At some point in our lives, we’ve probably gotten stuck in a creative rut. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, all we really need is a bit of inspiration – enter, Swipe Files.
You can call swipe files a lot of names. People call them templates, references, and even morgue files. These could be your go-to if you want to streamline your creative process.
In this article, we’ll focus on how to use swipe files for social media. But before going through examples, we need to learn the basics.
Swipe files can apply to everything. You can use it for copywriting, poster design, ad campaigns, captions, workflows, email subject lines, and a lot more.
Traditional copywriters would cut out pieces of marketing, sales letters, and headlines and store them in physical folders. The same applies today in the digital age.
If you find a great poster on social media you want to reference, save it to your swipe file. Saw a post with an amazing caption? Swipe file! Think of it as “curated resources” to draw inspiration.
Marketers that use swipe files as an integral part of their social media strategy are already reaping the benefits. Here’s why your brand should use them too.
Brainstorming content for your social media channels is hard. There will be times when you’d feel like you’ve exhausted all your ideas.
When this happens, your swipe files can help you:
By collecting a range of examples or reference materials in one place, a swipe file can provide a quick and convenient way to access ideas and inspiration when it’s needed.
For example, your marketing team might have a swipe file of design elements. It can include color palettes, typography, or layout ideas.
Incredible social media content is often an amalgamation of other amazing work. With swipe files, you don’t need to spend a lot of effort finding references for the work you want to do.
If you already have an idea, having references ready gives you a huge jump start. It can also serve as proof of concept. But most importantly, it’ll help streamline your work.
When you have a great idea, it’s best to save it before it fades (or scroll past them). Having a series of references helps you and your team optimize your content strategies.
With references at the ready, your team already has best practices they can look into. If everybody’s on the same page creatively, you can easily improve your content’s performance.
We’ve gone through the basics and why you should have swipe files for your social media. Now, it’s time to learn how you can create your own swipe files.
There are several sites that exist with free downloadable templates for a lot of niches and platforms. These can be excellent starting points for any brand.
But crafting your own ensures that your references are relevant to your brand and your audience. Here’s a quick rundown on how you can make your own swipe file.
A swipe file tool will help you compile your references. There are a lot of options out there. The best one will ultimately depend on what features you value most.
As a rule of thumb, a good swipe file tool should have the following:
Seasoned marketers won’t be strangers to quality content. It’s going to be one of those “If you know, you know” moments.
But when it comes to swipe files, you can save the best quality content you can find, or unique approaches to marketing that could surprise your audience.
For those just starting out, some of the key factors to look for are posts with
Writing on a blank canvas can be daunting. To help you kick things off, you can always refer to curated swipe file resources. There are tons available online.
Some sites offer hundreds of swipes. Users can choose references from different categories, niches, brands, and more.
A great example is Facebook’s Ad Library. You can filter out the ads and find examples that have proven success and are relevant to your brand.
You can use the Facebook Ad Library to view ads from your competition and gain valuable insights. It’s accessible to anyone and allows you to search for keywords, people, or Pages.
You can view ads currently running on a page, even if you don’t fit the demographics for that page. In addition, ads running on both Instagram Stories and Facebook can also be viewed.
Ads can be annoying. But, they can be a great source of inspiration for marketers. Most of the ads that you see are targeted.
It might’ve been something you searched, clicked on, or even the videos you watched. Consider why you’re getting an ad and what makes you part of the target demographic.
Organizing your swipe file helps you streamline your creative process. You want to do this for two key areas: Individual Swipe Data and Swipe Category.
Individual Swipe Data fields can include the following:
Next up we have the Swipe Category. This is more user-friendly, organized, and breaks down files into sub-categories. You can use tools like Google sheets for this.
Each sheet would be a new swipe file with the following tables:
Swipe Files are excellent tools to help your brand streamline content creation. It’s a source of curated references, inspirations, and best practices.
But before investing time and effort into crafting your own swipe files, consider the following:
How do are you keeping swipe files organized? Let us know in the comments below!
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