From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Organizing a Swipe File

Hi Scott,

I received the most horrendous DM package in the mail from one of my seeds. You can tell they spent a lot of money on it. It was a larger-than-normal format with full-color brochure and a copy of a newspaper clipping. When I read it, I just knew that I could write better copy than that. What would be the best way to contact the company to try to get them as my first client? Thanks for your help.

– Dwight K.

Hello Dwight,

Bob Bly talks about this extensively in his “Selling Yourself” program. This is potentially a great way to drum up new business, especially if you really can do a better job. However, you have to be very diplomatic in the way you approach the company. Remember, they didn’t ask you for your opinion … they (probably) don’t know who you are … and, keep in mind, you don’t know who wrote the letter. Could be the person you’re speaking to. So starting your inquiry with a criticism isn’t a good idea. Instead, introduce yourself, tell them their letter triggered some ideas you have that you’d like to offer them, and take it from there.

Hi Scott,

Have you ever started something and been so excited you wanted to share it with the world? Well, I have!

I started the copywriting program at the end of January, and I am currently preparing to write my “Restaurant Letter.” I have learned so much in this short time. Last night, to help myself continue to read and study the material, I recorded on CD some tips from The Golden Thread. I have found that recording my study material on CD is an excellent way to study. I hope other AWAI members will find this helpful

– Jacqueline P.


Hello Scott,

I am new to AWAI’s copy writing program, and I am enjoying it … and learning quite a bit. I have started to build my library of sales copy, but am confused about how best to organize it. Do you have any suggestions?

– Rick G.

Hello Rick,

I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the program.

To answer your question … a good way to organize a swipe file is by niche market. Put health copy with other health copy and financial copy with other financial copy. I also separate out the controls. They are the most important letters in the file.

Thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!


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Published: March 20, 2006

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