Experience is a pre-requisite for landing the big jobs, but how can you gain experience when you have no job? Almost every copywriter will tell you they did not get it easy with landing a job, because they had no portfolio. The first thing an employer would normally ask you to provide is a sample of your previous work - and the chance slips away if you have none. Even as an amateur copywriter, you need to make sure you get at least one chance to prove your worth. Preparing your portfolio is the key.
A portfolio is like a shop window where you display your talent. It is useful because potential employers hate wasting time and resources in hiring someone with no skill. When they can access your skills, it makes their job easier. It also makes it easier for you to drive their attention to the work you can do, saving you long explanations.
In a crowd of copywriting experts, your portfolio is a neon sign that will get you the attention of a potential client. Getting a portfolio when you are starting out as a copywriter is important, but getting it right is even more crucial. How can you do this without experience? This article will guide you to create that copywriting portfolio from scratch.
Tip #1: Get help from family and friends
If you have a family member or a friend with a business, you are lucky. You can leverage on their business to build your portfolio. Approach them and offer to help them with a press release, a newsletter, content for their website or whatever it is that needs to be written. You are doing them a favor, but doing yourself one too. The work you do for them becomes the much-needed sample you can send to a potential client. The best part of this deal is that you are honing your skills without going through the pressure of a paid copywriting job. You cannot afford not to give them your best - who knows, you may even get an honorarium.
If there isn't a family member or friend for whom you can write, then it can be a local business in your area. Offer them your services in exchange for a testimonial. The testimonial sells you to potential clients. It can also come from nonprofit organizations - there are many of them out there crying for help, because they lack the funds to hire a professional copywriter. All these projects form a strong foundation for your copywriting portfolio.
Tip #2: Create a blog or website
If you have a blog or website, you don’t need the permission of anyone to post content. Use this medium to showcase your best work, so you can easily direct potential employers there to see the samples of your work. Creating a website is easy but if you are not tech-savvy, you can use Weebly tools.
If you are not writing for your own website or blog, you can simply contribute to other websites. There are websites that love free contributions like Ezine and Isnare. Your contribution gets to be published by them and as appreciation, you will get an awesome byline. You can also find blogs who need contributors when you carry out a random search on the internet.
Tip #3: Take your samples to the clients
A military strategist once said that the best form of defense is to attack. If you have this mindset, you don’t need to wait for potential clients to discover you. You take your samples to them. There are several websites on the internet with poorly written pages. You can re-write the pages without being commissioned to do so. Do a great job that can hypnotize anyone, and you never know! You might be offered a position on the spot.
Equipped with your copy of their page, approach the company or mail it to them. Offer this sample as a bonus if they should hire you to re-write the other pages. Point out to them that they have lost customers owing to the poorly written content on their website. Explain to them how good content can boost their sales and search engine relevance. If you are lucky, it should land you the job. If you are offering to do the job at a lower price, the higher your chances. Even if they don’t hire you but accept the sample, it is yet another sample added to your portfolio.
Tip #4: Write and publish an eBook
Print media is dying gradually, and it’s possible that in a couple of years they will all shut down. The new trend is eBooks. You can seize this opportunity to build your copywriting portfolio. Simply pick an interesting topic and write an eBook about it.
You can think of this as killing two birds with one stone. While you publish an eBook to which you can refer potential clients, it can also put a few bucks in your pocket if you publish on online bookstores like Amazon.
Tip #5: Continue to expand your knowledge
When Susan Greene, a professional copywriter, was asked to advise aspiring copywriters, her response was simple: invest in learning your craft. There is no age limit to learning. There are invaluable lessons you can acquire simply by listening to other copywriters speak and view their works, professional or not.
During your copywriting classes, you will be able to come up with copywriting examples that have been fine-tuned by yourself and your tutor. This can be used as a sample for prospective clients. The Blackford Centre for Copywriting is currently offering a ten percent discount for those that quote “The Creative Copywriter” in their email or phone booking.
Another great experience you will get when you attend creative writing courses is that you have the chance to build connections with competent people in the field. They can serve as your referrals - if you ever need one. Companies can also be biased in your favor if your skill is backed with a certificate. You can grow your copywriting skills by browsing and completing copywriting jobs on Freelancer.com also. Just go to the project listings page, and go for the projects with customized bids to maximize your chances of getting awarded. Having trouble bagging yourself some projects? Be sure to go through this article!
You know how you add spice and other ingredients to bring out the best aroma in the food you cook? So is the case with copywriting portfolio. Certain ingredients should be on your copywriting portfolio to make it attractive. They include long copy, short copy, web pages, articles, sales pages, and product descriptions. The list should not scare you. As your skill and experience grow with every piece you write, your portfolio will follow suit.
While the tips mentioned above should help you get started and build upon your portfolio, the following tips should help you get an edge over the others by transforming it into a stunning copywriting portfolio:
1. Hold on to a copy of anything that is written by you.
2. Look at online and offline samples. Study them to see what makes them unique.
3. Any copy you think will be better when re-written, don’t hesitate to do so.
4. Organize all the work you have done into categories - as many categories as you can.
5. Select the best of your works and upload to a storage device online. There are many available.
6. Send a link of your works in a correspondence to your prospective client. This is better because they have an archive of work to go through in evaluating you. If you were to attach the files, how many could you possibly link without making the email look messy?
7. Keep your copywriting profile updated. As your experience and samples grow, don’t forget to include them in your archive.
Follow these tips and you are sure to build a strongly impressive portfolio that your clients may find truly hard-to-resist.
Are you a budding copywriter? Has this article helped to allay your fears about building a copywriting career? Tell us your experience in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you! Also, be sure to share this article with your friends.