Copywriting: How to Put Your Portfolio Together

Guest post by Maria Rainier

If you’ve always dreamed of breaking into the exciting field of copywriting, but aren’t sure where to begin, you’re not alone. A copywriter is one of the most coveted writing jobs since it combines creativity, strategy, and business acumen. With the allure of working in the advertising world so coveted, getting your foot in the door can take time. But you can’t get started unless you have a good book.

What’s a book? It’s your portfolio of work and is an essential way to show off your conceptual writing abilities to prospective employers. Here are some proven tips to create your portfolio and land that coveted job as a Copywriter.

Get Creative. The first step to putting together a portfolio that showcases your work is to start writing. If you’ve already been working as an intern at an ad agency, or have taken advertising and marketing courses, you’re halfway there. However, if you haven’t started yet, you’ll want to develop some spec ads on your own. Sit down and write some ad copy for a product or service that you’re already very familiar with – think food, drink, clothing, restaurants, etc. Now is not the time to try to learn about a new business. The key is to come up with some big ideas that will get the attention of the Creative Director at the agencies where you’re pitching your work. Once you have your headline and support copy written, partner with a graphic designer to have them create layouts that finish off your concept. This is essential – and if you don’t know any designers, then contact a design school to see if they can recommend someone who is in the same boat. You may need to look online to hire a graphic designer to do the work for you. It’s a small price to pay for a polished concept.

Compile Your Book. Once you’ve got five to seven solid pieces that showcase a wide range of work – print, online, radio and broadcast, you’ll need to head over to an art supply or office retail store to get yourself a portfolio case. These can run you around $100 so be prepared – but remember they’re worth the price when selling yourself. Make sure you enclose each sample of your work in the protective film, and don’t forget to put your name and contact information on the tag. If you can afford it, it’s a good idea to purchase a few portfolio cases in case you’re asked to leave your portfolio behind –which is very common. That way you’ll have another copy to shop around.

Hit the Street. The last, and most important step, is to make contact with the Creative Director, Associate Creative Director, or Senior Copywriter at the big advertising agencies in your city. A great place to start is at your local Ad Club, which often has a roster of contacts. You can also do a simple online search of advertising agencies and check out their website for contact information. Once you have their names, you can send them an email introducing yourself and asking for some time to critique your portfolio. It may sound daunting, but they’ve been in your shoes before, and are usually happy to squeeze in some time to give you feedback. During your meeting, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate their time, and ask for any advice or feedback on your work. Then make sure they know how interested you are in their agency. Who knows, maybe one of your ideas will make them want to give you a chance as an intern or a Junior Copywriter.

Good luck!

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where recently she’s been researching different types of online physical therapy assistant degrees and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Maria has written one other guest post for The Chipper Writer, called Find Focus by Elimination Distractions.

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