In the US and UK, 17% of all freelancers specialise in content services. It should be no surprise; content careers like copywriting let writers support themselves through their passion. However, getting started is a challenge. It’s not easy to know where to begin or how specific tools can be beneficial.
A portfolio, for example, is a handy tool for copywriters, and most writers starting today don’t have one.
What is a portfolio for a copywriter?
For a copywriter, a portfolio is a selection of their past work highlighting their skills to clients. The writer aims to demonstrate their abilities and work history in hopes of gaining new contracts and customers.
Experienced copywriters can choose the best pieces they have written for their portfolio to attract the right clients. However, aspiring copywriters with no previous work must be innovative when creating a portfolio without experience.
It is possible to make a portfolio without doing any copywriting work. Starting a portfolio can be intimidating without the initial incentive of a client’s brief. Perhaps because of this, some beginner writers wonder if having a portfolio will help them get work.
Does a copywriter need a portfolio?
In short, yes. Most potential clients will look elsewhere for a copywriter without proof that you can perform the task. You need to be able to demonstrate your writing skills through a variety of sample texts.
The days of in-person meetings with physical portfolios are behind us, and remote working has flourished in the last four years. Being able to send a digital copy of your work puts you one step ahead of everyone without a portfolio to lean on.
Why are portfolios important in copywriting?
The main reason your copywriting portfolio is essential is that it proves you can do the job. Having samples from previous projects shows your versatility and talent. It could make all the difference between getting a job offer or a rejection email.
When clients look at your CV and maybe a cover letter, they get a decent idea of who you are. Providing them with a digital portfolio shows them you can use your personality to create a unique and characteristic copy sample.
What makes a good copywriter portfolio?
Good copywriters can adapt their style while maintaining what makes it their own. Their portfolios are eye-catching because of the range of copies they display. Samples like:
Social media posts
These samples highlight the different copywriting skills required to be a successful copywriter. If you can show clients you can create content like this, they’re more likely to hire you for their projects. They might consider you for other projects based on what you show in your portfolio.
Why is it important to build your portfolio?
Building your portfolio keeps it relevant to your current skill level. The work isn’t over once you have your first portfolio ‘finished’. You should regularly maintain and update your portfolio throughout your career to accurately reflect the type of work you complete.
For example, as your career progresses, you might find a niche for your writing, like medical copywriting. Your portfolio, therefore, should display five - seven medical copywriting samples from your recent work. You can send this portfolio to prospective clients in the medical field and show off your knowledge within their area.
Creating multiple portfolios for different specialities is also worth it as you develop your skills. It helps you market yourself to a broader range of clients, increasing your odds of receiving job offers.
Even from scratch with no experience, building a portfolio is crucial for aspiring copywriters. Clinching your first job is arguably the most challenging part of starting a career in this industry. Make it easier on yourself by building a sound copywriting portfolio. If you join The Author’s Pad community, you’ll find all the tools to make it easy.
Here, we cover a few frequently asked questions about building a portfolio as a copywriter.
What is the most important thing to become a copywriter?
Good copywriting is about thoroughly understanding written language. It would be best to have an excellent grasp of your spelling and grammar and an ability to communicate information and ideas effectively. Branching out to clients and maintaining good relationships is crucial to copywriting success. Start by building your portfolio and then grow from there.
What makes a copywriter stand out?
Originality and authenticity make your writing stand out from the competition. Rather than trying to write like someone else, try to write in a particular format in your own style. Good clients want writers that can keep any topic interesting and easy to digest, with some personality thrown in there too. Your copywriting portfolio allows you to set yourself apart from other applicants immediately.
What makes a good writing portfolio?
A good writing portfolio will include several writing samples covering various topics and styles. You’ll also add more personal information about your history as an aspiring writer - anything that shows more of your character (whilst staying work-appropriate). It’s also a good idea to include some links to your social media or blog if you have one.