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Copywriters: What to Include in Your Copywriting Portfolio

Guest post by a Singapore freelance copywriter

When it comes to getting jobs, or hiring professionals, a freelance copywriter lives and dies by their portfolio.

By having quality writing samples, notable track records, and a reliable output, copywriters can make themselves stand out to clients. This helps them to land new jobs, and to work on assignments that match their skills.

In this article, you'll discover six components for a truly impressive portfolio.



Any Sample is Better than No Sample


Everybody has to start somewhere. And many talented copywriters have gotten their break without having much work experience at all.

How did they manage this?

By having quality writing samples that they created themselves.

Even inexperienced copywriters can develop example pieces for a portfolio. They can do this either by including ads they've created on their own, or samples they wrote as part of a class or home study course.

As a result, there should be no reason for any copywriter to be “empty handed” and unable to show samples of work.



Showcase Your Very Best Work

A portfolio is meant to showcase the best possible work that a freelance copywriter can do. That's why it's important to look over all of the samples and make sure that they're of the highest quality.

Be sure to check for any typos, errors, or misprints.

Additionally, always include samples of any project that's gone exceptionally well. A copywriter who's created a successful new advertising campaign or broken a sales record will easily stand out among the competition.


If a Project Did Especially Well, Mention it!

Copywriting is a sales job. And a good salesperson always knows how to market themselves.

When you show a sample piece that did exceptionally well, don't be afraid to mention it. This way the potential client realises exactly what you're capable of.

Likewise, if you're hiring a writer, always ask to see their best performing piece. And pay attention to any samples that may have won awards or garnered special recognition.



Include a “Rationale” Alongside Each Piece

Many creatives (writers, designers, etc.) attach a “rationale” to their samples.

This is a summary of what the project was and why the writer made certain design choices.

While rationales aren't required for a portfolio, they do help clarify any questions that a potential client might have. As such, it's a good idea to include them with your work.


Keep Rationales Concise

While using a rationale in your samples is a good idea, you don't have to put a lot of time and effort into creating them.

These explanations should be concise, and only a few paragraphs long.

This is because rationales are secondary to the sample itself. Your actual writing piece will tell the client more about your work than the design notes ever will.



Continually Update Your Samples

Good freelance copywriters keep their portfolios up to date. And to do so, they add and remove samples over the course of their career.

Making updates isn't something that needs to be done constantly. But it is a good idea to do this at least one a year. This way you don't end up with a selection of stale work that doesn't interest your prospects. Especially since many clients view outdated samples, projects that are several years old, as red flags. These will get them wondering about why you haven't added anything newer.

Lastly, keep your best work in your portfolio no matter how old it is. Anything that's won awards or set new records should be showcased to clients, regardless of age.



Photo credit: Joanna Kosinka (Unsplash)

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