Why Copywriting Templates and Swipe Files Don’t Always Work

By Alexis Rodrigo | Copywriting

Apr 17
copywriting templates and swipe files

If you’ve used copywriting templates, you know they’re never as fool-proof as their proponents promise them to be. One might work like gangbusters. Another might fall flat.

Why is that, and what can you do about it?

Writing templates can be hit-or-miss because they don't account for a key ingredient in effective writing: CONTEXT.

And by context, I mean three things:

#1 Where your readers are at when they read your piece

#2 What you want them to think, feel, and do as a result of reading your copy

#3 What they need to know in order to get from #1 to #2

Think of yourself as a guide taking your readers on a journey and creating a route for them to get to the desired destination in the most straightforward and smoothest way possible.

This is where most templates and swipe files fall short. They're written for the reader who's coming from a particular starting point. But in most cases, that may not be where YOUR readers are at.

3 Levels of Market Sophistication

You can define your readers' starting point in terms of their level “sophistication.” That is, what’s their level of awareness vis-a-vis your product, service, or solution?

There are four possible levels of awareness or market sophistication:

1. Unaware

At this level, your readers may be experiencing the problem you solve for them, but they’re not aware of it. They don’t know what they don’t know. Readers at this level are the most difficult to persuade because it takes a lot of education before they’ll even be receptive to your message. Don't expect to make a quick sale with them.

Example: “I’m not overweight; I’m voluptuous.”

2. Problem Aware

Readers who are problem aware know they have a problem. The thing is, they may not be experiencing it acutely enough for them to want to do anything about it. This means they’re not actively seeking a solution. 

Example: “I’m overweight and my partner loves having more of me to cuddle.”

Problem-aware readers are easier to sell to, once they understand the benefits of solving their problem.

3. Solution Aware

Solution-aware readers know they have a problem, and they’re looking for a solution to solve it. These readers are some of the most receptive to your pitch. They’re doing their research and shopping around for a solution. You don’t need to convince them that they need to solve their problem!

Example: “I’m overweight and I want to do something about it. Should I try a diet? Exercise regimen? Essential oils? Hypnotherapy? EFT?”

Your challenge with solution-aware readers is convincing them that your solution is the best one from among the many possible solutions available.

4. Product Aware

Finally, product-aware folks are those who not only know and want the type of solution you offer (e.g., a diet or workout). They also already know of your specific product. They’ve done their research and your product may just be on their short-list of possible solutions they want to try.

Example: “I’m determined to try an eating plan that helps me lose weight without counting calories. Lexi’s Flexi-Fasting promises to do that.”

As you can imagine, product-aware readers are the ideal folks to reach! You get them by building an audience and nurturing your relationship with them, whether through content marketing and/or paid ads.

Clearly, the way you write your copy depends on which level of awareness or sophistication your readers are at. And if you have readers at different levels, then you may find yourself having to write your copy differently for each one. 

Moral of the story: Know the context before you write even one word of copy!

Message me on Facebook if you need help with this. Getting clear on this context is a key component of my 30-Day Intensive Copy Lab. In just one month, you will:

  • learn how to formulate the strategic messaging (beginning with the context) for any kind of copy — before you write a single word
  • draft and polish your copy with guidance and feedback from a professional copywriter (that’s me!)
  • finally finish that copy you’ve been meaning to write but have been putting off, whether it’s your home page, a sales page, an email, an Instagram post, or something else

Once you go through my process of planning, drafting, and refining your copy, you can apply it to every other piece of sales and marketing material you’ll ever need to write for your business. You’ll never be at a loss figuring out what to write and how to write it. The context will always guide you.

Let’s chat on Facebook messenger if you’re interested. I’ll ask you a few short questions to see if it makes sense for us to work together.

PS: Copywriting swipe files and templates are useful for jumpstarting your creativity when you just need a little bit of inspiration. They should never be a crutch. Let me know if you're ready to acquire solid copywriting skills that you can apply to any marketing and sales material.


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.