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Create an Online Copywriting Swipe File

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

To successfully promote products and achieve internet lifestyle with your online business, you need to learn a thing or two about copywriting.   If the word copywriting sends shivers down your spine, don’t let it.  Copywriting is simply the use of words to promote something.  Just think of copywriting as promotional material—the goal of good, successful copywriting is to persuade people.

I’ll admit right now that I don’t have a natural talent for copywriting. You might find this surprising because I’m definitely living the life I want to live thanks to my online businesses, but I’ve created an online copywriting swipe file that helps me out drastically.

Find Copywriting that Works

How to Create a Copywriting Swipe FileTalented copywriters are effective at what they do. Their taglines, ads, websites, email and other internet content works—it gets people to purchase something or join something. If you haven’t heard the name before, Denny Hatch is one of the greatest copywriters of our time. He can create feelings of flattery, guilt, anger and more with words … and persuade people in the process. He can also measure what works and what doesn’t. Just like any business or idea can flop, copywriting isn’t always as effective as we hope it’ll be.

This is where the online copywriting swipe file comes in!

Find content that you know has worked successfully for others, and save the items so you can use them to your benefit. No, I’m not telling you to go around stealing slogans and jingles, because that will definitely do more harm than good … but it is okay to study and learn. Effective copywriters like Denny Hatch have made a small fortune selling books that are basically the equivalent of an online copywriting swipe file, but you can make your own with just a little effort.

Your Online Copywriting Swipe File is a Work in Progress

I’ve been filling my apartment with swipe files for years and they have always been integral to the success of my online business because—I’m admitting this again— I don’t have a natural talent for copywriting.

You can easily create massive folders of swipe file material that covers areas which are critical to the success of your online business:

  • Blog post headlines— which blog posts out there rank high on the search engines? Their headlines have something to do with their ranking as well as the number of comments, votes, tweets, Facebook “likes,” etc. that  they’ve received.
  • Email marketing subject lines— which emails were convincing enough that you opened them and made a purchase or joined a website?
  • Sales page materials such as headlines, transition statements, opening lines, closing lines—these can all work to your benefit when you need an idea or two
  • Different types of autoresponders— you can swipe these by signing up for email newsletters from top-notch sites in your niche
  • Links to blog posts which have a lot of popularity in your niche—create a nice, big list of popular posts so you can easily reference them

Creating a swipe file is an effective way to improve your own copywriting skills.  I’ve created swipe files for each of the different online businesses that I run because they all contain unique things. You don’t have to create yours in one sitting—it’s a work in progress. When you re-read something that makes you say “Ah ha!” while you’re working on your business a few months down the road, you’ll be glad you put the time into creating an online copywriting swipe file.

A Special Swipe File gift for you:

Still a little unsure of how a swipe file can help you -or- what a swipe file even consists of?  Well let me share with you one of my personal swipe files.  This is blogging swipe file I have collected over a year or so.  It shows headlines that grab the attention and garner results.  Remember the purpose of these swipe files is not to “steal” the material, but to use them to get inspiration to create your own killer headlines.

Blog Headline Swipe File

Take Action. Get Results.



{ 24 comments }

Ryan Biddulph

Hi Steve,

I’ve used swap files for a while now.

I pick out blog post titles, articles, etc that moved me and study them. What words were the “magic words.” What transition phrases hooked me in? How long was the copy? Short?

It’s amazing how simply breaking down successful ad copy and using similar wording in your work creates great results. As you note it’s never about out and out copying. Study, analyze, make YOUR OWN copy and practice, practice, practice.

Thanks for sharing and have a powerful day!

RB

Steve Scott

Yup! The only way to get better is by seeing what “works” a swipe file is great for this. It can really be a wonderful tool for making your stuff better.

Fran Aslam

Hi Steve:

Copy writing has so much hype that it seems something very hard, but people like you who have been writing for years, I have been writing some way or the other for sooooo many years that it is not to hard to learn. But this swipe files information is awesome. I will like to do that, as I have a list of catchy words for titles, from my articles too.

Awesome information.

All the best

fran A

Steve Scott

Thanks Fran,

Looking at a swipe file can be a very solid way to catch a few idea s and also to see what works. It is a matter of learning what does good for other people and then using that material to make your own fresh stuff. Not a bad deal at all!

Tito Philips, Jnr.

This is obviously something new Steve, you brought a twist to the idea of better copywriting. Most of the tips you outlined are what we just ignore in our blogging endeavours. Thanks for pointing them all out, now there’s no such thing as ignorance in these areas anymore.

Steve Scott

Yeah swipe files really are a great way to get some ideas and see what works for people. It can help you to become a lot better at the process of copy writing.

Steve Youngs

Hi Steve!

Make sure when you are copy writing (yes, it really is 2 words) that you’re not creating copyrighting issues for yourself. You swipe from a swipe file, you don’t swipe to a swipe file. Do you get what I mean there? You must hold the copyright on the copy you write (or at least have legal right to reproduce it).

Kind regards,
Steve

Steve Scott

For sure. Swipe file are for can be for ideas and encouragement, but never for something to copy. AT best you can use other articles to inspire ones of your own.

Very good point!

Fernando

Thanks for the share, will definitely have to think about a copyright swipe now 🙂

Patricia@lavenderuses

Hi Steve

No wonder you are so successful! You not only work efficiently but you sound like you are incredibly organised. That’s a great idea you have given us.

Cos my blog isn’t very old and in a small niche; so far I haven’t needed to get my ideas from other sources. Except my readers whose questions I may answer in a blog post. But this is definitely proving effective for you and by Ryan’s comment, for him too.

Will keep it in mind when I need to access it. I definitely agree you can learn from others, as long as that is transposed into original copy for yourself.

When I first started blogging I subscribed to blogs where they taught about copywriting, to ensure my posts were well written. Good to learn from the professionals 🙂 And I always enjoy landing on the site of a talented wordsmith.

Patricia Perth Australia

Steve Scott

Thanks Patricia,

Swipe files do not really need to be in your niche. You could use one to see “how” titles are formatted or give you idea on ways to present ideas with your own material.

After all they are a guide not a steal. 🙂

Pete Carr

Hi Steve,
Like you copy writing is not one of my strong subjects. Your idea for creating swipe files is excellent. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it. I use them for Article marketing, so why I have not used them for blog posts etc I do not know.
On e of those Doh! moments.
Thanks
Pete

Steve Scott

They can certainly be useful. I actually use them more for article marketing than I do blogging also. They seem very useful for that.

Thanks for the comment

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

Here’s a nice tip – make a folder in your bookmarks and put in that all the bookmarks to the sites you find useful. Then whenever you want inspiration, you can use the firefox option of opening all the sites within one browser window.

Instant online swipe library!

Steve Scott

Barbara,

Great additional Tip!! Thanks for the share!

Gregory Elfrink

Yo Steve!

I really like this post man. I have not created a swipe file EVER, but I have always heard of the wisdom of doing so. I have a friend that does that, and even created a product that all it was was successful headlines and copywriting that worked that people could steal to create their own swipe file. Damn great idea haha.

It reminds me of my idea of always having a running list of blog post ideas so you never really get “writer’s block” and the quality of posts always remains on the high-end of things.

Steve Scott

Well my idea was more of a thing to inspire rather than “steal” LOL. But either or, it does make things a lot simpler to have a few ideas to fal back and a place to look to see what is successful (for titles etc.) once you get a good idea of what is really “effective” your own stuff does just THAT much better.

Alex@Jocuri

Hi Steve,
I’ ve been using swipe files for sometime now, mainly because of my innate lack of copywriting skills, but I never knew it was called that way.
I always called “being inspired by the best” :P.

And I must say it’s a great idea, because it goes from an already perfected idea and makes it even better, this way it comes out twice as good as the original one. And when we extrapolate that, it means that are winning should be better too. Also, at the end of the day you can even learn something new from all that “inspiring”.

I also want to say that I envy people with good writing skills who can “create feelings of flattery, guilt, anger and more with words”, because I pretty much suck at it.

Steve Scott

Being inspired by the best.

I like that. A very good way to think about it. Copy writing is definitely a skill people are likely eother born with or they are not. Of course you can get a workmanlike level of skill from it just by studying the work of these experts.

Jimi Jones

Hi Steve.

This is really good advice. I started this some time ago, but need to be more consistent in building out the file, particularly now that I am diving into the niche site building arena.
I’ll add this to my daily to-do list as a reminder to become more active with this. In the past I’ve done this sporadically at best. 🙂

Steven Place

Great post– in terms of tools, evernote is a great way to manage your swipe file. I’ve been collecting landing page designs and other copy for 6 months now and it has been tremendously helpful

Brankica @ Live Your Love

This is the first time I hear about this idea, although I have been thinking about how to keep up with all great things I read on my favorite blogs.
I keep bookmarking the posts I love, and although people usually don’t go back to their bookmarks much, I do.
I read some posts more than 5 times in matter of weeks, to keep reminding myself of their tips.
All I need to think of is the best and the easiest way to create the “data base” for me, and still keep it easy to go through.
I just downloaded you swipe file with headlines and loved it.
Thanks for the great idea.

Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur

Thanks for the super duper swipe file tip, Steve, and I’m grateful for your mention of Denny Hatch. Never heard of him till now but I’m a copywriting fiend — love to research and study anything and anybody related to copywriting. After I click the “submit” button here, I’ll be heading straight for my search bar to look up Mr. Hatch. A copywriter I find exceedingly talented is Cathy Goodwin. Been following her for years and she’s taught me a myriad of copywriting tricks.

My swipe file is currently weighing in at several pounds — might even be deemed morbidly obese! 🙂

Thanks for another awesome post,
Melanie

Steve Scott

Melanie,
Swipe files are definitely a great idea. Glad you are well on board with this (with a multi-ound swipe file nonetheless) I will check out Cathy!

Thanks,

Steve

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