Content marketing best practice: How to create a swipe file

Do you know what a swipe file is? A swipe file, in copywriting, is a selection of proven sales letter and advertising templates. It’s basically a reference guide and inspiration spark for marketing campaigns. Content marketers can also use them to collect titles, topics, and other resources that can help them with their work.Trends come and go in all topics. What’s old now will become new again later. That tidbit of info you saved five years ago could become the core of a new topic when someone tries to pass off the same information as something new. Swipe files give content marketers inspiration and a history of what has gone before, like your own private brainstorming session.

What are the two key steps to creating your swipe file?

So, how do you start building an information bank, your own personal swipe file, to start generating content ideas? First, you have to expose yourself to enough information. But that’s not as easy as it may first appear. Getting information is easy. Getting good information is not.

But it’s not enough to just be exposed to the information. The key second step is to question it as much as you can. Why is this topic popular? Is this an actual problem or a false one? A good solution or a bad one? You can also take the negative approach. What are your customers asking for that isn’t being addressed? What is your industry curious about that no one has a good answer for?

Ruminating over the information you gather from the net is the key secret to generating ongoing content. Best practice content marketing requires you to think, not just copy and spin the opinions of others like so many sites do.

So, how do you get exposed to good information as the grist for your mill? In our eBook, “Writer’s Block 101: An emergency guide when you just don’t know what to write about” we reveal lots of tips and tricks for getting good information exposure.

Building a swipe file using these techniques and then mulling them over are the two key ideas you need to get constant content for your site. Content marketers should also have other people they can bounce their ideas off so they can be refined, but this isn’t always possible. That’s why a swipe file is such a boon.

 Be aware of analysis paralysis

However, we do want to issue a warning. It’s far too easy to get sucked into a maelstrom of reading, reading, and more reading and never get around to writing. Analysis paralysis is a real thing. When you first explore a possible idea generation channel, your aim should be to find the most relevant people to draw ideas from and stick with them. Chasing after everyone’s ideas or obsessing about every little bit of content that comes out will only hamper your efforts.

If you’re looking for some more inspiration on where to find a variety of content ideas, click on the link below to download our latest eBook: