For those of you who are looking for a career in copywriting, you have probably already begun to build your portfolio. Perhaps you’ve even started sending out samples of your work to potential employers. But what exactly does a copywriting portfolio look like? How can you tell if you are creating the correct balance of content to showcase your skills? And most importantly, how can you diversify your portfolio to stand out from the competition?
In this article, we will discuss how to build a diversified copywriting portfolio that will propel you toward your dream career.
Your portfolio is made up of multiple documents and examples of your work. In most cases, these documents will be PDFs (Portable Document Format) or Word documents, but they can also be image files or any other type of documents you have created. Ideally, your portfolio should be no more than two pages of A4 (Australian Academic) size (14.7 x 21.0 cm). If you are using PDFs, then these should be sized such that they display well on both the screen and paper.
Make sure that the content within your portfolio is professional and polished. You don’t want to rush this process and end up sending out poor quality content that isn’t representative of your true abilities. Therefore, take your time and do this process correctly.
Although it is not required by any particular body or organization, having multiple types of content across your portfolio is preferable. This will ensure that you are using a wide variety of skills and that you aren’t just concentrating on one type of writing. For example, if you are an experienced SEO writer, but have never written a piece for a magazine, this could pose as a problem. More importantly, you don’t want to end up with a portfolio that is completely made up of SEO content, do you? Or vice versa.
There are various ways in which you can achieve this variety within your portfolio. One option would be to write a series of articles for a blog. Not only will this give you the opportunity to showcase your skills and gain more experience, but it will also allow you to experiment with different writing styles and topics. Some types of content attract more leads than others, so by experimenting you could very well end up with the type of content that you are most passionate about.
A similar option would be to write a guest post for a well-known blog. Not only will this give you the opportunity to showcase your skills, but it will also allow you to experiment with different topics. Once you have written the post, take the time to read through it from a neutral point of view. Then, ask yourself, “Does this make sense from a purely logical standpoint?” If it does not, then you may need to go back and edit the post to make it more appealing to the target audience.
Within your portfolio, you should have the following sections:
- An introduction
- Product facts
- Why you’re appropriate
- What makes you special
- Your proposed solution
- How you’ll achieve superior results
- Pro-rated sample report
- Why the client chose you
- What makes you stand out from the competition
- Your proposal
The introduction should be no more than two paragraphs containing only the necessary information for the reader. Make sure that this information includes your name, contact details, and a short bio (bio is also referred to as a resumé or personal history in some circles).
The product facts should include everything you know about the product or service, its competitors, and its pricing. Although you want to show the reader as much information as possible, you should keep your writing objective and avoid giving away too much proprietary information.
The next section, why you’re appropriate, should briefly state the reason why you are well-suited to write on this subject matter. Remember, your writing will serve as the elevator speech for the product or service you are promoting. Therefore, make sure that your choice is a compelling one.
The next section, what makes you special, is where you can really highlight your skills. For experienced writers, this is the section that will serve as the backbone of your writing career. In this section, you can talk about your previous work experience, relevant academic degrees, certifications, and any other information that may make the reader interested in your skills and experience. Be sure to include a reference to at least one piece of work that you have previously completed.
The next section, your proposed solution, should state the action step a reader can take to solve the problem you are addressing. Although you want to keep your writing objective and provide the reader with as much information as possible, you should still consider the flow of the piece and keep the language accessible and simple. This is not the place to go into great detail about how your product or service can help solve a specific problem, but it is the place to describe the initial motivation for the project.
The next section, how you’ll achieve superior results, is where you can show off your expertise. The aim of this section is to provide the reader with as much information as possible while still keeping your writing objective. Within this section, you can talk about the research you’ve done, the steps you’ve taken to reach the proposed solution, and the metrics you’ll use to demonstrate your success.
The last section of your portfolio, containing pro-rated sample reports and client testimonials, should be used to demonstrate the value of your services. Pro-rated sample reports are simply that — copies of sample reports that you’ve previously completed. If you are new to the field or have only recently begun to build your portfolio, then these documents will serve as a good indication of your writing style and the quality of your work. Clients’ testimonials should be no more than two sentences and should contain no more than a handful of impressive words to make the reader interested in the product or service you are promoting.
As you continue to build out your portfolio, take the time to become more experienced and efficient. Review your work frequently, identify areas for improvement, and make continuous effort to increase your skills. Ultimately, you want to have a portfolio that is as strong as possible so that you can continue to grow your career and establish yourself as an authority in your field. And, don’t be afraid to go above and beyond to get those precious few words in there.