February 2018 2
From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
Building a Portfolio When You're Just Starting ... And Keeping Your Portfolio Updated
Dear << data-preserve-html-node="true" Test First Name >>:
I know that many of you are experienced copywriters. But many are just beginning the copywriting journey.
This email is mostly for the latter group but there will be something at the end of this email for the former group.
I'm heading back to the mid-80s when I was an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina. I headed to New York City for spring break, eschewing the warmth of Florida.
At college, I was somewhat interested in advertising and copywriting. So I looked up an alumni who worked for a large Madison Avenue advertising agency. He introduced me to a copywriter and we met somewhere deep inside one of those skyscrapers.
We discussed the subject of this email ... building a portfolio when you don't have any paid work samples.
He showed me a portfolio he created when he was in college. He simply wrote copy for imaginary products then asked a graphic designer friend to layout the ads. His portfolio helped him land a job with a big-time agency in New York. I used exactly the same tactic early in my career.
So that's the first way.
You can create and sell your own products. These could be digital or physical. Either way, you're writing copy and you'll have a wide range of samples.
Third, you can offer to write copy, for free, for friends who own businesses or non-profits. Or you can even charge them a fee. You'll quickly build a strong portfolio. They might use the copy ... they might not. But you'll have plenty of samples.
Quite frankly, there's no excuse for not having a portfolio. The companies who will hire relatively new copywriters just want to see that you can actually write copy.
Just make sure the samples you create are strong. And have a professional proofreader proof them.
Once you have some "real" samples, it's important to keep your portfolio updated. Why? Take a look at this from the analytics on my website.
If, for some technological reason I don't understand, you can't see this, my portfolio is the second most viewed page on my website.
Now ... I have to admit, I need to beef up my website with recent samples and include more links to my work. The "beefing up" is going to happen in the next 30 days.
If you're a more experienced copywriter, ask yourself a question. How good is my portfolio?
The portfolio is one of the key proof elements for a copywriter.
Do you have a methodology for creating and maintaining the portfolio on your website? I do ... it's my website developer and her name is Sissi. I'm not trying to organize something so important myself. I also have an advantage ... I use the Squarespace platform which makes it relatively easy to set up portfolios.
In the next email, I'm going to introduce you to the copy police and how to deal with them. Plus I'm going to help you refine your client search so you're looking for the right clients.
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter