3 Hacks to Build Your Copywriting Swipe File

Copywriting swipe filing—you’ve heard of it, right?! Know the rules like a pro, so you can break ‘em like an artist.

Well, there are two things *most* copywriters leave out when they’re talking through swipe files. I’ve learned these things are VERY important as I’ve built my business and agency, andddd that’s what I’m bringing you today.

ENERGY AND TIME - 3 Hacks to Build Your Copywriting Swipe File

By the end of this post, you’ll see a new way to get organized in your digital files and get writing even faster.

No pretense, no wind-up, let’s dig straight into these three hacks that you can use, as you build out your copywriting swipe file.

Looking to find your brand voice?! Click here or down below to kick-start your copy bank & find your brand voice vibe!



No. 1| The Classic.

Art students studying the work of the greats is nothing new, right? This is ~kind of~ the copywriting equivalent of it.

Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh re-imagined more than 30 copies of works by some of his favorite artists—like this one by Delacroix—he was looking to re-invigorate his work artistically. Rather than replicate, Van Gogh sought to translate the subjects and composition through his perspective, color, and technique.

I bring this up because this, friend, is how you swipe and steal like an artist.

Classic swipe filing is building up and curating a body of work and writing samples that you then can turn around and use.

Done well, it can both inspire your writing and boost your skills.

Think about all the different things that you could swipe 👇👇

  • Upsell pages
  • Ads
  • Email subject lines
  • Thank you pages
  • Registration pages & landing pages
  • Sales pages (duh)
  • Headlines
  • Bullets
  • Don’t discount physical mailers either—before you chuck it in recycling, start a folder!


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A couple of weeks ago, I showed you in Facebook, how to look at all the different ads that a page is running. Look at those ads. Can you study them enough to figure out what they’re running as the control?

Remember: with all of this, make sure that you are organizing it. Not organized, it’s not useful.

I use both physical and digital swipe filing. I have reference books and notebooks in my office that I come back to alllll the time. However, the majority of my copywriting swipe files I keep in Evernote. (I walk you through exactly how I set this up in this week’s episode on my YouTube channel—check it out here!)

To wrap this up, in a classic copywriting swipe file, you’re looking to study the framework and the structure of it—less so than the words themselves.

➡ Takeaway Tip: I know, I know—you get a lot of emails. BUT go ahead and sign up for people that you think have killer copy. Start to study it, put it in a swipe file, and figure out what you can learn from it. My students inside The Art of Efficiency, my systems program, know that I have two folders that I talk about a lot. I have a “Read At Leisure” email folder, and I also have a “newsletter” folder. From these, I build my swipe file, if I like something.

Related: The One Proven Copywriting Formula You Need

🚨🚨Before I get into hack number two, MAJOR caveat here, please, please, oh please, use these powers for GOOD. We all know there’s nothing new under the sun, but the point of gathering these is to discover winning formulas, to get out of your writer’s block. To see principles and actions, to see sentence structure. It is not, I repeat not, to dupe, to plagiarize, or to steal anybody’s work. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’ve seen my work and my clients’ work crop up more times than I can count. It totally sucks. If you’re gonna call yourself a creative entrepreneur, come on, be creative. I know you can do this.

No 2.|The Story Bank

My husband and I were sitting on the couch one afternoon after I had a DAY—you know what I mean?!? #2020

My football-loving husband reminded me—Hey, Ashlyn, the Patriots don’t win every single Superbowl, BUT they’re still respected as an outstanding football team….you’re not always gonna win.

The analogy worked, so I then turned around, put it in my story bank, and later it popped out as an Instagram post, and an email newsletter.

Ah, the beauty of story banking.;)

Someone recently DM’d and asked: “I’d love to know how you organize and compile the daily stories you write down and use for content. Do you exclusively use Evernote? Are they full stories or words to jog your memory?”

I mentioned a bit of this process in the video I did the other week where I talk about my work to rest, wind-down routine, but I make it the goal of every single day, to think of at least one story that happened to me, and record it. I sort all of these in an Asana file that I have.

Flatlay desk from Ashlyn Writes creative copywriter and Atlanta calligrapher Ashlyn Carter

I’m going to sort it into an area that I could potentially use it, whether it is a cautionary tale, it’s something that made me laugh, it’s a good icebreaker, and that’s about it. I’m not gonna worry about the segue or anything, I’m just trying to compile these and put them in one place, so later on, I can come back to it, and I don’t have to do all the thinking.

When I’m trying to figure out how to illustrate a point, and I need an analogy, an anecdote, a story, just some kind of hook that I can use to explain that point—I look at this Asana board. I snag one of the stories and hook it together with a segue.

➡Takeaway Tip: What if at the end of every workday, you wrote down ONE thing you learned about growing a small business that day—one big takeaway?? You would pretty much have a whole year of learning lessons and content, banked up in your copywriting swipe file. In a tool like Asana, you can pop it on a card with one line—that’s all I do, it’s mostly to jog my memory.

Related: 6 Copywriting Myths You need to STOP Believing Right Now

No. 3| The Copy Bank

Besides the story bank and the classic swipe file, I have my own little method I started teaching in 2016—The Copy Bank.

It started as I left corporate and went full time into the mostly wedding/creative industry, and got so sick of phrases I was hearing … lookin’ at you, swoon-worthy. 😬

How could I organize and reference fun words, phrases, descriptors, nouns, “Ashlynisms”, that I wanted to use later inside those copy frameworks and with the stories I was telling?? Queue: The Copy Bank. 🖋

I started sorting copy in my notes app, anddddd the rest is history.

My students inside The Art of Efficiency and Copywriting for Creatives know I’m HUGE on organizing your words in a way you’ll ACTUALLY use them.

Again, for this, I use Evernote but students use spreadsheets, Google Docs, Notes app…whatever works for you, do THAT.

TAE MasterclassLeadGraphic - 3 Hacks to Build Your Copywriting Swipe File

➡Takeaway Tip: The Copy Bank is a way to be funny EVEN if you don’t think you’re funny 😉 … start listening and paying attention to what you read—from audiobooks, sermons, and podcasts—to the meme account that makes you laugh on Instagram. You like it? It goes in that copy bank.

I like to include:

  • Adjectives
  • Quotes
  • Funny phrases
  • Nouns
  • I tell my students to ALWAYS have your “isms” listed somewhere
  • You could even house GIFs somewhere …

This is what makes studying frameworks from your copywriting swipe file and revving them up with story so powerful.

Related: 96 Copywriting Power Words to Increase Conversions on Your Sales Page

Now you know how to get organized with your words, but what about other parts of your business? So you can scale them and continue to grow? Check out this video on my YouTube channel where I talk about how I got into outsourcing and handing things off, so I could focus on the things that only I can do.

👉  Don’t know your “isms”, need a stock of phrases, and even a framework or two?? Take my quiz here or down below and get a curated copy bank starter pack! AW_onlinevoicevibequiz



The post 3 Hacks to Build Your Copywriting Swipe File appeared first on Blog from Ashlyn Carter | Launch Expert & Copywriter for Creatives.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.