Whether you're marketing yourself as a freelance copywriter or you're trying to land a full-time job at an advertising agency, publishing samples of your copywriting online helps prospective employers and clients learn more about you instantly. Here's why you shouldn't hesitate to put some examples of your best copywriting in an online portfolio.
Think of your portfolio as a personal ad campaign for yourself. You're showcasing your copywriting skills through your work. You can select the best work you've done in a variety of mediums and use those pieces to sell yourself to clients or employers. If you have a track record of impressive clients, then don't be afraid to flaunt it.
Done well, your online portfolio can stand on its own and represent the scope and range of what you can do.
Many digital tools and platforms exist to help you create an online portfolio. Some products that are geared toward writers include Carbonmade, Pressfolios, and Journo Portfolio. You can also use website builders such as Squarespace, Wordpress, Weebly, or Wix. And if you want to build a simple, free online portfolio, you can even use Google Docs.
Let's say a client or creative director visits the websites of two copywriters they're considering hiring. If one copywriter has an online portfolio and the other doesn't, which of them is the client or creative director more likely to call?
A potential client or employer may take the time to request some samples of your work. But why make them ask? If you don't want to put yourself at a disadvantage in relation to other copywriters, then it's wise to put your work online.
An effective online copywriting portfolio should be free of typos and other errors. It's wise to have at least one other person—ideally a professional proofreader or editor—take a look at your work before you publish it online.
Getting More Exposure
If you put your portfolio online and follow some search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, then more people will be likely to see your work—including possible clients and hiring managers.
Putting the right keywords in your portfolio is one way to help its SEO. Keywords are words or short phrases that can potentially direct people to your website if they type them into a search engine. Your main header should have these keywords, and they should appear naturally throughout your portfolio.
There are many free online tools that can help you choose and analyze keywords, including Google Trends, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, and KWFinder.
Try to be as specific as possible when choosing your portfolio's keywords, and be sure to consider your niches (or where you'd like to work). For example, if much of your work has been for wellness companies, or you'd like to work for one, you might use "wellness copywriter" instead of "freelance copywriter." And don't be afraid to get too specific ("herbal supplement copywriter" or "yoga copywriter," for example).
Strategically linking to other pages within your portfolio, as well as outside sources, can also help improve your SEO.
There's a lot more to SEO than links and keywords, and SEO best practices are often changing. You can stay informed by visiting free online sources such as The Moz Blog, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Journal.
Demonstrating Your Professionalism
Anyone can wake up and decide today's the day they want to become a copywriter. But having a high-quality website with impressive examples of work will demonstrate that you're a professional and will set you apart from the less experienced and the wannabes.
Creating a top-notch online presence shows you take yourself seriously and suggests that other people in the industry should do so as well. If you can't be bothered to do that, then clients and employers may not be inspired to request your services.
You can create on online portfolio even if you've never had a copywriting gig and don't have any professional clips to put in it. You can include clips from any school projects or internships, and you can even create samples that showcase your work. The idea is to get your writing style and abilities across to your potential employers. If your samples are good enough, then they may not care whether they were ever published in an actual campaign.
Offering Easy Access to Your Work
Without an online portfolio, you might never have the opportunity to show your copywriting skills to people outside of your immediate geographical area. With an online portfolio, even remote gigs could be yours—without having to email lots of files or show up in person.
The online portfolio gives would-be clients and bosses a great idea of what you're capable of without them having to invest much time or energy. When they like what they see on the web, they'll be eager to see you—and your paper portfolio—in person.
Your online portfolio won't necessarily replace a paper portfolio you'll bring to in-person interviews. Think of the online portfolio as an extension of the hard copy portfolio, which should also be up-to-date and ready to go for any opportunity that arises. And you don't have to completely duplicate the paper portfolio online. You can save some of your favorite copy for when you're face-to-face with a potential client or employer.