As you know (at least partially because I say it again and again) it’s crucial to have an online copywriting portfolio. You need a place to send potential employers and clients before they meet you to prove how good you are at what you do.
Your portfolio site has two main jobs: 1) to display your work and prove that you’re good at what you do, and 2) to set you apart from your competition.
For the most part, whenever you’re applying for a job, you’re going to be up against at least a couple of other copywriting candidates. And even if you’re pitching clients, you want to make sure you stand out from any other copywriters they may be considering.
But even if you have the very best ads on your portfolio site, there are still a few things you can do to make your site more interesting and compelling—almost instantly.
Today, we’re going to focus on setting yourself apart from your competition. If you’re new to copywriting, keep these points in mind as you work on your portfolio. If you’ve had your portfolio site up for a bit now, take some time to give it a refresh.
Then, schedule time on your calendar to update it again. If you don’t have time to do it quarterly, consider biannually. This will make it much easier to sift through samples and determine what you want to show on your site versus waiting until the end of the year when you have 12 months worth of work to go through!
1. Post a new picture of yourself.
I know, your portfolio isn’t a dating profile. But, at the same time, you’ll just naturally make people more comfortable by showing them the copywriter behind the site.
You don’t need a professional photo (unless you specialize in a very conservative field like law or finance, and even then…). Your picture should show a bit of your personality and make you look friendly. It should make you look like the kind of person people want to work with.
That, said, though, you probably don’t want pictures that, say, you wouldn’t be proud for your mother to display. Swimsuit shots, duckface selfies or pictures of you with empty bottles of tequila are probably not the direction you want to go. Think “interesting,” “friendly,” and “fun.”
2. Make your bio interesting.
Your bio needs to focus on your USP, but it doesn’t have to sound like your typical resume or cover letter. Remember, your bio should sell you just as much as anything else on your site. If you want people to think you can write compelling copy for their products, you need to show them that you can write compelling copy for yourself!
Show your personality in your bio. If you’re silly, you can add a little bit of silly copy. If you’re irreverent, add a touch of irreverence. Don’t let your personality overwhelm your bio—your USP still has to be the focus—but, also, don’t be afraid to show people who you are.
If you haven’t updated your USP or bio in awhile, now is the ideal time to give them both a refresh. We grow and change with each experience, and you want your bio and USP to reflect where you are now—not where you were years ago.
3. Delete any non-copywriting work.
I know, you’re proud of your novel in progress, but you need to take down the section with your latest chapters. And your band is awesome and deserves its own site, not a sub-section on yours.
Here’s the thing: The focus of your copywriting portfolio site needs to be your copywriting. Having anything else up there prominently displayed is a problem for a couple of different reasons. First, it conveys that you don’t know how to edit out the important stuff from the not-as-important stuff.
Second, it may suggest that you’re not serious about copywriting. That is, it suggests that you do copywriting work but your real love is something else. And that may very well be true, but you certainly don’t want a potential employer to know that!
4. Curate the pieces you’re showing.
While you’re deleting any non-copywriting work, now is the perfect time to go through your copywriting samples and make sure your samples reflect your best of the best work.
Your portfolio shouldn’t contain every sample of writing you’ve ever done. You need to think of yourself like a curator in a museum. Each piece needs to have a reason for being in your portfolio. Have 20 emails you’ve written? Pick your favorite two or three that represent different tones or industries, for example. You can let prospective clients know these are just a sampling of your pieces.
Have content samples you really want to show? Make sure they’re in a separate area of your portfolio site clearly labeled content. You want prospective clients to know that you know the difference between copywriting and content writing.
5. Refresh your write-ups.
If you don’t already have descriptions about each of your portfolio pieces, it’s time to write them. You want to make sure anyone looking at your portfolio knows what each piece is, the client it was for, the intended goal, and how you met that goal (and any results, if you have them).
Don’t leave prospective clients or employers to guess at the intent behind each piece.
If you haven’t read over your write-ups in awhile, read them out loud. Is there anything you can rewrite? Any pieces you now have results for? Or, if you’re being honest, any pieces you really need to revisit from step 4 and remove entirely?
Well, there you have it—near-instant upgrades for your portfolio. Sooo…what are you waiting for? Get to it! 🙂
Your turn! What have you added (or removed!) to improve your portfolio site? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on December 20, 2021 by Kate Sitarz