I am pretty sure you had an experience in your life when you are reading one of the well-settled copywriters' content and wonder if you could write something interesting like that. We all know how important it is to make content unique and interesting. Most engaging articles are those which showcase writers personality and persuade you to take an action.
I was sitting in a bar. I was tired because it was a long day at work. But I also wanted to watch the match. Hence I went alone to the bar near canary wharf (East London). There was plenty of people in the bar and almost everyone was watching the match between Peru vs Denmark (football 2018 world cup). It was around 93 minutes and Denmark has scored 1 Goal.
All eyes were on the television and everyone was thinking what is going to happen in next 2 minutes.
That was the moment when I saw a beautiful girl sitting in the corner having her chardonnay and writing something on her MacBook Pro. I couldn't stop myself from noticing her. She was so beautiful, that I stopped looking at the match and soon it was full time with Denmarks Victory shouts in the bar.
Denmark supporters were happy and jumping and I on the other hand; just looking at that girl. She had absolutely no interest in the match at all.
Actually, I should say that she was more engrossed in her laptop screen then the football match.
I was wondering what she is writing about. My beer was almost finished when I decided to get another one. I headed towards the counter. But instead of reaching to the counter. My feet took me to the girls' table.
This point in time she was so tensed. Her hands were on her head. It looked like she was in some sort of trouble.
I asked her: are you ok ma'am.
She replied: Yes thank you. I am just stuck into something.
I said: Well, I was sitting in that corner and I noticed you. Do you mind if I ask what are you writing about?
She replied: Its nothing serious. Don't worry. But thanks for asking. and she smiled at me and went back to her head crunching environment of writing on her laptop.
This was my last chance to know, what she was writing about. So I thought what should I say which will persuade her to tell me what she is working on.
Then I thought for a while...
and said to her: Well I am the head of content marketing team at SDPO. If you tell me what you are writing then I might be able to help you.
She said: huh... I am stuck... anyways...
I recently joined a PR company and I am working on my first press release. I have read many articles and press releases but I don't know why my current piece of content is not getting that engaging.
Then I replied back; well don't you have a swipe file?
She opened her eyes like she has never heard about this word before. And looking at me with full of curiosity she asked: What is a Swipe File?
And that's how I got this idea to write this article :)
Well, Let me clear one thing first. I am going to talk about 3 things in this article:
- What is a swipe file
- How you can benefit from swipe files
- Examples of swipe files
What is a swipe file
Imagine you have been a writer for last 10 years. And now you have collected all of your good work and evolve your content based on your previous best work examples. The collected work samples or I should say the repository of your collected work, ideas, research, media or any piece of information which could help you to map out your next content is called swipe file.
The term Swipe File originated from old age media houses where; editors and writers use to collect all of there research into a secret file stack. They use to call it Swipe Files.
But that's not necessary in the current world as we are in 2018 where we can certainly create lots of digital swipe files without any physical storage.
Now to summarise this section. If I have to explain what is a Swipe File to a 5-year-old kid. Then I would say:
Swipe Files is the bunch of your previous work or collection of your favourite work samples which you can use to create awesome contents. It could include newspaper cuttings, Quotes, Articles, Tweets, Videos, Images, Infographic and pretty much anything which inspires you.
Let us have a quick look at how you can create your own swipe files using Evernote:
How you can benefit from swipe files
Let's move on to the next heading of our article. How swipe files could benefit you.
Well, the obvious use is to get influenced by it in order to write new and influential content. But what if I tell you there are other benefits too.
For example, if you run a marketing agency and you have more than 5 copywriters who write on daily basis.
As a boss, it's your responsibility to check and motivate your employees for good quality of work.
And I strongly believe that you if you are running an agency. At some point, you must be a copywriter or an influencer.
With the help of swipe files, you can easily share your folder with your employees to educate them about what kind of content you think is more engaging.
You can also use those swipe files to upscale a new graduate trainee or someone who hasn't work in your domain before.
You must be wondering if there any monetary benefit of creating swipe files.
Well, you can actually sell your swipe files if all of your collected content is yours only.
I won't suggest you sell a curated file because that might not work in favour of you if it belongs to someone else.
You could create your own swipe file and the host it to sell on SDPO.
Examples of Swipe Files
Let's have a look at a wonderful list of swipe files created by industry specialists and shared publically:
Better advertising; a practical manual of the principles of advertising — John Manly (1921)
The essentials of advertising — Frank Leroy Blanchard (1921)
These are few swipe file examples which I have used in past. But you might have more suggestions. Please share your swipe files below in comment section if you want to help other writers.
Before we end this article. I would like to share an amazing presentation by Maggie: How to Start a Successful Freelance Writing Career When You Have No Experience. Obviously, Swipe files can help you.
Swipe files are collection of best content you have seen and collected.
Swipe files plays an important role in inspiring you to write and eveolve your content writing skillsets.
Swipe files are amazing tool for increasing your writing skiils.