The Swipe File

Your Inc Part 4: The Swipe File

The Swipe File

If you’ve worked through parts 1 , 2 , and 3 of this series, then you have a Pinterest board that contains:

  • Your CE(her)O
  • Your dream office
  • A collection of hobbies,skills, and interests that shape your unique value proposition
  • A collection of quotes that shape your personal brand’s mission statement.

In copywriting land, we call that a swipe file. A swipe file is just a database of files designed to inspire the creator. I’ve written an all-inclusive article on swipe files that you can check out here, but in this article I want to talk about using a swipe file to study those in your niche who are experiencing success.

Step 1: Identify Your Niche

What is the reason behind your desire to build your personal brand? Do you want a specific job in a specific field, or are you the entrepreneurial type looking to use your personal brand to start a side-hustle?

Your answer in this step depends on which social media tools you will primarily use to do your research  in the next steps.

Step 2: Using Social Media to Find Successful People in Your Niche

The only difference in this step between the solopreneurs and those looking for a traditional job is what success looks like.

Let’s use me as an example. I’m a solopreneur with a freelance writing service who has aspirations to grow a full-scale digital marketing agency with several team members.

Once I knew what I wanted to do, I turned to Twitter to find the people who were already dominating the space. That’s how I originally  discovered Chelsea and learned about what she was doing in the millennial space.

If you’re looking for a traditional job, then your main research tool is going to be LinkedIn.

Type your desired job title into the search bar and a bunch of people who hold that job will show up in the results. Make a note of the following:

  • What credentials do they have?
  • What skills do they possess?
  • Do they work at a company I’d like to work for?
  • Is there a benefit in adding this person as a connection?

This is a great way to learn about what it takes to get the job you want while simultaneously building your professional network.

In the swipe file article I linked to above, I outline step-by-step how to use Google Drive to make a research-based swipe file. Use a Google sheet (or excel if you prefer) and make a spreadsheet to keep track of the people you find on Social Media. Dedicate a separate column for each of the following:

  • Name
  • Social Media handles
  • Website URL
  • My first impression
  • What I want to emulate

Once you’ve built up your swipe file, you’re ready to start building relationships with these people on Social Media. We’ll talk about that more in Your INC Part 5: Personal Branding Association. Thanks for reading and, as always, you can reach out to me @BPucino on Twitter with any of your personal branding questions.


About Brett Pucino

"Brett is a multi-passionate millennial whose professional interests include Copywriting, Social Media Marketing, Employer Branding, Personal Branding, Sales, Retail Management & Career Brand Management. He has 5+ years of experience as a freelance Ghostwriter of over 500 articles and for clients on 3 different continents. His passions include: cats, mental health advocacy, and fighting for the underdogs of the world.

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