Every copywriter needs a standalone portfolio site.
There’s no way around it.
And while we give you all the steps and support you need in the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy to create your site, we thought it would be helpful to see some examples of stellar copywriting portfolios.
CCA students have created some incredible portfolios over the years (we’ve reviewed hundreds over nearly 10 years of coaching calls!). We chose three that stuck with us for different reasons.
Check them out for inspiration, but please do not feel your portfolio has to look like these (or lift copy verbatim, which should go without saying). As you’ll see, they’re all very unique and reflect the individual, which makes them far more powerful than if they looked and sounded like everyone else.
Vibe Copy – James Schlesinger
Designed with Wix
What We Love About It
The voice. Throughout James’s website, he’s managed to stay focused on the benefit to his clients while integrating his own voice. Your website is the one place where you can write in your voice and not your client’s, so it’s a great opportunity to let your personality shine.
Sometimes copywriters feel like they need to use words that they think their clients want to see (hello buzzwords like leverage, learnings, and thought leadership). But trying to be everything to everyone can very quickly make your portfolio feel less cohesive. The solution? Write yourself a tone guide!
If you’re not sure what your voice is or what you want to sound like, spend some time coming up with your own brand voice guidelines first and then put pen to paper (or fingers to keys).
James manages to seamlessly weave his voice throughout his site, matching it to his messaging. His subhead, for example, says, “…captures your brand’s unique personality.” And then he goes on to show how he can do that.
Don’t miss James’s About page where you can meet the Vibe team.
What James Found Most Challenging
“I knew that I wanted to focus my site on my biggest strength, which is my creativity and playfulness. In the CCA, we’re taught to create a USP that focuses on how our past experience makes us good at copywriting. And it’s a really powerful tool. However, I discovered (through a lot of terrible drafts) that they generally work best when they focus on something tangible. For example, my experience doing [X] taught me this transferrable skill, which makes me a good copywriter.
But what about when your real strength—your ‘Superpower’—Is something a little more abstract? Something that can’t really be learnt, like creativity? I could tell you that I’m a creative, out-of-the-box thinker, but what does that really mean? Anyone could say that about themselves. I could tell you that I can communicate with earthworms, but unless you see that in action it’s kind of meaningless. It’s that old adage: Show, don’t tell.
So, I made sure that every page was packed full of creativity and playfulness in both the writing and design. In the end, I kind of have two USPs. One that I tell you about, and another, more powerful one, that’s infused throughout the site—my ‘Superpower.’ (Just to be clear I can’t talk to earthworms and have no delusions of being a superhero. My underpants remain firmly beneath my
The Copy Canary – Adele Costa
Designed with Squarespace
What We Love About It
The clear organization. If you’re a client interested in working with Adele, you know exactly where to find the information you need. Her navigation is clear and on each page she focuses on one topic.
For example, her process section focuses on just that—her process. It’s all too tempting to pack in a ton of info every time you create a new page, but the information you include on your site should be intentional and concise.
Other elements we love include her free copy assessment (what better way to show clients how awesome she is to work with?) and her subtle incorporation of a theme. You’ll notice the canary element peppered throughout, but it never takes focus away from the benefit-driven copy.
And, while you certainly don’t need a services section (more on why here), if you’re going to include one, take a page from Adele’s playbook: focus on the transformation your client will receive. The services section often trips up new copywriters who feel like they need to educate their clients. But if your client is on your site, they’re likely interested in your services and need to know what you can provide to them.
What Adele Found Most Challenging
“By far the most challenging part of creating (and re-creating, and editing…) my portfolio is letting go of this idea that perfection is the goal. Perfection doesn’t exist. If you wait until you have a ‘perfect’ work product, you’ll be waiting forever.
Before putting something up on my site, I ask myself, ‘Is this representative of my very best work? Did I put 110% into this piece? Does this show me in the best possible light and align with my brand values?’ If the answer to these questions are ‘yes,’ it goes up.”
Stuart Writes Copy – Stuart Tarn
Designed with Squarespace
What We Love About It
The portfolio. Stuart’s portfolio makes it really easy for clients to explore his work. First, the content is organized by medium, making it easy to find what you’re looking for (note: you may also opt to organize work by industry).
If Stuart ever decides to include content samples on his portfolio, it will be really easy for him to include it in its own section.
When you click on Stuart’s individual portfolio pieces, he’s made sure you can click images to see the full size so you can read the copy (that’s what the clients will care about after all!). Below each piece, his write-up makes it clear what the project was and who it was for, as well as walking through his approach to writing the copy. This allows prospective clients to not only see his finished product, but to get a sense of his process.
He’s included testimonials with relevant pieces, too, as an added proof point.
What Stuart Found Most Challenging
“The biggest learning curve for my portfolio was to get my head around the purpose it serves. No potential client is going to look at a portfolio piece and think, ‘That’s exactly what I need! Stuart, write THAT for me!’ Rather, they’re looking to see that you’ve created work for actual clients before (so they’re not risking their money on someone with no track record) and that you might be able to help their business achieve similar results.
As a writer, presenting a PDF nor screenshot of a project with no further information is unforgivable! You must put at least a few lines together, talking through your creative process and the problem your client hired you to solve.
Once you’ve delivered your copy, received your fee, and mentally tied up the project, the motivation to take this extra step can be tricky to muster, but it’s crucial to keep your portfolio continually improving.”
Your turn! What copywriting portfolios have you recently seen that you love and why? Share your favorites in the comments below!
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Last Updated on June 17, 2021 by Kate Sitarz