on the covers of these magazines.
This is the work of truly great world-class copywriters! There are reasons for why these headlines and bullet points made it onto the cover of a magazine! They keep getting people to buy!
Second - Go To Magazines.com To Get Cool Ideas For Your Niche
Magazines.com is actually even easier than having to keep visiting your local magazine stand. Here, you can view a huge variety of magazine covers in a range of different categories.
One thing that you may want to keep an eye out for here are magazines that seem really in line with what you are doing. If a magazine happens to be publishing awesome cover content that you feel would be great for your brand, then check it out further by researching back issues.
You can do this by Googling the magazine and looking through Google images. You can also sometimes find covers of back-issues of magazines on Pinterest.
Keep being resourceful. The more you keep looking the more cool stuff you'll get to keep for your file. Great marketers know in order to get people to by buy, give way their email, or click - you're going to use all the available tools possible.
So if you find a magazine that is crushing it with amazing headlines, keep those headlines and research back issues as well. You may end up with a lot of awesome inspiration for your own content!
Third - Check Out land-book.com For Page Design Inspiration
This is a website that is specifically designed to give you landing page design ideas.
Land-book.com is made up of a gallery of expertly crafted landing pages, so you can just start browsing and viewing different page designs as soon as you pull the site up in your browser.
But you will also quickly notice that you will be able to catch little headlines on each one of those page design templates.
They also give you a search bar so that you can type your particular niche into it, and then browse page designs and headlines in your own specific niche.
I really love this website because it just provides a huge amount of content and a lot of pretty awesome headlines. They make it so easy to see other landing page designs and headlines that you literally cannot help but to be inspired by visiting and checking it out!
Go old-school and learn from a book
Yes, we’ve talked about 3 great places to find headlines for your swipe file. But as a bonus, I am also going to give you what I would consider a power-packed fourth tip.
It is a book by Victor Schwab, called ‘How to Write a Good Advertisement.’ it’s one of the best copywriting books of all time!
How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
This book was written in the 1940s, and is basically like a short ‘course’ on copywriting.
Some of the headlines in the book that are used to illustrate the principles are not 100% applicable today. In fact, some of them may not even make it past the Facebook terms of service!
But, the main upside to the book is that it does a great job of explaining the psychology behind headlines, and what it takes to design one that actually works.
To demonstrate his techniques, How to Write a Good Advertisement breaks down 100 of the best headlines of his era, and analyzes them so that you can really understand what is going on behind the scenes.
I’ve Got My Swipe Files. What’s Next??
After you’ve managed to start gathering headlines and bullet points for your swipe file, the next question quickly ends up being something like this.
What do you do next?
This is an awesome question.
You obviously can’t expect for your swipe files to do you any good if you never use them. You also can’t expect to gather just one or two and glean a ton of inspiration from them. So making this idea work includes putting in equal amounts of gathering and utilization.
But as a general rule, here is how you will want to go about utilizing your swipe files.
- Start gathering headlines and bullets for your file
- As you keep your eye out for better headlines and bullets, you will start to change the way you think about headlines due to being so much more exposed to the best-written headlines in the industry
- Whenever the time comes to construct a new headline or list of bullets, pull out your swipe file and look for examples that mirror the kind of ‘energy’ you want for your piece
- Using one or more of the examples as a guide, start crafting your own headlines and bullets
- Don’t straight-up copy your examples. Rather, pay attention to their word counts, where the modifiers are placed, where the exclamations occur, etc. You want to emulate the feeling of these headlines… not necessarily the actual content!
- Even if you do end up emulating the content itself, you will probably be more focused on the rhythm of the headline and the points of emphasis. You will obviously want to switch out the words to splice together your own creation
- In time, you will get so used to writing headlines that it will come far more naturally to you.
The About Writing Copy
Now that you have your swipe file all ready to go you can start creating your ad.
Here's a more in depth view at how I use a this file to bounce back n' forth between writing my ad and what's in the file.
I first start by writing 10 to 15 totally different headlines. To do this I'll reference the swipe file for inspiration.
In no time you'll begin to see certain patterns emerge from you swipe file that you can deploy in your own writing.
For example, you see a headline in your file that reads, " The Free Secret To My Father's Wealth"
However, because you are in the business of selling marathon training you might be inspired to write something such as, "All Great Runners Have This Secret" or... "The Free Secret To Winning Marathons"
A great way to use your swipe file is by first writing out a dozen or so headlines. It doesn't matter if they don't make much sense - each time you write a new one you're getting closer to a winner.
After you have about 12 or so headlines you'll need to pick the top 4 great ones... Really look at those top 4 and see how you can combine them into 1 headline. What elements of each could you use? What do you need to keep? What would confuse people if you left it in?
All great marketers go through this process time and time again. You can count on spending a large bulk of your time just on headline creation - it's that important.
You should keep lots of bullet points in your swipe file as well. Your headline will get people to read your writing, but high quality bullets are what really sell your product.
A great way to start creating your bullets is by writing down a list of benefits your product offers. People want to know what's in it for them! Share your biggest benefits and make them FEEL what it's like to use your product.
Quality copywriting examples will have bullets that state features and benefits - or what I should say is that a copywrite example will have features transformed into benefits...
If you're course has the "feature" of being a downloadable video, then don't just tell say you can download it... Say something like, "Download each module and save time by watching whenever's convenient for you!" That's the real benefit!
Share And Get Feedback
Share your headlines with as many people as you can. You may end up getting inspiration from what someone says. Copywriters love to share great headlines with other marketers because it keeps them on the path of writing better copy next time.
How to Split Test Your Headlines the Right Way
Split testing your headlines is really, really important! And to test mine, I will simply design landing pages using different headline styles, different numbers of bullet points, different approaches, etc. and publish them for a period of at least 30 days.
If you are wondering which headline will work better, try them both out. See which one gets you more conversions. Run one for 30 days, record the results, and then put up the other for the same amount of time and see which does better.
Whichever does better, that is the winner. Then, try to come up with an even better headline, and split test that one against the original one, etc. This is the process great copywriters follow time and time again.
I have some headlines on landing pages that I’ve had up for years. They just work. But I am also constantly split-testing new headlines for new pages as well, because I want to find out which one is going to bring in the most opt-ins and actually convert.
Split testing is such a vital tool! You really cannot hope to maximize your potential without doing split tests to figure out exactly which version of the page is working better.
I hope that this article has helped you to not only understand the concept behind the swipe file, but that it has also encouraged you to start a swipe file of your own.
If you are a content marketer, then this is really a process that can make you much better at copywriting. It just gets your brain thinking in a different way, and helps you to learn from the experts to craft great headlines and bullets that will actually sell and convert!
All copywriters and marketers make use of swipe files in their writing. No matter if it's a free give-away for your email list, or a Facebook ad, you're going to use a this file.
Each time you sit down to write you'll want to use your new copy file regardless of the type of ad, email, or even thumbnail you're crafting.
Thank you for reading and I urge you to start building your own swipe file for free today!