Friday, September 3, 2010

A very useful tool for any writer is a swipe file, a place to collect examples of effective writing that comes to your attention.
A swipe file can contain anything you want it to---headlines,introductory paragraphs,body copy,guarantees,interesting phrases or slogans,display ads,direct mail marketing pieces,e-mail messages,graphics, photos--anything that might serve as a future idea starter. It is a good idea to organize your swipe file into subsections to make searching for ideas easier, and to base it on hard copy rather than digital files.
Look for material for your swipe file in anything you come across that is sales-related. Instead of tossing direct mail marketing pieces unopened, take a look and see if there is anything suitable for your swipe file. Likewise for e-mail advertising messages. The more you view and collect, the more useful your swipe file will become.
Keep in mind that the purpose of a swipe file is to generate ideas, not to plagiarize. Your goal is to adapt the information in your swipe file to your own needs, not to copy it outright.

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