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 talk about what a swipe file is, and help you to understand the concept so that you can then understand how extremely helpful it is for YouTubing, blogging, writing ads, anywhere you need to implement copywriting art!
As you know, copywriting is the most valuable digital skill of the modern online sales landscape. If you want to create effective emails, landing pages, sales funnels, etc… then your copywriting has GOT to be on-point!
And a swipe file can help with that!
How It Works
So, the process of putting together a swipe file is pretty simple. But it does require some effort on your part!
First of all, let’s talk about exactly what a swipe-file is.
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 me inspiration for crafting my own headline and bullet points
- Gives me several templates that I can use as a guide to craft my own sales copy
- Gives me an idea of what the top copywriters in the world are doing to sell magazines
I can then emulate these headlines and bullet points in an attempt to level up my own sales 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 do swipe files still work, even today in the modern age?
Absolutely! In fact, swipe files 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 content.
But if you are not a professionally-trained copywriter, this obviously puts you at a bit of a disadvantage!
That is why swipe files can be so helpful to independent digital marketers.
Magazines hire very, very skilled copywriters to come up with those short three, four, five word headlines and bullets for the covers of magazines. Those writers 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.
Why You Need to Create Powerful Headlines
Headlines are a huge part of your sales message. In fact, about 80% of the success of your sales message can be measured by the quality of your headlines 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 swipe file can help you with that!
How to Create a Killer Swipe File - 3 Ways to Get Inspired
Some people don’t fully understand the purpose of swipe 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 headline of 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...
You can even take your favorite headline, switch out the words for words that do a better job at describing or selling what you need to describe or sell, and work your way up from that to create a headline that is, for all intents and purposes, completely unique.
So now, let’s talk about 3 ways to build your own awesome swipe file!
1. Check out the magazine rack in your hometown.
One of my favorite sources for swipe-file 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 those magazines.
I then put these photos into a file. Then, when the time comes for me to craft a new sales page, sales 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 start collecting these snippets and building your own swipe file now, before you need it.
You may want to prioritize looking at magazines that are related to your niche. But you can also glean fantastic insight from magazines that are not in your niche as well.
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 world-class copywriters! There are reasons for why these headlines and bullet points made it onto the cover of a magazine!
2. Go to Magazines.com and get cool ideas for your niche.
Magazines.com is actually even easier than 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.
So if you find a magazine that is crushing it with amazing headlines, save those headlines and research back issues as well. You may end up with a lot of awesome inspiration for your own content!
3. Head over to land-book.com for massive landing 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 landing page design templates.
They also give you a search bar so that you can type your particular niche into it, and then browse landing 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!
4. 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 swipe 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.
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.
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 one 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 create fantastic headlines and bullets that will actually sell and convert!
Copywriting is a seriously vital skill that every content marketer needs. And if you don’t have the money right now to hire an awesome copywriter to help you, I am afraid that you are going to have to do the majority of this work on your own!
So you may as well level up your copywriting game, start a swipe file, and put a little bit of effort into making your headlines and bullets as good as they can possibly be!
Thank you for reading this article. Please let me know what you think in the comments. Have you ever started your own swipe file? If so, how did you do it?
Let me know, and let’s talk about it!
In the meantime, I will see you on the next one!