Copywriting Tip #15: Create a copywriting swipe file

Most people don’t like getting junk mail. I love it! I make a point of collecting all the (good) junk mail that comes my way. I keep a box – also known as a swipe file – and I dump it all in there without too much thought.

Later, when I am working on a flier or a direct mail piece, I dig around in the swipe file and use that as inspiration. You can also do this online by bookmarking a site or sending the link to yourself in an email.

Often there’s a headline, an image, a quote or a layout that’s inspiring. I also use it as a reference point for clients. A picture tells a thousand words so instead of me trying to explain to a client what look/font/layout/image I have in mind for them, I simply send them the swipe file and they can instantly see what I mean. 

My theory is this – a copywriter, somewhere, has laboured for hours over that piece. Why reinvent the wheel when I can build on their efforts? It saves me hours of time, my client gets a better piece of copy and on average it delivers a better result.

Action: Keep a box near the front door and throw the junk mail in there for future reference.