5 Top Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Copywriting Portfolio

From showcasing your best work to building a loyal client base, creating a customised portfolio is an essential element of the copywriting journey. Whilst a strong portfolio is one of the most important tools that budding copywriters can have in their arsenal, weak ones are likely to hinder your career rather than help it.

To give yourself the best shot at making it big in the industry, here at The Author’s Pad we’ve come up with some pointers for avoiding the most common mistakes when putting together your portfolio. 

Read on to discover why and how an error-free portfolio could be your best marketing tool as a copywriter.

What is a Copywriting Portfolio?

A portfolio is a curated collection of your work, which includes information about yourself, the services you offer, and writing samples. For copywriters looking to recruit new clients, it’s often used as a CV or resume to showcase exactly what you can do and how you do it.

Although content can vary based on the niche or type of client you’re targeting, the main components of a strong copywriting portfolio often include: 

  • Homepage, with a brief introduction and writing samples

  • About page, including education, employment history, and some personal information

  • Services pages that detail the type of content you produce and areas of expertise

  • Client testimonials highlighting your strengths to prospective clients

  • Contact details for interested parties to follow

5 Common Copywriting Portfolio Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The creative freedom and flexibility that comes with starting a copywriting business can be highly rewarding, but isn’t without its pitfalls. Here are some of the most common portfolio errors we’ve all made whilst still learning the ropes:

#1 Including Irrelevant Work Samples

If you’ve got a lot of experience, you may think that adding everything you’ve ever written into a portfolio is a great way of demonstrating this. However, a better way of sharing your skills and knowledge is by only including samples that are relevant to the type of client, audience, and industry that you’re targeting.

All too often, writers also add samples without any explanation of why or how they created the piece. Adding some context and discussing how you met the brief for each piece not only highlights your abilities, but demonstrates how your working process helps you to meet the goals of every client.

And remember, your portfolio should always be a work in progress. So, try to regularly update it with new work to showcase the journey when building your copywriting reputation

#2 Not Highlighting the Benefits You Can Offer 

When writing your portfolio, it can be tempting to explain how a copywriting service can generally benefit prospective clients. However, this simply shows clients why they need a copywriter, not why they should recruit you! 

To show what makes you stand out from the crowd, include the advantages that you offer in your headline. This could include anything from where you’re based or the industry you’re targeting to the services that can be provided.

Another tip is to include an inspiring headline. This will grab a potential client’s attention from the get-go and prevent them from simply scrolling past, making you much more memorable.

#3 Making it Too Professional

Whilst it’s important to emphasise your unique selling points and what you can do for the consumer as a professional writer, you shouldn’t avoid adding a personal touch to your portfolio. Clients may struggle to connect with your services if your portfolio lacks emotion, so try to share something that shows your personality.

For instance, use a friendly, chit-chat tone if this matches your branding well. Demonstrate some flair by telling your personal story, or what inspired you to begin the role and enter the niche that you’ve chosen. 

#4 Excluding images

Your talents may be based around writing, but if you’re not including visuals in your portfolio, you’re missing a huge opportunity. From images and illustrations to graphics, screenshots, and videos, visuals enhance the value of written work, demonstrate your creativity, and provide a unique way of engaging the reader.

An effective way of incorporating visuals is by creating an infographic to highlight key achievements or metrics that you’ve helped previous clients achieve. Use an online design tool such as Canva to easily create graphics using their ready-to-go templates and logos. 

A headshot on your homepage or “about” section can also allow potential clients to connect with you better and may help you to stand out from the crowd.

#5 Failing to Proofread

Studies show that websites with spelling or grammatical mistakes experience increased bounce rates of up to 85%, compared with pages that are typo-free. Portfolios with errors are therefore likely to repel prospective clients, particularly those whose content strategy is aimed at increasing conversions.

So, to minimise mistakes, don’t skip the proofreading step when writing a portfolio. Like with any content that you’re creating, try running the final draft through Grammarly, a comprehensive spelling, grammar, and tone checking tool. Don’t let one small slip be the difference between securing a client and falling at the first hurdle!

Final Thoughts

Creating a comprehensive, detailed, and well-thought-out portfolio is one crucial step in building your business as a copywriter. To learn more about kickstarting a thriving career, visit The Author’s Pad, where our copywriting experts provide inside knowledge on progressing in this industry. 


What Are the 3 Common Mistakes a Copywriter May Make?

One of the most common copywriting errors is failing to understand the client’s target audience. This can cause you to create a piece that doesn’t engage readers or encourage conversions. Another key error is including large blocks of text that lead readers to lose interest. Finally, forgetting a call-to-action (CTA) at the end leaves the audience unsure of what move to make next.

What Makes a Good Copywriting Portfolio?

An engaging copywriting portfolio should include a homepage with a strong headline explaining what you do, along with plenty of relevant writing samples. It should also feature important information about you, the services that you offer, and how prospective clients can contact you, as well as testimonials demonstrating the effectiveness of your work.

What Do Copywriters Struggle With?

Every copywriter will have their own demons, but a huge problem faced by many is a lack of clarity. This could be failing to get to grips with the client’s target audience, their aims for the content, the brief, or the tone that they typically use. Some other issues include appropriate pricing strategies, managing workloads, plagiarism, and dealing with difficult clients.

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