Here’s the final instalment of my Periscope series #Obsidiscope, which went live back on October 2015. In this, the fifth and final episode, I chat about appreciating the wealth of copy around you and learning from it too.

Sometimes, observing all that’s around you is the best way to learn, and that’s certainly true of copywriting. If you want to boost your copywriting skills, it’s imperative that you keep an eye on the copy that’s all around us on a day to day basis. Every piece of text you see out on the high street has had to be written. Someone has had to sit down and put pen to paper each time, thinking “what is the best way of portraying this message to as many people as possible?”

What’s Swipe File?

Find a piece of copy or an ad that you like? Take a photo and keep it as inspiration. I’ve taken pictures of vintage posters, pint glasses, menus, clothing labels, “10 checkout items or fewer” signs – you name it, it’s probably on my phone. Keeping a record of copy or design that you like is called keeping a “swipe file” – and one place where people keep swipe files for all kinds of things is Pinterest. It may not seem like the sort of place for marketing bods on first inspection, but there are lots of users sharing and saving awesome advertisements, crafty copy, delightful design, and even fab fonts (for my fellow typography nerds out there).

Once you train yourself to tune in to the copy that surrounds you, you start to become a little discerning. Don’t worry, you won’t necessarily become one of those grammar-correcting “well, actually” types. Sometimes you’ll come across a piece where you think “wow, I need to keep a hold of this for inspiration!” Other times, you will find something that makes you think “wow, someone got paid for that?!”

If you’ve just completed a piece of text that you are really proud of, don’t be afraid to put it in your own swipe file. It’s reassuring that you can achieve greatness, and if you’ve done it once, you can do it again!