Table of Contents Hide
- #1. Round up your experiences and skills
- #2. Offer Free Services
- #3. Reach out to friends
- #4. Respond to Job Applications with a Personalized Sample.
- #5. Show your mental process
- #6. Visual Appeal
- #7. Take a Course
- #8. Customize your portfolio
- #9. Keep it simple
- #10. Be honest about where you are at
- Your Copywriting Portfolio is ready
When you’re starting out as a copywriter, it can be difficult to get clients. Because your empty copywriting portfolio screams “I HAVE NO COPYWRITING EXPERIENCE, DON’T HIRE ME!!!!”
And this can hinder your growth as a copywriter because oftentimes, clients would want to see results of what you’ve written before they can trust you to handle their projects.
More so, you’ve heard that copywriting is a lucrative business, and you want to get into the boat of people earning lots of money from copywriting.
This is true. However, what you were not told is that the ticket to that boat is having a copywriting portfolio.
One that you will get as you read through this article.
So, if you intend to set up a six-figure copywriting business, here’s how you can build a portfolio with little or no experience.
#1. Round up your experiences and skills
Yes, this is most likely the first step to building your copywriting portfolio. A lot of people tend to underestimate the experience they’ve already gotten from books and several other mediums.
However, what you don’t understand is that copywriting is not just writing. In fact, there’s a lot that happens before you get to the main writing of the copy.
60% of the work is in researching, ideating, conceptualizing, and strategizing before it gets down to the pen and paper (which is my absolute favorite) or the keyboard.
If you don’t have any actual copywriting experience, then you must have learnt or heard something while reading a book or listening to a podcast.
More so, if you’ve ever written an academic research work, contributed to a newspaper or online publication, or, if you’ve written memos or briefs or presentation decks, then they are all related skills that aid in copywriting.
Carry all the skills you have to build your copywriting portfolio.
#2. Offer Free Services
There’s a saying that goes, “If the mountain wouldn’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will go to the mountain.” This simply means, don’t wait for clients to find you. In fact, you have fewer chances of that happening, considering you are just starting out.
A better alternative should be to willingly offer free services to these clients, and show them what you can do.
Of course, no body wants to work for free, but if you want to build your copywriting portfolio,then you have to offer some free services.
Here’s a tip: Surf the internet for websites with terrible copy, send them a message showing what they’re missing out on due to their terrible copy (don’t say terrible, be nice), and offer your services as the solution to the problem.
Don’t forget to highlight that you are willing to offer your services for FREE. They may object, because who writes a copy for free?! It’s left to you to convince them, and promise that you’ll deliver a satisfactory result.
#3. Reach out to friends
What are friends for? In times like this when you want to build your copywriting portfolio, one of the things to do is to reach out to your friends. There’s a very high chance that you’d find someone that is in need of your services.
It could be a simple task for a high-turnover commercial company, or a simple market stall on a Sunday. It could even be your best friend, or it could be a tenuous link of a friend of a friend of a friend.
Either way, offer to help them write better copy, and for FREE, or else they insist on paying you.
Look at their business and its marketing set-up and consider what copy they regularly need, then put the proverbial pen to paper.
Write a brochure for them, some website copy, a press release, or whatever you feel would best showcase your talent and impress potential clients.
Look at it that you are doing them a favor, while building your copywriting portfolio. Who knows? If they love it, you may just end up becoming their lead copywriter. And if they don’t, the most important thing is that you’ve written copy for a full-fledged company.
Another benefit to this is that, you may get a few referrals.
RELATED ARTICLE: 10 Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid in 2021
#4. Respond to Job Applications with a Personalized Sample.
Usually, when companies post job ads, their email inbox gets filled for weeks with thousands of applications.
And guess what?
Most of these applications look exactly alike. In fact, you’d almost think it was sent by one person with thousands of different names.
So, you have to find a way to stand out. But the big question now is, “how do you do that when everyone else is more experienced?”
Well, one way to stand out is by including a short ad sample geared to their unique needs and industry.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean writing them a whole page or an entire email series. You can entice them with just the right length to show that you are fit for the job.
For example, Let’s assume you are applying to a real estate brand who needs a copy for their Facebook ad campaigns. Browse their site and Facebook page to understand their voice. Then, craft an on-brand, extremely relevant sample.
More so, advertisements are usually short, so focus and create that first, attention-grabbing sentence.
If you think because you are new you can’t do anything, then think again. Is that really an issue in this time and age, when there’s Google?
Just do a quick search on top Facebook ads for the industry you’re writing for, and use those as an inspiration to write up a quick teaser to include in your application.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to be an expert copywriter to get the gig. When applying, aim to be the one applicant that stops them from scrolling to others. You’ll have plenty of time to research what you can and can not do later.
#5. Show your mental process
Relax, let me explain. As a copywriter, the process you go through to create a powerful copy is hidden from the world.
In fact, it’s just the results that everyone sees. Those late night tappings on your fourth cup of coffee and eye bags remain your secret and story to tell.
Which is exactly how it should be. However, what you should tell your clients is why you approached a project in a certain way.
Most clients need to understand how you think. It’s an insight into your analytical mind, and the journey you go through to create such mind blowing concepts.
Contrary to popular clients belief, the words don’t just fall out of your head to the paper. It takes lots and lots of restlessness, thinking, researching, studying, etc. And your clients need to understand this.
More so, back up each sample of work in your portfolio with a rationale. Here’s an example from Creative Copywriter
The Job:Company X needed a conceptual ad campaign that would be rolled out across their global brand.
The Challenge:The copy needed to be dynamic and powerful, yet able to be translated into 7 other languages. I was tasked to create ad copy that would work across multiple platforms and capture the attention of customers from varied backgrounds and cultures.
The Strategy:I created concise, but powerful conceptual ad copy that steered clear of individualised cultural references and terminology. I focused on weaving a storyline for customers to follow that drew them into the concept and emotionally connected with the product.
The Results: Since the rollout of the campaign, the sales leads have increased by 12% with a 35% rise in online engagement.
#6. Visual Appeal
Imagine if you receive an email from someone, sending you a portfolio of just texts. Urggh..It already looks bland.
The best option here is to showcase your work on a beautifully designed template. You can’t expect a client to comprehend the power of a website copy from a word document. They need to see proof.
Another option is to showcase it on your website. But, if that’s still a long-term plan, then stick with designing.
#7. Take a Course
If you’ve learned copywriting well, and feel like there’s still something missing, then consider taking another copywriting course. By doing so, you’d get to learn in a matter of days or weeks what took them years to master.
The thing about copywriting is that the foundations are constantly shifting, with new technologies and platforms changing the game everyday.
In addition, copywriting has it’s own rules, techniques, and tricks. So, if you must be a master at it, and have a solid portfolio, then you must learn these skills and master them.
Enroll in a copywriting course. Most courses will take you through the several phases of copywriting, and in many cases, you’d write a sample, and the teacher will critique it with you until you’ve nailed it.
The best part is, these samples/examples you’d write can be added to your copywriting portfolio and showcased to future clients.
#8. Customize your portfolio
Customizing your copywriting portfolio is another step to landing your first client. Once you have some samples and writing materials, personalize your portfolio for the client you are sending it to.
Don’t just have one portfolio and send it out to all your clients. In fact, getting clients is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach.
Every client is distinct to the industry in which it operates. You must curate content such that it is relevant to the industry and company you hope to have a relationship with.
Include a cover letter that shares why you’re excited about their brand, and what’s unique about your offer.
Share why you chose to display the pieces in your portfolio and include some highlights or lessons you’ve learned from the experience.
RELATED ARTICLE: Difference Between Copywriting And Content Writing: Types & Scenario
#9. Keep it simple
Nobody wants to wonder about what you mean by the words you used, or which part is the beginning, or end of your document, or any likewise crap. Just keep it clean and simple.
Send your portfolio in a format that’s easy to access, open, or download. Don’t send a confusing folder that’s not organized properly, or is hard to understand, and navigate. Don’t even send an email with lots of attachments.
If you’d use Google drive to share documents, (which I highly recommend) then make sure you give access. Don’t have your clients requesting for access.
In general, just keep it simple. Simple always does it.
#10. Be honest about where you are at
Rounding up the steps to build a good copywriting platform is this. Don’t ruin your chances by lying about your experience level. Often times, a lot of clients are looking for green writers. Don’t embellish or amplify your abilities especially if you are just starting out.
Instead, stay right within your reach. Offer your services based on what you can do., while you study to grow and be better.
Fresh writers often have the potential to grow with their company, and shape their writing to fit the brand voice.
So, keep it simple.
Your Copywriting Portfolio is ready
Yeap! It is. Well, it’s one step away from from being nonexistent as it was before you read this post.
Building a copywriting portfolio isn’t as hard as it may seem. So long as you have gotten a hang of what copywriting is all about, there’s a high chance you’d find it easy.
I hope these processes helps you build your copywriting portfolio.
All the best!
Want to earn your first cash as a copywriter, with or without a solid copywriting portfolio? Join Writer’sGig today! There are lots of clients, waiting to hire fresh writer’s like you.