The demand for content marketing is soaring globally, buoyed by a diverse range of public and private organizations striving to offer valuable and engaging information to build their audience. If you enjoy writing, and have strong language and communication skills, a career in copywriting can be a lucrative opportunity in the digital age.
Whether you are an aspiring copywriter or an experienced professional wishing to expand your client network, a well-crafted portfolio or website will have a huge impact on your success in this highly competitive ecosystem. Like an elevator pitch is a brief summary of an idea, product, company, or your own self – articulated in your own words - to a potential client or employer, an online portfolio showcases your skills, writing prowess and versatility as a copywriter.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a perfect copywriting portfolio. As we will explain in this article, several factors determine the type of portfolio that will work best for your needs. However, after analyzing hundreds of copywriting portfolios online, we have discovered some striking characteristics that differentiate a great portfolio from the rest.
Getting started with a copywriting portfolio
Content writing is vastly diverse in its scope. There are different styles, formats and type of content catering to a range of clients, be it B2B organizations, B2C firms, press outlets, non- profits or specific individuals. As a copywriter, the foremost step is to think about how you want to position yourself in the industry. What are your interests, writing strengths and areas of expertise? Do you want to be a generalist, catering to a variety of clients, or do you want to develop a specialized niche for a targeted audience? Do you want to write long form articles, or more succinct pieces?
Here are some common types of content developed by copywriters:
Social media: The exponential increase in digital penetration and e-commerce usage has made social media a primary channel for businesses to engage and communicate with customers. With the rise of influencer marketing, brands are constantly looking for copywriters to write a range of creative and viral content.
Advertisements: Brands are constantly looking for good copywriters who can write clear, convincing and compelling copy for all their advertising needs, be it for flyers, billboards, print and television commercials, or digital platforms.
Articles and blogs: Nearly every organization has a digital presence today, including a website that showcases their products and services. An increasing number of companies are also publishing blogs and articles to demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise. These could be informative and research-heavy pieces, client interviews, listicles, or how-to guides.
Press releases: Whenever a company releases a new product, service or event, they typically publish a press release informing the general public, especially news outlets, of the launch.
All the above content is typically aimed at helping companies build a relationship with their audience, with the goal of attracting, engaging and retaining customers. In addition, there are numerous types of content that is designed to educate, entertain or inform people, and not necessary try to sell something. Here are a few examples:
Editorials: This can include opinion pieces, thought-leadership articles, news stories, long-form pieces, essays, as well as multimedia content such as videos, infographics and podcasts. You could be writing for a newspaper, magazine or digital outlet, and the writing style may vary accordingly. In general, editorial content needs to be persuasive and fact-based.
Academic writing: Content that is often more technical and analytical, relating to a specific discipline or field of study, and is written for an academic audience. It could be a whitepaper, research report, biography or a case study.
Here are eight must-haves in your copywriting portfolio:
Once you have determined your preferred content writing gigs, the next step is to develop your marketability in the industry. Prospective clients will look at your copywriting portfolio to gauge your suitability for the assignment. For example, they might want to know if your writing style would match with their brand’s general tone and voice; if you have experience writing copy for their specific industry; and if there is any demonstrable feedback for your work. Do check out our guide on how to create a striking online portfolio website.
While you can be creative with building your online portfolio in a way that best reflects your personality, here are some standard features prevalent across all successful copywriting portfolios.
If you want your portfolio to stun and awe visitors, focus on creating a visually arresting and informative homepage since this is the first page everyone will see. You should have some, or all, of your work samples, in addition to a brief description of yourself on this page. In the next section, we will describe different ways in which people have structured their home pages. Before you begin, do read our guide on how to create a personal website and build your online presence.
The samples you choose to feature in your portfolio will showcase your writing skills to clients, so be strategic and thoughtful in selecting the best ones. If you want to show your versatility and range as a copywriter, include different types of content samples, that cater to a wide variety of clients. For example, you could create different categories within the page for commercial, technical and editorial content, and feature 3-4 published samples for each category. There are several ways in which you can post these samples, including links to published articles, PDFs, and image captures.
If you are an aspiring copywriter, and do not have ample published samples, you could feature articles from your personal blog, or school and university writing assignments. If you are targeting a specific client, or copywriting gig, you could also do a mock write-up for them and include it in your portfolio.
Depending on the nature of the content you specialize in, you could also offer readers some insight into your writing process, and the end-to-end rundown of a project. For example, if you have worked on a long-form article, you could explain your research methodology and reporting process, the challenges you might have encountered along the way, and how you addressed them. More importantly, you should always include measurable impact, if any, of a successful project. It could be the total number of user clicks or the average time spent by a reader on your article; or the overall engagement (retweets, shares or positive comments) on your social media post.
Create your portfolio keeping the clients’ needs in mind and list down all the copywriting services you offer, so that they are not left second-guessing. Clearly list the copywriting services and solutions you offer, ranging from onsite copywriting services for websites, copywriting for blogs, social media content, email content, ad sales pages, or copywriting for marketing collateral like whitepapers, ebooks, PPT, brochures, press releases or video scripts.
This is one of the most important elements of a portfolio. Having a section that summarizes your background, work and key accomplishments will serve as your introduction to new clients. You could also include your resume on this page. Here are some great tips to create an awesome looking About page for your website in minutes.
For experienced copywriters, it is advisable to include client feedback in your portfolio. Reading positive comments about your work directly from other clients will help boost your credibility, skills and overall marketability to new clients. It is a useful practice to ask clients to write you a testimonial after the completion of an assignment, so that you have ample feedback to pick and choose from for your portfolio.
A client might be super impressed with your writing samples and client feedback, but if he does not know how to find you, chances are he will go to the next available option. Your portfolio should mention at least 2-3 ways in which a potential client can contact you for work opportunities. It could be your email, LinkedIn or Twitter account, or a work phone number. Do read our article on how to create the perfect contact page for your portfolio website.
You’ve done all the hard work and created a stunning portfolio. The next step is to ensure potential clients can discover your portfolio on Google and other search engines. By using SEO, you can drive more traffic to your portfolio website. For starters, try to include some high-ranking key terms throughout your portfolio. There are several free SEO tools that can help you in determining the best keywords relevant to the services you want offer clients. Additionally, every time you write a blog article or a relevant social media post, be sure to add a link to your online portfolio.
Do check out these stunning examples of distinctive copywriting portfolios
Here are some striking portfolio websites that have successfully incorporated one or more of the above tips.
Kathleen Smith's brilliant portfolio showcases her freelance work serving high-growth brands, from small businesses to tech startups all the way up to the Fortune 200. There is a visually arresting hero image, a brief bio, and a list of all the resources for added credibility, as well as Smith's Instagram handle.
Nina Sabina Caballero is a Helsinki-based creative professional with extensive experience in global sales, brand distribution, and digital marketing. She has been developing strategic branding and design solutions for brands and businesses across the world. What stands out here is the way the homepage has been curated. It provides a comprehensive overview of her repertoire of work.
Veronika is a community and content strategist based in New York City. Her copywriting portfolio provides a comprehensive overview of her work in a clean, simple layout. There is an About page, featuring a brief bio and Veronika's picture that is informal and relaxed. She has a contact page for interested clients and companies to reach out to for any project.
You can also check out some of the best portfolio examples built with Pixpa, to get some more inspiration for your next big creative assignment. These creatives have made excellent use of Pixpa, an easy-to-use website builder to showcase, share and sell their work. You can draw inspiration from these creative professionals and study their portfolios, to get a clearer idea of how you want to showcase your repertoire of work.
Each of these portfolio examples allows clients to get a glimpse into the copywriter’s personality as well as writing style. As a copywriter, you need to be able to show your writing prowess and use words in a compelling way. Depending on your personal style, you could adopt a conversational tone, include wit and humor; or choose a more concise and straightforward approach. But that is not all. A nicely taken photograph, for example, goes a long way in establishing a personal connection with the audience. Eye-catching visuals spur more engagement, and viewers are likely to spend more time on your website. An aesthetic website layout and clean navigation provide an enjoyable browsing experience. Words matter, but the presentation is crucial too.