Creating a Knockout Portfolio – 10 Smart Tips

If you’re planning to excel as a copywriter in the modern world, you need a superb portfolio. This is where you can give people – particularly prospective clients – a glimpse of your skills and talents and how you approach your work in general.

Knowing that you’re subject to scrutiny and other forms of assessment shouldn’t be a bother if you know you have done things right. For most copywriters, a potential client’s request for a work sample quickly sends quivers down their spines. While this is understandable, it shouldn’t continue to be the case, as faltering will cost you a lot of jobs.

A portfolio is not just another part of your career paraphernalia. It is the vehicle that can advance or halt the progress of your career as a copywriter. Many companies hiring writers today are in the habit of checking out how good a particular writer is, before entrusting them with businesses associated with text. This is for good reason: everyone wants a tried and tested professional handling their jobs. When it comes to copywriting, we know that a copywriter usually bears the burden of maintaining and enhancing a brand’s image.

So how do you create a knockout portfolio that can impress clients and land you jobs? I have set up a few smart hacks that if you follow, could crown your copywriting career with success.

Setting up your Portfolio Outlook

The presentation of your portfolio is your first step in making a positive impression. The look and arrangement of the works in your portfolio can easily put off anyone, if it is poorly arranged. Also, how your individual pieces present themselves is a core factor that affects your general assessment.

As a freelance online copywriter, you need a great online portfolio, since your clients will mostly require you to deliver online content. You can send a link to your clients, that takes them to your portfolio or you can simply send a document over (usually in PDF format).

In any case, ensure that access to your portfolio will not present a headache to your and that the graphics and fonts used in the entire document are reader-friendly. Don’t infuse too many designs and images that might seem incongruous to the copy. Instead, ensure everything gels appropriately.


Choose the Best of your Samples

Your sample jobs stand as your recommendations. Therefore, you wouldn’t want any work you have written on a bad day to act as a specimen for your whole repertoire of writing. Again, your portfolio is highly important, so spending ample time on it should be something you must be willing to do.

You might have a lot of jobs already under your belt and choosing the best of your works might present a conundrum. In this case, you can involve some internet metrics to help you. If you’re presenting blog posts, web articles or guest posts, choose the samples of work with the most social media shares and click-through rates. You can find these out by looking at the social share counts on the website where your content is published, or you can use some online tools like buzzsumo to find out.

In all, any content you wish to include you in your portfolio should be of great quality and top-notch standard.

Include Pieces that Mirror your Personality

Your client is trying to assess you, as much as they are trying to assess the skill-set you possess. Adding a few pieces in your portfolio that speak about your personality will go a long way in demonstrating the kind of person they are dealing with.

Although you need to have a short biography (which should be unique as well) tucked somewhere in your portfolio, your work samples speak volumes on how you can craftily infuse personality into articles. You should be careful about this though, as some fields require serious, no-nonsense, technical articles that do not need so much ‘personality’.

Make your Selection Target-driven

Understand the client you’re pitching your work to, their industry and niche, and showcase your talent in making copy that suits their style. While choosing the best of your works is important, showing your prospective client that you’re experienced in working in their field is paramount. The best way to do this is to add multiple impressive samples that are related to their field.

It won’t be wise, for example, to showcase samples of jobs that you have done for the catering industry in a portfolio that you’re submitting to a company that is purely in the tech industry.

It is wise to get your background work about the client right. In cases where the client has a series of investments, you can carefully target every field involved with your portfolio, so that you don’t limit yourself to land the copy job for a particular website. In this case, show how versatile you are and how you can take on so many fields, without dropping a bar of excellence.

The importance of designing your portfolio to target specific fields doesn’t throw the need to maintain high quality out the window. Keep the quality levels up!

Learn the Facts about your Samples and Include them

The truth is, the impression of any piece of work in most cases, is subjective. Personal preference can be a blockade. What is good for me might not look so good to you. So how do you convince a client to think again about your work? You can present the facts.

An article with a lot of social media shares and views must be interesting (it has generated traffic too, so it must be pretty good). Including social share, backlinks and other figures will go a long way in telling whoever reads the samples on your portfolio how good your articles are, and in turn, how good you are.

There are a number of tools online that can give you the basic information about your sample contents. Some of which include buzzsumo (for your social shares), Ahrefs, SEMrush and lots of others to check the number of backlinks your content has.

Double-check if you have Permission to Share the Pieces as your own

This is important. Make sure you’re not defaulting in cases where you might have non-disclosure agreements protecting your content or where the content in question was a piece you did as a ghost writer.

Though there’s a likelihood word might not get out that you’ve done this, you don’t want to be caught up in cases where it does. This might lead to loss of clients and if it comes to the knowledge of clients that you’re pursuing, they might quickly lose confidence in you.

So keep the samples you’re including in your portfolio original and keep it at the back of your mind to exclude contents that are protected by non-disclosures – whether it’s in your online or offline portfolio.

Are you about to Kick-start a Copywriting Career?

If you’re a newbie in the copywriting world and are looking to make a name for yourself without any previously completed jobs under your belt, you can still get along. Since a majority of clients just want professionals, you can still present yourself as one by whipping up some pretty nice samples of your own.

Of course you’ll have to make up names of clients and companies, but in this case, make sure your samples are cutting edge and can woo the client. Not having the relevant experience shouldn’t stop you from hunting down your first job.

Another great way to go about getting jobs when you’re building your copywriting career (and portfolio) is to engage in a number of free jobs, that will actually see your content published and are of course free of NDAs. Having your own blog or website which contains a number of articles is yet another way to advertise yourself.

Is Your Portfolio thin? Beef it up

You might not have completed many jobs or lack content regarding most specific fields, but you have a client in your sights that you’re about to hook. Without a sample that testifies your ability to carry out jobs in the field, it might prove difficult for the client to hire you.


So what to do? Get an imaginary client of your own and create some compelling samples that will showcase your skill in the field.

Keep the Pretexts Short

While you’re making up a header that explains a sample, the company it was written for and the objective, make sure you keep it short and precise, so that you don’t bore your prospective client before they even begin to read the piece.

A Portfolio of Portfolios

Sometimes you might have a client who needs to hire a writer urgently and they want your portfolio as soon as possible. If you had already arranged a number of portfolios that can serve various situations, you will find yourself ready and prepared at all times.

Furthermore, selecting a portfolio for different clients might seem like a drag. So, keep different sets of portfolios that are arranged for different kinds of clients.


You can get your career rolling with a nice portfolio. All you have to do is set one up. Remember to keep your portfolios updated and add new pieces of work that trump the present ones in terms of quality.