Many copywriters advise that you keep a swipe file. Meaning that you keep a collection of high quality advertisements to study and get ideas from when writing your own copy.
There are ways to collect an awesome set of offline advertisments… and one way is to BUY products from successful offline mailers. But frankly I’ve never gone this route.
I primarily write copy online and I look for online copy to put in my swipe file.
In the past when I found copy I liked I’d bookmark it or add it to my favorites. This worked OK… until the site disappeared, the offer was taken down or the copy changed.
Then I tried saving the webpage with the copy to my computer. This works OK still. But it can be messy with all the extra files attached to the webpage. Especially if all I want to keep is a headline.
So now I’ve discovered my favorite method for keeping a collection of swiped ads.
Windows Vista, Windows 7 and some versions of Windows XP have a “Snipping Tool” that allows you to highlight a portion of your screen and save it as an image.
Now it’s easy and painless to save a simple headline. Take for example this quick swipe of the headline from my Copywriting Services page. (Which of course was based on a swiped headline 🙂
I’ve set up a folder on my PC’s “Desktop” called appropriately, “Swipe File.” And another folder inside there is named “Headlines.” I save all swiped headlines in here.
Then when it’s time to look at successful headlines, I can open up any image inside this folder. Windows opens the image inside of it’s photo viewer and allows me to hit “Next” over and over again browsing my swiped headlines.
Fantastic! So much cleaner than paper or saved web pages.
Of course, most of the images you are creating involve copyrighted material. So you shouldn’t be sharing or selling your swipe file with anyone.
But creating a swipe file this way for your personal use is no problem. (At least that’s what I believe. I’m no lawyer, so do your own research.)
In any case, you have permission to swipe any of my sales copy for your personal use in this way.
And if you’re looking for more copy to swipe, you might start here:
Good luck hunting and swiping!