What You Should Include in Your Copywriter Portfolio
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B organizations use content marketing. To fuel the development of content, businesses need experienced copywriters, but almost more importantly, versatile copywriters. Browse through any job board and you’ll see copywriter job listings looking for candidates who can write in a wide range of formats, and do it all well.
If you are an aspiring copywriter, you need to have something on your resume that sets you apart from the other copywriters on the job board. The best way to do this is to start building a copywriter portfolio.
Why Do You Need a Copywriter Portfolio?
A copywriter portfolio is the gift that keeps on giving. The more quality work you can include in your portfolio, the more robust of a writing resume you create. The more robust of a writing resume you have, the more high-paying jobs you’ll get with brand-name companies. One door usually leads to another in the case of impressive copywriter portfolios.
The key to creating a copywriter portfolio is you have to start somewhere. You’re not likely to land your dream writing gig on your first go-around. But if you get discouraged early on with entry-level copywriter jobs and don’t keep adding to your portfolio, your dream of becoming a professional writer may never be realized. Read on to find out how and why to add different types of copywriting portfolio examples on your resume.
Copywriting Portfolio Examples
When you’re preparing your copywriter portfolio (as many job listings require), choose writing samples that show you have the ability to be a versatile and effective writer, no matter the medium. That means you should include both long and short works that you’ve written, content pieces that range in tone, and copywriting that was done for both editorial and commercial purposes, to throw out a few examples.
Also, employers will generally be more impressed by copywriting examples that have been published, whether in a digital or print format. So basically, the internet is your best friend when it comes to building out copywriting samples for your next writing gig.
Keep reading below for several examples of the types of content to include in your portfolio, and why.
Social Media Content Writing
Social media is one of the simplest methods businesses have to communicate with their customers. Staggering amounts of organizations use social media, including 50 million Facebook business page users.
In your copywriter portfolio, include social posts that you have written for any major network. Do this in addition to profile bio wording and social media ad content to show that you have the ability to communicate effectively with a limited word count. When you’re selecting the content pieces to include, prioritize social posts that got a large amount of engagement and views, or that were done for recognizable brands/entities, as well as any that went viral.
If you don’t currently have any clients like that in your writer portfolio – never fear. Even including posts for local businesses or showing the length of time you’ve been writing social posts for smaller businesses at least show you have writing expertise with the medium.
Short ad copy is a great addition to your copywriter portfolio. It’s often tougher to write quality short content than it is longer content, and ad copy can also show off your persuasive writing skills. As this example from Toronto LiveGreen shows, visuals are key for ads, but the words are also necessary to make sure the message hits home. Being able to do more with less is a vital skill in the copywriting profession.
Next, consider the notoriety of the brand or company that’s being advertised when you’re picking a few copywriting samples. Brand recognition goes a long way to improving your credibility/authority. If you’re just starting to build out your copywriting portfolio examples, you could even include ad copy from Google Ads or other digital marketing mediums. While they won’t be as visually impressive as the portfolio sample above, it still shows you can craft compelling messages in a few words or less.
While ad copywriting is simply a single sentence, you might also consider other examples of short copy like product descriptions or category descriptions when thinking of what to include in a copywriting portfolio. While most product descriptions typically run from 25 to 100 words, the idea is still the same. How are you conveying information and emotional attachment in a limited number of words/characters?
Big businesses may have hundreds of thousands of product SKUs that need to be refreshed/rewritten every year so there is a lot of longevity to this type of content writing – making it all the more important it is represented as one of your copywriting examples.
Much of the writing you will do as a copywriter is likely going to be digital. Website copy, such as landing pages, show a writer’s ability to create content that not only informs but also works with the site design to guide the reader through a site in an intended way. The flow of the writing and considering the reader’s interests will help you to craft some stellar copywriting portfolio examples.
Businesses are constantly going through site redesigns and updating their brand messaging to reflect the direction they are moving. Being able to convey that in your website copywriting examples will strengthen potential employer’s trust that you have an eye for marketing in your copywriting.
Freelance Blog Posts and Articles
Blog writing is at the same time ridiculously easy and devilishly hard. Anyone can publish a blog post; few can write a post that actually makes an impact and offers something different than all the other content on the topic. Include links in your copywriter portfolio to several of your top blog posts as well as pageview statistics if those are available to you.
Blogs and articles (in today’s content marketing landscape) are typically considered “medium to long-form” content, meaning you’ll have one to two thousand words to show off your ability to research and explain a multitude of topics. If you can, you might pick both a medium post and long-form blog post to share in your writing portfolio.
It’s smart to diversify this part of your copywriter portfolio to include multiple subjects and different aspects of your writing. You should have some informative/research-heavy pieces as well as some emotional/persuasive pieces. Being able to see your versatility in your copywriting portfolio examples will give you more opportunities down the line.
SEO continues to evolve, and many businesses want to see SEO proficiency in their writers. Include any SEO content you have written that has been optimized for better search listings.
As SEO changes so rapidly, you may need to include an explanation that a previous piece of content was optimized for SEO best practices at the time it was written. Showing that you can integrate tough keywords seamlessly into content and have it read naturally is an in-demand skill in today’s business writing landscape. Don’t miss the opportunity to include content marketing portfolio examples that highlight your SEO prowess and digital marketing abilities.
eBooks and Whitepapers
You may have heard that people’s attention spans have all but dwindled away, but well-researched, long-form content such as eBooks, white papers, and blog series is still valuable to employers. A well-designed, in-depth document is a great addition to your copywriter profile because it shows research skills and the ability to see a difficult and complex project through to the end.
This is where you can showcase your ability to research and your versatility in crafting content that requires different verbiage, target markets and tone. This sort of writing portfolio example also shows your versatility in product types and formatting, since eBooks usually have a table of contents and specific word requirements per page.
Email writing is a good addition to your writing portfolio because it can be so drastically different than other forms of writing. Email writing needs to grab readers before they even open the email and hold their attention beyond that. As this example of an email from writer James Clear shows, great email writing starts with an intriguing and clickable subject.
In addition to focusing on the quality of writing, include emails that saw high open rates and click-through rates to demonstrate the impact of your copywriting. Being able to convey the analytics backs up the eye test of if email copy looks good or not. Building a copywriting portfolio often includes more than just words – the analytics can really prove why your writing is as good as you say it is.
Customer Stories and Case Studies
Case studies are a very effective form of digital marketing. According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute, 73 percent of B2B organizations that engage in content marketing also use case studies in their content marketing mix. People trust the opinions of people like them and thus case studies with quotes and easily scannable results can be a great way to get new customers. Case studies as copywriter portfolio samples can be long and journalistic like this example from MailChimp:
USE CASE STUDIES
Alternately, case studies can be scannable and punchy like this Wishpond example:
If you have done case studies in the past, make sure to include these in your copywriter portfolio.
As you are applying for copywriting positions, employers may be interested to see any journalistic or editorial samples you have. Journalism as a discipline maintains high standards for accuracy in writing. This is a hugely important trait for copywriters to possess, especially since copywriters often have to be their own (and other co-workers’) editors. The ability to cite sources accurately proves the authenticity of the writing and gives clients confidence you aren’t plagiarizing or cutting corners in your writing.
Start Adding Copywriter Portfolio Samples Today!
So what does a copywriting portfolio look like? Real, concrete writing samples are key when you’re a copywriter. Employers want to read the content you’ve written and published for other companies in the past so that they can imagine you writing for their brand and really see if your skills measure up to your resume. When you’re gathering your copywriting samples be sure to include as many as possible of the pieces of content listed here in your copywriter portfolio.