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You want to start your copywriting gig, but damn, I wish you the best if you don’t have a portfolio.
That’s like telling people, “Trust me bro, give me your money. I promise I’m good.”
But don’t panic. I got you.
This article is gonna show you how to build a copywriting portfolio so that your potential clients will throw money at you.
Table of Contents
What Is a Copywriting Portfolio?
A copywriting portfolio is a collection of all of the best work you did in the past. It can include social media posts, blog articles, landing page copy, ad copy or newsletters.
This is the document you’re going to use to sell yourself. It’s your resume,
Let me reiterate this point again. It should only include your BEST work.
So don’t showcase anything that will make your potential client go “hmmm.”
The more effort and creativity you put into it, the more power and leverage you’ll have in attracting the best clients.
Why You Need a Copywriting Portfolio
As someone who has been and hired copywriters, clients don’t care about what you have done.
They want to know HOW you generated results with what you did in the past.
Yes, they will look at your portfolio to get a sense of your style, your tone, and whether you have a good grasp of basic copywriting formulas.
But, clients are most likely checking several potential copywriters simultaneously, so you only have a few minutes or seconds to make an impression.
Sorry, you’re not some special snowflake where they can spend an hour going through everything and make their own deductions.
You got to be:
Think of your portfolio as the primary weapon in your client-hunting arsenal.
It should help clients know if you’re qualified in 5 minutes or less.
What to Include in Your Copywriting Portfolio?
Each portfolio is different from the other. It would depend on the copywriter’s unique set of skills, specialization and even personality.
However, for a portfolio to be effective in convincing a client, it should more or less contain certain fundamental items.
Here’s what they are.
1) An About Me Section
In general, every portfolio should contain a short and savvy introduction.
It’ll serve as your portfolio’s elevator pitch. Before they move on to the other sections, they need to know if it’s worth looking at your work.
The best portfolios usually include a catchy and succinct professional statement.
For example, you could say something like:
- A creative copywriter who helps [the niche] brands drive leads
- Specializing in [the type of] copy that compels leads to take action the first time round
Then you could go into more detail about your professional background and related experience.
Explaining your writing philosophy and approach would also be impressive.
2) Samples of Work
This is the meat of your entire portfolio.
Your priority now would be to ensure clients have a smooth time navigating along.
I said it twice, but you need to hear this again.
Show only your BEST work.
I’ve seen rubbish portfolios where freelancers would include random copy to appear like they did a lot.
I recommend showing direct response copy samples because that is what most clients want.
Don’t do that, as it makes you seem to be compensating.
Also, create a system of categorizing your work so clients can easily find what they want.
Segment your samples according to niches and industries.
But the choice is up to you. It’s not a hard and fast rule as long as it is organized nicely.
You could also categorize your works according to skill or format.
For example, SEO-related writing and ad copywriting.
3) Results and Metrics
If possible, showing the results of your work would take your portfolio up a notch.
I understand that acquiring this information will usually come from your past clients, but it needs to be a priority.
This could be in the form of charts or tables that show how much impressions, conversions or CTR improved after implementing your copy.
These are WAY more powerful than simply showing good copy.
4) Client List
If you’re fortunate enough already to have a list of clients up your sleeve, then include this in your portfolio.
Social proof is another core marketing concept that will compel your clients to take action.
You may add logos of businesses and publications that you’ve worked with.
5) Service Rates
This is optional, as you may want to negotiate custom rates once you’ve touched base with a client.
However, it would still be helpful as it could give the client a ballpark of what to expect.
It will also show confidence in your own abilities and self-worth.
6) Contact Details
Once your portfolio’s done blowing the mind of your future client, they will need to contact you, right?
Don’t just show your social media links; expect them to hunt for your contact page.
That’s a huge turn-off and inconsiderate.
You should at least include your name (even if you’re using a brand name to market), phone number (for your messaging apps), and email.
You could include links to your social media handles as well.
How to Create a Copywriter Portfolio
Now that you know what to include, what’s next?
Let’s put everything together.
1) Prepare Your Materials
Begin by collating all the works you want to include in your portfolio.
Determine what format you would like to work with.
Would you prefer to use live document links or uploaded copies?
Then start categorizing and labeling your work.
You could use folders or a file name system. This way, you can easily arrange them in your chosen platform.
2) Choose a Platform
From Google Drive to WordPress to Contently – you’ll never run out of platform options. Which one is actually the best for you?
First, you have to consider your industry and your target clients. Which platforms are they most likely to use?
Also, the more tech-savvy you are, the more you can deal with advanced platforms and templates that may require some coding knowledge.
Overall, choose a user-friendly platform with an intuitive interface. Something you and your future clients can work well with.
I’ll share with you my favorite portfolio platforms later in another section.
3) Arrange Everything
Remember, potential clients have limited time to go through your work. Your layout choices should always have ease of navigation in mind.
Explore organization tactics such as tags and filters that’ll help them scour through your work. You could also make a ‘top featured’ section that flaunts your best work.
As mentioned earlier, categorizing your materials is up to you. Just make sure that clients can easily access everything they need to see.
That way, you’ll help them decide quickly if you’re the right person for the job.
It makes everyone’s life easier.
4) Add Visual Appeal
Add more pizzazz to your portfolio through some visual elements.
You can have:
- Brand colors
- Graphic elements
Just don’t go overboard, and always try to keep the design professional.
Still, you have plenty of leeway to be creative.
5) Update Your Portfolio
Like your resume, you must update your portfolio as you gain more experience.
It’s not a static document that you distribute for eternity.
When you work on a new project, document the process and tabulate the results.
If it’s good, then update your top featured works.
Your copywriting portfolio should be ever-dynamic along with your career.
Where To Publish a Copywriting Portfolio
There are tons of platform options to choose from.
It would really depend on your tech preferences and purpose.
Here are my platform recommendations when starting a copywriting portfolio. I’ve also included good recommendations for beginners.
Social Media Platforms
Did that come out as a surprise?
You could create a copywriting portfolio on arguably any social networking site.
But my recommendations will be:
Many freelance copywriters actually showcase their writing skills through these 2 platforms because that’s where most potential clients hang out as well.
Your engagement on your Tweets and LinkedIn posts will be undeniable social proof that you can get results.
If you’re good.
Pin your best works on the top of your feed and customize your profile using the same principles mentioned above.
I’ve encountered many copywriters who have used this platform for their portfolios. I find it very intuitive to browse through.
The platform presents sample works through links that direct to published work online.
It’s convenient for journalists and content marketers because they need to set up links to their featured projects.
If you already have some projects online, then Contently is one of the best tools to use.
If you want something straightforward and convenient, just use Google Drive.
You can use the Google Portfolio or the Google Sites feature. They can both act as an archive that pulls from your existing files in Drive.
If you often use other Google services in your workflow, then this might be a good option.
But if you want something simple, you can create a Google Doc and just share that with your prospects.
However, you wouldn’t have that much space to be creative.
This is my personal favorite because WordPress can not only serve a static page, but you can transition over to a full-blown portfolio website.
This sets you up for other scaling activities beyond your copywriting side hustle like:
- Write blog articles
- Earning affiliate income
- Selling digital courses
If you like how my website looks, you can purchase the Kadence theme.
But you’ll need other essentials like a domain from NameCheap and website hosting.
Carbonmade prides itself in being one of the most user-friendly portfolio builder tool for creatives to show off their work.
You can build your copywriting portfolio instantly, even without coding skills.
The downside is subscription is a bit pricier as compared to its counterparts.
Still, its advantage is its user-friendliness and flexibility in customizing.
It even has animation features if you want to get fancy.
How to Build a Copywriting Portfolio (FAQs)
What Do I Put in My Portfolio When I Have No Experience?
You could start by creating a personal project that’ll allow you to showcase your copywriting skills. It could be through a blog, social media, or a content creator profile.
Many copywriters, and writers in general, began by doing spec work. These are projects that aren’t tied to a specific client.
If you’ve had any practical copywriting courses, you could include relevant projects that you’ve completed.
When you’re a beginner, testimonials help boost the credibility of your portfolio. You could reach out to some of your colleagues and ask them to write a testimonial for you.
If you haven’t that much experience yet, your passion and reliability are what’s gonna work for you. Make sure that your portfolio makes that evident.
What Makes a Good Copywriting Portfolio?
First impressions are everything for a portfolio. It’s important to develop an effective professional statement that can immediately hook your potential client.
After all, that’s what copywriting is all about, right?
Aside from that, a well-thought layout with some creativity will show potential clients that you pay attention to detail. It conveys that you are passionate about your craft.
A good portfolio is also designed with user-friendliness in mind. Keep the navigation seamless and intuitive.
What Should a Copywriting Portfolio Look Like?
Your copywriting portfolio could look any way you want. It just has to focus on showing your skills and experience.
Most copywriting portfolios contain an introduction, most often on a home page.
Clients are usually looking at multiple applications at once. A good introduction helps to convey a summary of your background and skills quickly.
There are different ways to arrange your sample works. The important thing is that they should be well-organized.
You could check out copywriting examples to get inspiration.
Should I Be a Copywriter?
If you’ve got a knack and interest for writing, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a shot.
In this digital era, plenty of businesses need to market online that’s why copywriting is vital.
In a time when there tends to be information overload, getting the message across to the right audience is a valuable skill.
So if you’re looking for freelance work or starting a side hustle, then copywriting is definitely one of the best options to consider.
And I’m sure you don’t want to just be a freelance copywriter forever, right?
Your goal should be to eventually transition into being a creator and building a brand for yourself.
If that’s the case, copywriting forms the foundation for all other types of content.
How Can I Create a Copywriting Portfolio That Showcases My Skills and Attracts Clients?
To create a copywriting portfolio that showcases your skills and attracts clients, you need to include samples of your best work or case studies.
Want to take it up a notch?
Create a personal website with essential pages like:
Arrange everything in a grid format that is easy to read.
Also, this is the perfect chance to showcase persuasive copy and SEO best practices.
If they found you through your website on Google and scheduled a call, don’t you think that already proves a point?
It’s more time-consuming, but I promise you this is what gets you noticed.
What Are Some Good Copywriting Portfolio Examples?
There are tons of impressive copywriting portfolio examples online. You can do a simple good search or follow some good Twitter or LinkedIn influencers.
These should give you plenty of inspiration.
How Do I Make a Copywriting Portfolio With No Experience?
There’s no easy way to say this, but get some. If you have no work samples or experience to include in your portfolio, it’s virtually impossible to get clients.
Because who is going to trust you can get the job done?
You can start by doing the following:
• Offering services for free
• Starting your own website
• Posting regularly on Twitter and LinkedIn using proper copywriting frameworks
If you got nothing, you gotta be initiative and start somewhere.
Alternatively, you can create fictitious client projects to demonstrate your know-how in creating persuasive copy for various industries.
It’s better than begging for clients.
How Can I Use LinkedIn To Enhance My Copywriting Portfolio and Gain More Clients?
LinkedIn is probably one of the best platforms to enhance your copywriting portfolio and get clients because that’s where most congregate. Business owners, hiring managers or other creators will be looking for talented copywriters on the platform to reach out to.
If you have a proven track record with a professional photo, well-crafted bio and a backlog of high-engagement posts, that itself can serve as your portfolio, not just enhance your existing one.
You can even use the featured section on your profile to showcase your additional skills, experience, and achievements.
And being a social network also serves in your favor as you can spend some time each day engaging with prospects and funneling them back to your own profile or website.
Can I Use Instagram or Facebook To Showcase My Copywriting Portfolio?
Yes, you can use Instagram and Facebook to showcase your copywriting portfolio, but those aren’t my first choices because they aren’t predominantly text-dominated platforms.
So, it’s not exactly an ideal place to showcase copywriting.
I mean, you can, but it should be a secondary channel where you repurpose content from your main ones.
Is It Essential To Have a Personal Website for My Copywriting Portfolio?
No, it’s not essential to have a personal website for your copywriting portfolio, but I highly recommend making one.
A website goes well beyond what most average copywriters would do because it’s the highest friction.
But doing so can not only showcase your professionalism. It can evolve into other revenue channels like affiliate income, digital products or paid consultations.
And besides, how impressed do you think clients would be if you shared a link to your site rather than sharing samples via email or social media?
If I was hiring, that’s easily a 9/10 candidate.
Can I Include Volunteer Work or Personal Projects in My Copywriting Portfolio?
Yes, you can definitely include volunteer work or personal projects in your copywriting portfolio, especially if you have no professional experience.
This is a fantastic way to get initial traction and at least have something to show potential clients rather than making baseless claims.
But getting high-paying clients will likely be more difficult with just these samples.
So you might want to just use these to get your initial clients and progressively replace them with better projects.
What Type of Copy Should I Include in My Portfolio To Appeal to a Wide Range of Clients?
If you are trying to appeal to a wide range of clients, it’s best also to include copy samples that showcase your activities in different verticals.
These can include items like:
• SEO copywriting
• Landing page copy
• Social media content
• Ad copy
These will demonstrate your versatility and increases the chances of attracting a broad pool of clients.
I wouldn’t recommend going down this route because if you want to get high-quality clients, you need to niche down.
Too many people offer general copywriting services, which can easily be replaced with AI copywriters.
You need to target a specific type of client and offer a specific copywriting service.
For example, “writing highly-converting landing page copy for dog supplement e-commerce companies that can 2-3x conversion rates.”
How Can I Send My Copywriting Portfolio to Potential Clients and Prospective Employers?
If you have a website, just share the link.
Else, here are a few options:
• Send it via email
• Reach out via social media
• Get them on a video call
To Sum Up
If you’re a newbie with little to zero experience, it’s hard to figure out how to build a portfolio as a copywriter.
I get it.
But I hate to break it to you, but it’s impossible to get this hustle started without one.
All that matters is being able to grab potential clients’ attention.
And if you are having trouble, I have some copywriting practice exercises you can try before assembling yours.
The bottom line, your portfolio should give clients a quick and clear understanding of what you can offer them and how your copywriting skills can help them get more conversions.
If you enjoyed this article, share it and comment below with any questions.
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About the author
Brendan is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at brendanaw.com™, where he helps others grow their creator business like a startup. Before launching his blog, he was the marketing manager at various E-commerce, NFTs, Crypto, Marketing Consultancy, Finance, and E-sports high-growth startups. He now works on scaling his family’s 7-figure luxury lighting business in Cambodia while documenting his journey as a creator online.
Learn more about me.