How to Become a Copywriter & Build a Copywriting Portfolio?

by <strong>Alina Siddiqui</strong>

by Alina Siddiqui

Ghostwriter | Full Time Copywriter

Become a Copywriter and Create your Copywriting Portfolio from scratch, here’s how…

En route to becoming a Copywriter and building a copywriting portfolio? You are learning from Copywriting blogs like this, books, and watching many other copywriting courses… But here’s something I 100% stand by…

“Education without application is just entertainment.”

Haha. No more personal attacks.

But this is definitely your sign to get to work with your new skillset – Copywriting.

All you need is a few basic skills of a copywriter and you can speed up and get to real work.

But what exactly do you need to portray your new unique skills? Obviously, a copywriting portfolio.

But you’ve probably never written copy for a client before… Because you need a client first to write a copy for…

Yeah, I get it. And that’s why I’m going to share with you how to get started and make a copywriting portfolio without landing a client already.

1. Don’t Stop Learning Copywriting

Yes. You have to keep learning as long as you are a copywriter. Because copywriting isn’t just about writing. It keeps evolving with time. But it includes a few core skills that remain unchanged such as researching, planning before you get to writing at all.

It’s all in the mind and then on the first draft of your copy (which never sees the light of the day). 

Writing a copy requires so much more than writing and that is exactly what you need to study and fit deeply inside your subconscious mind.

Keep reading copywriting blogs, copywriting tutorials, and reading books that enhance your existing marketing and writing skills.

2. Daily Practice

Any skill left on its own has a possibility of fading over time. 

And as a copywriter, you cannot afford a writer’s block right when you land a dream client. That would be my worst nightmare.

So to never let this become a reality, you need to set aside 15-30 mins everyday to write copy with strategies applied.

Or I have an easy way out of this…

3. Rewrite Good copy

Copy famous copy. Take advertisements or sales pages from your swipe file and write them down by hand.

Writing onto a paper can help with effective memory recall, sharpened critical thinking, and stronger conceptual understanding.

Handwriting forces your brain to mentally engage with the information, improving both literacy and reading comprehension.

So don’t underestimate the power of writing the copy by hand to ultimately improve your writing skills in the long run. This will help you create your copywriting portfolio too.

4. Let Your Circle Know

You might be anxious to call yourself a copywriter already and you’re not alone. Most beginners do not feel confident enough at first and keep their copy skills a secret because…

  1. Mostly, people don’t know what copywriting means and
  2. Beginners feel more comfortable calling themselves a content writer because it is a known profession.

But, hear me out. There is quite a lot of difference between copywriting and content writing. And if you write a piece of writing that is meant to generate sales or leads, it is copywriting. So essentially, you are a copywriter.

Believe in you, buddy.

5. Discover your specialization

Now that you are practicing and exploring different content types, it’s time to find your niche in copywriting.

There are so many industries that need specialized writing for their company. Here’s a list of copywriting niches that need your help.

And there are many content types that you can offer as a copywriter as well. Blog post/articles, sales page, landing page, case studies, white papers, etc.

You can choose your specialization and practice it better to become an expert at what you love writing. 

Read more about copywriting content types for freelancers

6. Create your Blog and Professional Social Media Presence

While practicing your skills, you can opt to create an online identity that is professional and speaks your personality to the world.

To create your own website, you will need to purchase a hosting service, which usually gives a FREE single domain (website name). 

There are various tools to set up your website easily such as WordPress themes, Wix, and many more.

While you’re at it, you will need to switch your social media account into a professional one. Or create a new one that speaks of your profession and doesn’t include your late-night Saturday stories at least.

This will be helpful in connecting with potential clients and a community of copywriters who are just like you.

Now you’re all set to become a copywriter. It’s time we look for clients and show them what you got.

Let’s create your copywriting portfolio while we’re at it…

Starting with…

1. Writing Guest Posts

There are several websites such as Medium that are open for guest posts. You can post an informative writing piece and send the link to your client as a part of your copywriting portfolio.

You can also collaborate with blog writers and write with them for exposure and in exchange for a backlink to your blog.

2. Critique Existing Copy

Collect various ad copies and sales pages that you believe you can improve.

Then next, grab your local newspaper or hunt for local social media clients. Hit them up and send them an improved version of their ad or website copy for free via email.

If they liked your copy, chances are they will hire you for their brand as an in-house copywriter. But if not, and they end up using your copy for their campaign anyway, you can add that to your copywriting portfolio as well.

So, don’t be afraid to give strategic and smart twists to existing copy and bring innovation to the table.

3. Collect/Make Samples of Every Project You’re Up For

If you’re a copywriter, I’d like to assume that you have been a passionate writer since the beginning of time. 

And that means you’ve already written enough content that has the potential to be added to your copywriting portfolio.

If possible, try to collect your old writing pieces of content that could be called one of your best works.

Your employer or client only wants to see how you present, persuade and deliver your message to the audience. Everyone has a style unique to themselves. If your copy is powerful in terms of conversion, you can definitely add it to your portfolio.

4. Make Niche-based Copywriting Portfolios

Yes, please. 

Don’t spam your potential clients with copy that isn’t relevant to their industry or niche.

Imagine sending a fitness niche client the portfolio you sent to an IT company for their ERP solutions…

That doesn’t even sound right… 

That’s why, I suggest you categorize your portfolio based on niche, content type, and group similar contents together before sharing.

Don’t just attach a huge file that doesn’t concern them. Be specific with the services you provide and what is relevant for them.

Okay, but where do I make my portfolio, Alina?

You don’t need to be tech-savvy to have a great portfolio. Nor should you know the fundamentals of graphic design.

Duh. You’re a copywriter.

No one’s expecting a pretty-to-look-at collection. It’s your copy skills that have to impress your client.

I simply use Word or Google Docs or send a PDF to share my portfolio. You can steal this idea too!

Just remember to give access to your client before you share a Google Docs file with them and assign a role that restricts editing. And you’re good to go.

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