how to create a copywriting portfolio

How to create a copywriting portfolio

Whether you’re starting out as a copywriter or have been in the business for a long time, you’ll know that keeping a list of your previous successes to help attract new clients is a major part of the business.

What’s harder to decide on is how to create, design and maintain that all-important copywriting portfolio. In this article, we’ll share some of our top tips on how to create a copywriting portfolio, so that you can showcase your copywriting skills in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Consider adjusting your rates at first

When it comes to building your portfolio, the hardest part is getting started. It’s a classic catch 22 situation: you want to fill your portfolio with examples of your work, but you can’t get work unless you have a full portfolio.

how to create a copywriting portfolio

One option is to be upfront with your potential clients and offer to work at a cheaper rate to keep you in the running for the job, even without a portfolio.

The key here is to ensure that you only do this until you have enough items in your portfolio to score jobs at the market rate, at which point it’s vital you raise your prices. Otherwise, you could lock yourself into low pay for a much longer time than you intended.

Settle on a number of pieces to include

There’s no right answer to the question of how many pieces you should include in your copywriting portfolio. Some people, like writer Eammon Azizi, say it’s a good idea to keep to just over ten.

He writes that 12 is the standard, but advises having 20 pieces that are worthy of inclusion in your portfolio, so that you can swap pieces around, depending on who your prospective client is.

This means that you should treat your portfolio as a living document, something to be adjusted or updated to appeal to whoever you’re talking to. Rather than having a static portfolio which you send to everyone, you should find a way to easily remove certain clippings and add others in as you go.

This is more difficult for a portfolio website, but you can always keep a longer list of clippings and mention anything relevant in your pitch, or while you discuss specifics with your potential new client.

Keep it relevant and up to date

You might find, as your career develops, that you want to specialise in a certain type of copywriting, such as financial or legal.

If this happens to you, there isn’t much point including lots of articles you’ve written about other niches when you’re trying to establish yourself as a specialist. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep your portfolio as relevant as possible – and that means having the confidence to prune irrelevant portfolio clippings whenever you have the chance.

Set aside some time once a month or so to do this task. Be disciplined with yourself about it: while it may seem like a job that can wait, it’s the sort of thing that must be done in order to get yourself and your brand in top shape for scoring new work.

Optimise it both for online and print

how to create a copywriting portfolio

While it’s definitely true that many copywriting contracts are sourced and completed just using the internet these days, there are still some jobs which are negotiated in person, even for freelancers.

For that reason, you should keep a couple of copies of a well-designed print portfolio in your bag, just in case you get chatting at a networking event. This is a surefire way to mark yourself out as a committed and professional freelancer, too!

If the majority of your clients come from the web, there’s no point investing too much time or cash in a print portfolio. But it’s always worth having one on hand, and it should look professional.

Get it professionally designed

If you’re really looking to impress potential new clients, it’s a good idea to invest in a professional design for your portfolio. Instead of simply throwing it together using a plain HTML page or an automatic portfolio builder, you can really stand out from the crowd by making your portfolio gorgeous, as well as indicative of professional success.

You can hire talented designers on sites like Upwork to do this for you, if you don’t have the skills yourself. If money or time is an issue, you don’t have to abandon your dreams of a beautiful portfolio altogether. Why not use a ready-made website builder to host your online portfolio, such as Squarespace?

With easy drag and drop functions to make building a slick and attractive website a breeze, you, too, can have your very own corner of the internet in just a few minutes.

Mix things up a little

As the writer John Mello has noted, it’s vital to get some diversity in your portfolio.how to create a copywriting portfolio

Even if you’ve specialised in a certain type of content, you still need to show that you can create a wide range of formats, as well. This means you should include some longer blogs and articles, as well as short pieces, and even catchphrases or slogans, if you’ve created them.

If you have experience with non-article based formats, such as sales pages or email copywriting, that’s even better. Remember, these formats work well across lots different varieties of industries, so, no matter what your specialism is, you’ll be able to show that you have a handle on the major types and structures of writing that clients want.

A diversity of formats can also help keep your portfolio crisp and easy to navigate. If you’ve written a particularly long article, for example, you might be left wondering whether you should cut it down for your portfolio. The best thing to do is to highlight a really good section and create a small excerpt for your portfolio, then provide a link to the piece in its entirety, so that your potential client can check it out if they want to.

 

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the best copywriting diploma courses

Which are the best copywriting diploma courses?

You may have asked yourself: what does it take to develop killer copywriting skills?

Put simply, it takes a lot of hard work and study! Becoming a brilliant copywriter is like learning any trade: put the work in, and you’ll reap the rewards.

What are the rewards of being a brilliant copywriter?

• Copywriters are well rewarded financially, and often earn six figures or more
• Freelance copywriters can enjoy flexible schedules and freedom
• It’s possible to use your skills to generate additional income streams on the side
• It’s a skill that can be used in any market
• You can work from anywhere

So, how can you learn to be a copywriter?

As with any skill, the best way to learn copywriting is to take instruction from a mentor. Someone who already knows the ins and outs of copywriting, and can teach you everything they know.

Fortunately, the web has made it easy to do this all from the comfort of your own home: with a copywriting diploma course, you’ll be able to study at your own pace, using the materials provided.

Here, we’re going to go through some of the best copywriting courses available online. We’d recommend studying any of them.

The IDM Award in Digital Copywriting

The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing are a well-respected and prestigious marketing body, and their stamp of approval will be recognised by almost all employers and clients.

As a result, their Award in Digital Copywriting is well worth a look. Though it’s more expensive than other qualifications on this list, the course is well worth looking at.

The certificate will require two days of face-to-face study in London, after which you’ll be given three weeks to complete an assessment.

The IDM Award is less remote, but if you’re able to get to London it’s worth the effort.

The Blackford Centre Diploma in Copywriting

The Blackford Centre are fully accredited by ABC, and their qualifications are the equivalent of a level 4 National Qualification Framework (NQF).

As such, a copywriting certificate from the Blackford Centre is highly respected.

Their course can be studied and completed at home, but isn’t just digital: you can also get a print version. It covers everything you need to know, from writing great copy to finding new clients and making more money.

All the assignments are marked by tutors and feedback supplied in order to help you improve, and the Blackford Centre has a lot of positive feedback from previous students. Well worth a look.

The Writers Bureau

Another UK-focused course, the Writers Bureau Complete Copywriter Course gives you everything you could need to make a go of being a copywriter.

Writers Bureau copywriting diploma

The value of this course is in the expert, personal tuition that comes straight from some of the UK’s best. You’ll be required to do multiple assignments as part of the course, and you’ll also be given guidance on how to sell your services.

One particular positive on this course is the five star ‘excellent’ review it’s received from TrustPilot, the independent review body. Trust Pilot reviews are legitimate, so you can be sure you’re starting a course that’s been enthusiastically reviewed by a huge number of previous students.

Reed.co.uk/College of Media and Publishing

Reed.co.uk are about as well known as job websites go, and they teamed up with the College of Media and Publishing to offer an excellent-value ABC Level 4 Diploma in copywriting.

In terms of level of qualification, this is the same as the Blackford Centre, but some people prefer it simply because of the prestigious businesses that have asked staff to take the course.

Previous clients include Disney, Intel, BT, Sony, Oxfam and even Arsenal Football Club, so you can be sure you’ll be in good company if you choose to enlist.

There are fourteen lessons within the course, with every area of copywriting covered from in-depth research right the way through to the codes of practice within the industry.

The AWAI Accelerated Program for Six-Future Copywriting

Though this isn’t a full ‘qualification’ as such, it’s hard to look past when it comes to learning copywriting.

The American Writers and Authors Institute (AWAI) have been providing training to copywriters for years, and have worked with some of the world’s most renowned copywriters, including:

• Dan Kennedy
• Bob Bly
• Clayton Makepeace

And a whole host of others. Some of their successful students now earn hundreds of thousands of dollars from their work.

(You’ll notice we said dollars, there. The AWAI are – obviously – American. However, you can do the course remotely from the UK, and the lessons you’ll learn will apply almost anywhere.)

Andy Maslen’s Breakthrough Copywriting

In terms of copywriting in the UK, Andy Maslen is about as knowledgeable as it gets. If you want to learn more about the great craft of copy, his Breakthrough Copywriting course is an absolute bargain at just over £100.

If the idea of learning from an American company puts you off, Andy’s definitely your man. His course will take you from knowing nothing about copy to having everything you need to succeed.

His lessons are all done through high-quality video, which a lot of people will find more engaging than simply reading.Andy Maslen - copywriting diploma

Andy’s also very good at being concise and teaching things quickly: you won’t need to spend hours and hours on the course to learn what you need to learn. As long as you take notes and focus, half an hour a night for a week or two will be enough to seriously increase your copywriting knowledge.

Remember, the key factor when learning is to ensure your copywriter is the real deal, and Andy certainly is.

He also throws in some useful extra bonuses as well as a full 300-page course manual, ideal for anyone who wants to further read up when they’re away from their computer.

Extra reading

As well as the courses and diplomas we’ve mentioned above, there is a host of great books out there that’ll teach you a lot about becoming a copywriter.

If you just want to dip your toe in the water, we’d definitely recommend picking up any of the following books:

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert (Bob) W. Bly
Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso
The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halpert

 

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Image credits: Writer’s BureauAndy Maslen’s Copywriting Academy

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how to get paid for blogging - Copify

How can you get paid for blogging?

You’ve seen it in newspapers, you’ve read about it on social media, and you may even know someone who does it. But exactly how can you get paid for blogging, and is it worth it?

The short answer is – yes, it’s definitely worth it! Providing you enjoy writing and have a strong work ethic, there’s no reason why you too can’t launch your own blog and make a bit of cash while doing something you enjoy.

One study found that fashion bloggers earn a four-figure sum every year on average, while some blogs have been so wildly successful they’ve gone on to be sold to larger companies for millions of pounds.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the major ways you too can become a professional blogger and make money in the process.

Take the plunge and set up a blog

It might seem obvious, but in a lot of ways it’s the most difficult part of the process.

how can you get paid for blogging - CopifyFor many people, the main stumbling block to setting up a blog is a lack of confidence. But there are ways around this problem.

At first, you don’t have to tell anyone you know in real life that you’re blogging. While it may be comforting to have your friends, colleagues and family on side, and while doing that may provide an instant pool of engagement and enthusiastic sharing to boost your view count, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t use a pseudonym when you start out. Plenty of successful bloggers have done this, so there’s nothing to fear.

Secondly, blogging is largely a risk-free endeavour. Providing you steer clear of controversial topics, don’t quit your day job, and don’t pin all of your hopes on becoming the next Tim Ferriss, there’s no way it can really go wrong. You’ll never know until you try!

To get started, there are plenty of places you can go online to set up your very first blog. WordPress and Blogger are classic popular options, while newer sites like Medium are ideal for those planning to write long-form pieces.

Offer sponsored posts

If you’ve managed to set up your blog, congratulations. That’s the hardest part out of the way!

The second step for budding bloggers is to invest time and effort in growing your audience and becoming a respected voice in your niche.

The reason for doing this is that it’s difficult to become a paid blogger without having an audience which trusts you and reads your output religiously. Making money through blogging works a lot like traditional advertising: any publication can only make cash by selling space of some kind to those who want to reach that publication’s readers, and so you need to have some popularity.

Some bloggers place old-fashioned web adverts – such as banner adverts – on their sites to make money. Depending on what platform you use, you can often do this through systems like Google Adsense.

But the rise of adblockers mean this is more and more difficult to sustain. The main way bloggers make money now is through affiliate marketing (peppering links to products in their texts, and getting a cut if the reader buys) or sponsored posts (where a company or organisation will work with the blogger to produce a paid piece of content).how can you get paid for blogging - Copify

Often, the blogger will receive a free sample of a product or service related to their niche, and review it on their blog – flagging, of course, that they were paid to write the article.

You don’t necessarily need a large audience or a high volume of posts to find sponsored post opportunities. All you need is a committed audience.

For example, say Blogger A posts three times a week, has a total audience of 100,000, but only 1,000 of them read each post until the end. Blogger B, meanwhile, has a total audience of 5,000, and almost all of them read every word of the blogger’s single weekly post.

Blogger B is a more attractive choice for many advertisers because they know that their audience trusts the content provider deeply and will believe what they have to say. This, in turn, means the advertiser is likely to have more success with the product or service they decide to promote.

Blog for others

If the thought of setting up your own website and achieving wild success in the blogosphere all sounds like too much, that doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the blogging revolution.

Instead of going it alone, you can simply write blogs for other people. Many business leaders are savvy when it comes to commerce but often find that writing content for their sites isn’t something they have the time or energy to do.

For that reason, they’re happy to outsource the job to a strong writer with good business nous. Some bloggers, such as Carol Tice, even manage to blog both for others and for themselves!

There are plenty of options if you’re looking to get paid to blog on behalf of someone else. First of all, you can go all-in and launch your own full-service copywriting business, learn how to brand yourself, and pitch to big-name clients.

How can you get paid for bloggingTo do this, you’ll need to have a killer portfolio, ideally with some experience on it, and you’ll also need to practice your pitching skills.

Other options include working with content creation platforms such as Copify, where there’s a near-constant stream of jobs you can pick up at a time that suits you. Providing you’re an excellent writer and you can work to deadlines, this is a great way to get involved with copywriting.

Of course, one potential downside to ghostwriting is that you don’t always get the credit for your work, and a client’s name will often go on the top of the article instead of your own.

But if you’re in this business to earn a living and sustain yourself, it’s a fantastic way to bring in some cash while also working on other projects to get bylines. It’s a win-win situation!

 

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What does a digital copywriter do

What does a digital copywriter do?

When most people think about the term ‘copywriter’, they imagine someone in an ad agency who writes those long-form sales letters and eye-catching captions for online and print ads. And for some copywriters that’s true.

A digital copywriter might specialise in one form of copywriting, or work across several different types, but basically, what they do is write words that sell something, whether it’s a product or a service.

A digital copywriter differs from a digital content writer simply by the fact that copywriters write to sell, and content writers write to educate.

While they use many of the same skills as copywriters who write offline materials, such as printed brochures, posters, catalogues and leaflets, and while there may be some crossover in their job, digital copywriters concentrate only on online content, such as website landing page copy, blog and article writing, crafting compelling social media posts, and writing emails.

You might be a technical copywriter, a marketing copywriter, an advertising copywriter, a medical copywriter… What does a digital copywriter do 1There are so many options to choose from that, whatever your background and experience, chances are there’s a copywriting job that will suit you.

To illustrate the difference between content writing and copywriting, let’s look at the role of the technical copywriter:

Technical writers put together user guides and technical manuals for products, often writing manuals that engineers will use when maintaining or repairing an item.

Technical copywriters, on the other hand, have expertise in a particular technology, science or engineering field, but their copy is written to sell an item rather than to teach how to use it or repair it.

Their knowledge is needed to put across the highly technical benefits in a clear and appealing manner so that potential buyers understand why they should purchase.

So, what does a digital copywriter do all day?

While ‘write copy’ is correct, it’s not all a copywriter does.

Whether they are freelance or they work for a company, there are plenty of other things involved in a digital copywriting job.

a) Meeting clients

What does a digital copywriter do Agency writers have to meet and deal with the clients that come through the agency, while freelance writers often meet potential clients in order to persuade them to use their service.

Either way, there will be an initial meeting, either in person or via software such as Zoom, to establish what the client wants, their goals and aims for the copywriting project, who their target market is, their brand voice and how the project will move forward.

After that, especially if it’s a large project, there are likely to be further meetings to check progress, make adjustments, if necessary, and handle edits and give feedback.

b) Managing projects

Not every copywriter has the luxury of just writing all day. Some of them have to manage multiple projects, establish timelines, ensure they can meet deadlines, and allocate work to other writers or to other creatives, such as web designers or graphic designers.

A good proportion of a typical week can be allocated to planning.

c) Research

While copywriters often have a wide knowledge of many different subject areas, everyone has their favourites, and sometimes projects require that research is done before any writing can be put on the page.

Writers may need to look up statistics, research a particular subject more deeply, look up who the experts are in a particular area, or even learn how to use a new software or product before they can write about it.

d) Interviewing

A digital copywriter might need to leave the comfort of their office, and meet experts to interview for an article. They might want to get quotes from people who use a product or service, or do a detailed interview with a company CEO.

e) Editing

No writer produces a perfect first draft, no matter how experienced they are, so editing is a vital skill. Not only that, but sometimes clients haven’t given enough of a brief or they change their minds on what they want, and edits have to be made to get the right result.

f) Sourcing images

Clients often prefer the copywriter to find and supply the perfect images for their copy. With such a huge range of stock photo sites online, you’d think that would be easy, but if the client wants something very specific, looking for just the right shot can take time, and should be factored in when billing.

g) Planning and implementing marketing campaigns

What does a digital copywriter do 2

While this might not necessarily be what you’d expect to find in a digital copywriting job, some copywriters do offer a full service that includes running the whole marketing campaign.

h) Admin, accounts and the bits that aren’t creative

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not all sipping cappuccinos while throwing out sexy slogans and being creative. Even digital copywriters get to do admin tasks, such as organising work into files, billing, chasing invoices, dealing with clients, answering emails and other fun stuff that goes with working in an office.

What do digital copywriters write?

Whatever their clients need! Blog posts, case studies, advertorials, articles, ebooks, online magazine copy, social media content, email sequences and a whole lot more.

You can read more about the different types of copywriting in our article.

Skills needed:

Copywriters work across different industries, clients and subjects, so adaptability is a must. But what other skills might you need?

• Great writing skills (obviously!)
• Excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation skills
• The ability to adapt to different client tones of voice
• Organisational skills
• Time management
• People skills
• The ability to look at your own work from a distance and edit it
• The ability to work on more than one project at once
• Project management skills

While digital copywriting is a fun, varied and challenging job, you need to be able to keep a lot of balls in the air at once to do the job well, so one other thing to consider is that you do need to make time for yourself, and watch that you get your work/life balance right. An exhausted copywriter isn’t a creative one, and you’ll do yourself and your clients no favours by working yourself to the point of burnout.

If you think digital copywriting might be for you, it really can be a brilliant career, with the chance to manage your own time and your own projects, work with creative people and even work from home in your pyjamas, if you want to.

If you’d like to learn more, Red-Fern have a really useful article on improving as a digital copywriter and you can read our own guide on how to become a copywriter.

 

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