As a copywriter you need an online portfolio. But, if you put your work up on Behance, do you still need your own site, too?
Short answer? Yes.
Longer answer? Yes, yes, yes.
Keep Prospective Clients Focused on Your Work
With so many great sites out there dedicated to hosting your online portfolio, you might be asking yourself why I’m so adamant about you creating your very own site.
If you’re not familiar with it, Behance (and other sites like it, such as the less-used Creative Hotlist) are sites that host many people’s portfolios. They usually give you the ability to upload your pieces within their prescribed template and a place to write a bio about yourself.
They host many people’s portfolios and offer employers and clients a way to search for talent and then contact the candidates they like. You can certainly get business from Behance. And you can absolutely put your samples and bio up on these sites if you want to.
Now, for the downside of these sites, all we have to do is go back to the last paragraph’s first sentence: These sites offer people a way to search for other talent. And that means that if you provide your client with “www.creativehotlist.com/[YourName]” as your portfolio site, they can go there to check out your work—and then search through the listings for other writers.
Now, I’m not saying that every potential employer will do this. But look at it this way: If you needed to hire a plumber and your plumber gave you a link to a site that listed him but also many, many other plumbers, wouldn’t you at least look around?
All I’m saying is that you don’t want to give people the opportunity to be distracted by other writers when what you really want them to do is go through your pieces and read your bio. You want to keep them single-mindedly focused on you.
When you send them a link to Behance, they have the opportunity (whether they take it or not) to then also search other writers. But when you send them a link to your website at your dedicated URL, the only thing they’ll be focused on is you, your talent and deciding whether or not you might be a good fit for their needs in.
Stay in Control of Your Client Outreach
When you send prospective clients to your own, personal portfolio site, you control the interaction much more so than when you send them to a portfolio listing site.
Behance isn’t like Upwork. On Behance, clients can reach out to you about potential projects, but you still have the ability to turn that work down and talk through rates. On Upwork, clients propose the projects and any number of creatives can submit proposals for the work. That means you’re spending tons of time on proposals that may not be selected (which is often the case since clients on Upwork want the best work for the cheapest rate). It’s a race to the bottom.
But on any of these sites—Behance or Upwork (and others like them)—you’re still putting control of your career in other hands. The best way to avoid freelance dry spells and control your income is to control your client outreach. And the best way to do that? Value-based pitching.
Should you go ahead and set up a listing on a site like Behance? Absolutely. But you also need to set up your own portfolio website. And that URL is the one you need to be sending out to potential employers and including on your resume/selected credits resume.
On Episode 22 of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, Nicki and Kate dig further into why copywriters need an online portfolio. Learn what most online copywriting portfolios are missing, plus what you should keep off your online portfolios and how you can make your portfolio stand out.
Your turn! Do you have a standalone portfolio site or a page on a portfolio listing site? Or both? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on March 28, 2023
Gary Cunnane says
I do have stand alone online profile. It has not only helped to show my work and reinforce my credibility, but it also weeds out a lot of parties who are running those spurious “make money from home writing” sites. Once they see you are an experienced professional they will usually move on to someone else. Also you do not need to put all of your personal information on there as with a resume. Very often the person running an ad for writers is really interested in collecting information. I will never send a resume out blindly but the more people who go to my site, the better. I also believe that allowing ads on a portfolio site is not professional except for ones own ebook or something else relevant to their work or cause. I recently saw a portfolio site with a Life Lock affiliate ad and a few others. It appeared as if the writers primary objective was making sales.
These are very good points; everyone should be careful about putting personal information on their sites. And I agree—ads on someone’s portfolio site are a big mistake. No copywriter should ever be trying to distract from their samples with ads! (Or with anything, for that matter.) Talk about missing the point. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
Alyssa gibbs says
I do not have one, but I’m wondering how to go about making one.
Check out this post—it lists a bunch of sites that can help you build your own portfolio site (without needing to have graphic design or web development skills): http://filthyrichwriter.com/5-sites-for-online-portfolios/
Let me know if it helps. And thanks for commenting!
Richa Upadhyay says
Thanks Nicky for putting these links. I already own one site but it’s not good enough so I thought about to moving on Behance. but with these sites I can recreate my own portfolio site. Thank You!
Nicki Krawczyk says
I’m glad you enjoyed the post! And I’d definitely recommend creating your own site—once you get people there, you want them to look around and explore everything you’ve done, not look around and find other copywriters the way they can on portfolio listing sites like Behance. 🙂 Keep me posted and let me know how the site building goes…
Thanks for commenting!