Swipe Files: Are They Really Your Content Bestie?

You want your business to break through the digital marketing clutter and stand out, so why use someone else’s material in your social media content?

There are some best practices that are quantifiable in terms of response rates and conversions. Most people are more likely to click on Learn More than Buy Now! Also true is that some wording is really good and can be used again.

Back in my news writing days, when on a breaking news assignment, I would always go back to the “morgue,” or digital library of previously published stories, to refresh my memory on what the facts surrounding a situation had been. This way, I could supply background and give the context around a major change. In other words, looking at the original story gave me the ability to tell the readers why is this news and what does the newest information mean to them.

But, here’s the caveat. Something in the original story is likely outdated. The worst possibility would be to repeat a mistake. The old story should be a guide, not a gospel. Worst of all – and this applies to marketing copy – people will recognize the wording as canned. This is a sure-fire way to lose people. Oh, I’ve seen this before, and poof, they have clicked away.

Write gripping content

As an aside, in a world where we are awash in content, we don’t always recognize something we have read before. I have had the experience myself of reading an old news story from prior years and thinking it seemed familiar, only to then see my own byline. Still, if you are trying to be fresh and relevant, rehashing old content is not exactly gripping.

Even worse, it is possible to “swipe” copyrighted content, which is a no-no. You can emulate the style of swipe files you think will work for your business.

Granted, you can repurpose content. That is, your own content. Perhaps you have extensive collateral material on your business website and in handout marketing materials that identify your core product or service, how it works and why it is of value to customers and clients. This copy can be repurposed into your social media and blogging content. Indeed, it must so that your brand is recognizable in all settings. This is known as “omnichannel marketing.” Take the tidbits in that content that really pop and use those phrases in the social media content.

If you are a small or big business, you want the customer to immediately recognize the product or service experience when they are at the point of sale because they already became acquainted with you online. Analogously, your LinkedIn profile should come across as if someone is meeting you in person in a boardroom setting. Your product and service should come across online to perfect strangers who find you on Twitter, in their Facebook feeds, etc.


But, if you are using swipe files, how can you distinguish yourself? You can blend your own branding with ad copy wording that is known to work. You should review Facebook ads swipe files and similar resources (just Google). Checking out the look, feel and wording will inform how you decide to write your social media posts and sponsored content (ads). See what you like and what you dislike. Think about what will inspire or intrigue your ideal customer. You want to write the ad to speak to that target market.

For more content writing tips or to inquiry about Adroit Narratives’ content marketing writing services, contact consultant Katharine Fraser.