#Marketing: Why Every Marketer Should Have a Swipe File
DG: All right. What's up, everybody? It is a DG. That's me. I'm in the car. Today is the last day of my vacation down in South Carolina Hilton Head. We're the only one people from the northeast that decided to go to the south for the summer, but we wanted to get on a plane and go somewhere and get out of town. Amazing trip. It was 100 million degrees, but it's funny. I tried to really take a week and not do work and unplug and be with my family. And it's amazing how when you do that, you actually get more ideas. The notebook that I have is filled up and it's just crazy. And I read this. David Ogilvy said this and a bunch of creative people say it and copywriters and stuff like that, but you basically... To come up with better ideas, the formula is to stuff your mind full of reading material, books, videos, podcasts, whatever, articles, and then Ogilvy said you unhook your subconsciousness. And so you go for a walk or you take a shower or you work out and that's why those best ideas hit you when you're in those places, because you're not actively thinking about it. And so for me, whenever I go away, that's an amazing time and I usually come back with a couple ideas. Some of them are hopefully good, but most importantly, it gives me time to marinate on some of the bigger things that I've been thinking about and working on as validation of that. But speaking of a million ideas, I got a bunch of podcasts that I want to do, and I couldn't wait to do this one. I'm in the car. I have this amazing... DC got me this amazing Shure mic. I have to I'll post the details of what's actually in it, but it's this little Shure mic. Shure's an amazing, legendary old school, been around forever microphone audio company, and they make a mic you can just plug right in your iPhone and the quality is pretty good. I'll have our crew edit this up and clean up the audio a little bit, but it's an amazing tool to create content on the road. Anyway, the thing I want to talk about today is I want to talk about... Speaking of ideas, I want to talk about keeping a swipe file because for me, keeping a swipe file has been an absolute game changer for coming up with ideas, looking at patterns for common and familiar ideas. And what made me think of this as I'm reading this book right now called, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. It's by Luke Sullivan. And he was an agency guy for 30 years. And the book is about a bunch of different advertising and copywriting things, but he talks mainly about this guy, William Bernbach. Bernbach was the guy who... If you've ever seen the legendary, the black and white... because it's old, right... VW ads, one of them is lemon and the other one is think small, Bernbach did all those. I think he actually did also the Avis ad, which is... I've talked about this a bunch, but if it's the first time listening, there was this amazing Avis ad. Avis was second in the rental market world next to Hertz. And so they had to come up with some different positioning. And so their positioning was," Hey, why should you go with us? Well, we're only number two so we have to try harder. There's shorter lines, our cars are cleaner," blah blah blah. Anyway, he's talking about Bernbach in the book and it tells a story about how in the early days of his agency, this guy, Luke Sullivan, his manager told him, he said," Look, this is your first month, whatever, year in the job. I want you to copy ideas until you have your own that are great, right? Unless what you come up with is better, I want you to copy other people's ideas and innovate on them." And that is everything. We talk about this so much on Seeking Wisdom, which is innovate, don't invent. And I think I see this mistake happened so many times where everybody wants to create something brand new where you can get just as far if you can copy something that already exists, and I'm not saying plagiarize, right, but go back and look. Steve Jobs said it. Good artists copy, great artists steal, right, or the other way around. Whatever way that makes that quote best and make the most sense, that's the example. And so to me, that's why I keep a swipe file, right? There are so many ideas out there and so many good examples of stuff that you have to be able to go and pull from that. Every time you have to go create a webinar or a landing page or write a press release or create ad copy, you can't sit there and just go and invent that from scratch every single time. And so for me, I keep a swipe file. It's in Evernote. And Evernote's amazing for this because they have a system where you can just tag stuff. I have one big notebook in Evernote called swipe file, and then everything that I add there, I can add little tags. And so the tags make it sortable. And so let's talk about for Drift, for example. There's stuff that relates to Drift's messaging and positioning. I put all those in a file that I call Drift story, right? And so then when I need to find something that's related to Drift's messaging and positioning or things I want to use later, I can just go sort Drift story. Another example is pricing page copy, right? Pricing pages are notoriously hard to write. And so I just keep a stash of great copy from pricing pages and those are all in my swipe file under the tag pricing page, and I do this for everything now. I do this for blog post ideas that I think are good, podcast ideas, ad copy. I put everything in that swipe file. And then the crazy part about having a swipe file is that oftentimes don't even reference it. It's the act of just saving stuff there that forces me to remember it, because something happens in my brain. When I actually saved it there, something happens. It's like," Oh yeah, I do have a good example of that that I can lean on." And then occasionally I can actually just go and search for it and find good examples. I can't talk enough about a swipe file. And this is something that, again, not to make my marketing podcast all about lessons from the copywriting old school days, but they all did this. They had a drawer, literally a drawer. My wife kills me because she says I says drawer like I'm drawing, like hand drawing, but that's what it is to me. It's a" draw", draw- er. Anyway, they would keep a drawer full of... literally a cabinet where they would pull out ideas. They would pull out files from the draw and they would say," Hey, look, here's an example of X, Y, and Z." And before they ever wrote anything, they would pull from those examples to then go out and create it. If you don't have a swipe file already, that's the tip I want to leave you with today is start keeping one, right? The next time that people start sending you ideas, like I don't know if you have a company where my CEO, David, he sends us a million ideas, people on the team, I just save everything, right? I save the things that I like and think are good and I have them for later. And so my push for you is to keep a swipe file. Whether you're in marketing, whether you're in sales... I would definitely do this in sales... to keep a list of emails that worked, right, messages that worked. I would always keep that. Even in product, right? Designs, common patterns that we want to use, great examples of mobiles inside of an app or something like that. I would always keep a swipe file. I don't see enough people doing it. And so I think the reason I want to do this podcast is because whenever I tell people that I have a swipe file, they're like," Whoa, oh, that's so cool. What's in it? How do you use it? And I heard the copywriters used to do that, but I don't have one." I'm like, just do it. It's in Evernote, right? It's so easy. Just start clipping there. You can also get the Evernote web clipper. And so in Chrome, just add the web clipper, and so every article that I'm on online, within one click, I can just save it to my swipe file for later. Ultimately, the lesson is keep a swipe file. But the bigger lesson here is to copy until you make yours better, right? It's crazy to sit around and have a blank slate and be stuck all the time. Use the swipe file to come up with ideas, to draw from inspiration. And it's so much easier to copy an existing framework and then make your version of it than it is to start from scratch. And that's not just easier on you, that's going to be easier on the people that are going to be interacting with your stuff because you have to lean on common patterns and familiar patterns. If you're going to introduce something brand new to somebody they've never seen before, the learning curve there is going to be a little bit higher. I always try to take something that's common and existing and then make my version of it. That's what I got for you today. I hope everybody is having an amazing week. I'm excited to get back into the office. We have a monster end of the summer. Just about 50- ish, 60 days until Hypergrowth, which is crazy. If you don't already have your ticket... Man, Hypergrowth. The announcement is crazy. This week, we announced Casey Neistat, who is one of my favorite people on the planet. Inspirational. You want to talk about best marketing lessons? Forget about B2B companies. Study Casey Neistat. He's going to be at Hypergrowth. And the coolest part about it is you can get there. If you just use the promo code... Go to hypergrowth.drift.com and use a promo code seekingwisdom, you can get your tickets for 199 bucks. That's a$ 500 discount. And look, let's be honest. You're going to expense this thing anyway, right? You are not actually paying for this most likely out of your own pocket. And even if you are,$ 199 for a day of learning with about 4, 000 other marketers, you can't really put a price on that. That's the deal. I'm out of here. I've been driving around a rotary for the last 10 minutes recording this podcast because I don't know where I'm going and I want to get this done. Have an awesome rest of the week. Get your tickets to Hypergrowth with the promo code seekingwisdom. I'll see you soon.