Create Your Swipe File

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To get inspiration before you start writing your website copy, you need to identify what you actually like and don’t like. 

Creating a Swipe File

It all starts with creating a swipe file. Basically, a swipe file is a folder full of examples of content that you love, the reason you made a purchase, or that you wish to emulate in your business’s copy. 

Even the most creative people have times when they hit a roadblock. This is the precise time when swipe files come in handy. Not to be copied and plagiarized, swipe files are the mood boards of copywriting. Just like successful artists and athletes study success stories in their field.

Just like you might be trying to decide where to make your own business accessible to consumers, companies just like yours have been through the same process.

First, search your competitor’s website. Use the terms: [your city] [type of company] or [target audience] [type of company] (i.e. Houston copywriter, non-profit event planner). You can also find similar businesses through search engines such as Google, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and any other niche business databases. Weed out the sites that don’t align with you. 

Then, look for other sites in your industry. For example, you may want to look at social media agencies, digital marketing agencies, and venues if you’re an event planner.

You want to take note of what you actually like and don’t like. Thankfully, we’ve created a space for you to document that in your Brand Voice Guide in the Examples section.

Take screenshots of the websites you do like. Then note what you like about them. 

Examples in Fundamentals Package

Here are a couple of examples.  

(Sally K. Norton)

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Copy calls out the clients with questions about their emotional experience and symptoms.

Homepage copy highlights Sally’s expertise right away to establish authority and trust (“25 years of professional experience”).

Blogs have references and easy to read tables.

Blog copy validates client’s experiences.

Offers value on homepage →  free downloadable articles.
Blogs don’t have great SEO, headlines, or keywords in headers.

Blogs do not have a “call to action” in them.

Blogs do not have internal or external links.

(AirCon Houston)

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
24/7 support

Design 

Mention of community support
Emphasis on the potential for bad technicians; would like to see “certified” or “licensed” instead

Grammar errors on the header and subheader
What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
The clear organization and flow of the tips

Identifying consumers as “coalition members”
Is vague on the mission – “we need your support to make the day our best yet!”

Implication that it’s more about this day/weekend and the holiday season rather than for the long-haul