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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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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examples of good copywriting

4 examples of ridiculously good copywriting

While some people may think copywriting is simply a matter of jotting a few words down any old way and hoping for the best, nothing could be further from the truth.

Copywriting is both an art and a skill, and it takes a lot of practice to get it just right. There are well over 100,000 words in the English language, so selecting the most appropriate ones for the client’s specific situation is without a doubt a huge task!

Some of the best advertising campaigns in the world, both past and present, have taken off purely because they’ve been fuelled by excellent copywriting designed to both motivate and influence. In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the finest portfolios in the industry and take a look at four shining examples of good copywriting.

Innocent

When it comes to juices and smoothies, no brand has managed to capture the hearts and minds of British consumers quite as well as Innocent has. While that’s of course partly down to their tasty drinks, it’s also a consequence of the marketing techniques they employ – and, in particular, their excellent copywriters.

Just take a look at their page promoting the “magnificent mango” drink.

Examples of good copywriting

By being self-aware rather than sticking to the classic sales patter you find on most company websites, they immediately remind the reader that this is a friendly, honest brand – and subtly reinforce the idea that they’re different from all those other smoothie companies out there.

“Mangoes and passion fruits is one of our top three selling recipes ever,” they candidly write. “You’d probably think it was OK, and that we should leave it alone. But the good stuff needs improving too, or else it’ll end up being a bit ordinary. So we’ve made this recipe better by adding a little bit of peach to the recipe too.”

And the whole paragraph is rounded off with a nice little direct-to-reader nugget at the end: “We hope you enjoy the renovations.”

As you can see, Innocent is definitely one of the top firms out there when it comes to persuading people to buy. For a copywriting masterclass, you need look no further than the cold drinks aisle of your local supermarket!

Jack Daniel’s

You can be the finest wordsmith in the world, but if you don’t know anything about how the words you’re writing relate to the context in which they’ll appear, your efforts might go to waste.

That’s certainly the ethos motivating the copywriters who work at Jack Daniel’s, the American whisky brand whose posters are famous for captivating commuters who stand on the London Underground’s platforms waiting for their trains.

While it may seem like the golden rule of poster-based advertising is to avoid layouts which make the words – rather than the images – the dominant ones, the copywriters at Jack Daniel’s devote most of the image to gripping, long-form stories about the history of the brand.

The reason this kind of copy works so well is because, in that highly specific situation, people have the time and energy to read blocks of text. Most commuters have nothing else to do but look at the adverts, so in that context they are willing to do it.

In a context where they had somewhere to be quickly or had something else to do while they were stood still, they’d most likely ignore it. But by getting inside the heads of the readers and finding out when they would and wouldn’t be happy to read, Jack Daniel’s has struck gold.

Cards Against Humanity

If you’ve never come across this controversial card game before, it won’t be long until you do. Involving a set of funny, near-the-knuckle and often slightly offensive cards with messages ranging from jokes about public figures to humorous innuendos and slurs, it’s growing in popularity.

Based out of Chicago, the team behind Cards Against Humanity know full well that their brand is irreverent, satirical and even a bit offensive – and they love it. That’s why their frequently asked questions (FAQ) section is full of jibes at the customer.

examples of good copywriting

The question “If I email you, will I get a different answer to these questions?”, for example, gets a terse ‘No. We’ll probably send you a polite response, but we’ll also laugh at you and say, “Didn’t they read the FAQ?”‘ in reply!

They know that by being nasty to the reader in their FAQs, they’re not going to turn customers away – in fact, because the customer is looking to be ribbed, they’re going to boost their sales.

The success of Cards Against Humanity’s FAQ copywriting can’t be seen in a vacuum. Not every brand can tease their customers mercilessly, but every brand can take a leaf out of Cards Against Humanity’s book by analysing their product and working out from there what their brand’s voice should be.

Stand Up To Cancer

Top-notch copywriting isn’t just the exclusive preserve of businesses, either. Many charity copywriters are very savvy about the words they use to motivate potential supporters and donors, and the national Stand Up To Cancer campaign is a prime example.

By playing on the words of a well-known film’s title, this short and snappy piece of copywriting shows that it’s the effect and connotations of the words used – not the quantity of them – that truly matters.

But what also works well with this piece of copywriting is the set of subheadings underneath. By using the age-old power of three trick and employing powerful verbs to call the reader to action, even those who only spend a few seconds reading the advert are left impacted.

Got any other suggestions for examples of good copywriting? Why not leave us a comment below…

 

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How to create winning copywriting samples

How to create winning copywriting samples

When starting out as a copywriter, getting enough copywriting samples together to make a portfolio can seem like a mammoth task.

It’s now that the jobhunter’s age-old dilemma comes into play: you need samples and experience to get the job, but you need the job before you get samples and experience!

But luckily, there are plenty of things you can do in order to get that all-important copywriting sample under your belt and start your journey towards working for yourself as a writer. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our top tips for acquiring copywriter samples and building out your portfolio until it looks tip top.

Work for free – at first

When you’re trying to build a business as a copywriter and earn your own way through self-employment, it may seem counter-intuitive to make the conscious decision to work without payment.

How to create winning copywriting samples

But sometimes it’s got to be done, and when done properly it can act as a great way to build your portfolio and pad out your offer to those with the cash available to pay high rates.

Often, leading websites will have so many applicants and writers that there simply isn’t enough money to pay them all. This means that when you appear offering to write a piece for free, you’re likely to be able to jump the queue and secure that all-important byline.

The key thing to do here is to keep your free work in check. You should only accept briefs with no payment very infrequently and with the express intention of getting a byline for your work and including it in your portfolio.

Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of working for nothing on a repeated basis: there should always be something in it for you!

Make the most of online tools

One great thing about being a copywriter in the digital age is that there is a wealth of tools out there designed to help you create excellent copywriting samples.

When it comes to writing for a client, it’s essential that you develop excellent spelling and grammar skills. Although the client’s main aim is always to get a conversion or raise awareness, it’s also vital that they look professional – and there are plenty of tools out there to assist with this.

For spelling, searching for words you’re not sure about in the Oxford English Dictionary is a good bet, while downloading extensions such as Grammarly can also help.

Once you’ve ensured that your copywriting sample is top notch in terms of spelling and grammar, you might also want to make sure that it follows a certain style guide. This is useful for ensuring that any specific usages you go for are used consistently: a common style guide followed by many copywriting agencies is that of The Guardian, so it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with this.

Here at Copify, we also have a few content creation checklists designed to help you along as you write that killer copywriting sample.

With a little bit of planning and a lot of double checking, your copywriting sample is bound to look great!

Get studying

When it comes to copywriting, some people think that anyone can do it. “All you have to do is slap a few sentences on a page, intersperse a few keywords and then hope for the best,” they may say.How to create winning copywriting samples

But as any seasoned copywriter will tell you, that’s far from the truth. Copywriting is both a skill and an art requiring very specific abilities, and that’s why copywriting samples are so important.

For example, the average visitor only reads around 20% of a web page’s content – so you need to ensure your writing is as appealing and concise as possible to get your message across.

And as the team over at Kissmetrics have pointed out, big brands like Apple often use soundbites or nuggets of information in their sales copy rather than long-winded paragraphs.

As a copywriter, you need to demonstrate specific skills such as these, as well as excellent grammar, persuasive vocabulary choices plus a flair for business and commerce. And if you can’t prove these abilities through your copywriting samples, you’ll struggle to get hired.

That’s why taking a course in copywriting is a good idea. It will give you the skills you need to craft that killer copywriter sample when you start pitching to agencies and businesses, and it will also mean you’ll be able to put yourself inside the head of the client much more easily.

Keep the client’s priorities front and centre

When clients order a piece from a copywriter, they often have a clear set of aims in mind.

Some may simply want to get sign-ups on their mailing list, while others are hoping to target new customers to purchase their products.

SHow to create winning copywriting sampleso when you write your first copywriting sample, it’s a good idea to get a very clear idea of what your client needs. That way, you’re more likely to get positive feedback you can include alongside the clipping!

And when you present your sample either in your written or online portfolio, you should list alongside it what the client’s priority was. For example, if you were crafting an email marketing piece designed to get conversions, you should make this clear.

Create some conceptual work to show off your skills

If you’re finding it really difficult to secure either paid or unpaid copywriting samples, you could also consider drafting an experimental brief for yourself in order to show off your skills.

The beauty of this idea is that you don’t have to have an actual client in place in order to demonstrate what you can do. All you need is a bit of creativity.

Before beginning, you should be clear in your mind what your particular strengths as a writer are. That way, you can mould your conceptual brief around what you’re good at. Just remember to make it clear that the piece was written as an experiment and not directly for a client.

 

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