how to build a copywriting portfolio from scratch

How to Build a Winning Copywriter Portfolio from Scratch

So you’ve just begun your epic journey into the world of copywriting. A young buck in the industry, hungry for those big jobs…

The next Coca Cola slogan. An ad campaign for the brand new iPhone. A re-rewrite of all the copy on Toyota’s main website.

These are the kind of projects you’ve set your sights on.

And as a skillful, innovative copywriter, you know you have enough raw talent, passion and determination to make your vision a reality.

But hang on… How are you going to land those big jobs if you don’t even have a copywriting portfolio?

It’s the old Catch 22 situation. You need experience to get work. But you can’t get work without experience.

And in order to entice the big-time clients, you’re definitely going to need a solid portfolio of copywriting examples that shows off your talent.

So luckily for you, I’m about to reveal 3 simple ways to build a winning copywriter portfolio from scratch…

1. Get By With a Little Help From Your Friends

I’m going to assume that you know at least one person, if not several, that run their own business. Maybe it’s a friend of a friend of a friend? They might just work as a freelance gardener or run a simple market stall on Sundays.

It doesn’t matter. This is the perfect place to start.

Offer to help them out with your services for FREE. Write a brochure for them, some website copy, a press release or whatever you feel would best showcase your talent in your portfolio of copywriting.

You’ll be doing them a favour – while at the same time building that all-important archive of copywriting samples for potential clients to feast on.

And who knows – if they love it, they may end up paying you – which is what happened to me on my very first copywriting job.

2. Find the Clients Yourself and Give ’em a Free Taster

We’ve all come across websites and thought ‘this copy is pretty crappy‘. Right? 

So why not show them that you can do a better job?

Re-write the content of one of the pages, or at least a sample of it, without asking first. Make it awesome. Make the header attention-grabbing and make the copy hypnotic.

Then approach the company yourself and tell them they’re losing customers through badly-written content. Give them a few facts about conversion rates if you like.

And reveal to them your amazing new version – which they can have as a freebie!

With any luck they’ll be blown away and will want to pay you (the low rate you’re offering) to re-write the rest of it.

Be honest about your experience.

They can see from the quality of your sample that you can do an amazing job, especially with the low cost you’ve offered them.

And Bob’s your uncle! Some cash in your back pocket and another juicy sample for your ever-growing copywriter portfolio.

3. Take a Copywriting Course

By taking on a course in copywriting, you’ll not only learn invaluable skills from amazing, experienced copywriters, you’ll also produce a body of copywriting examples that have been fine-tuned by yourself and by your tutor – which you can then showcase to future clients.

That’s exactly how I got to where I am today.

Probably the best of all online copywriting courses you can find, and the one I took when starting out, is run by the Blackford Centre for Copywriting.

And thanks to some great connections (and heavy negotiation), you can now get 10%-off the course if you book via phone or email and quote ‘The Creative Copywriter. Well worth it!

The course is extremely reasonably-priced even without the discount, and has completely flexible hours.

And how do I know that this course nails it?
Because it’s the very same one that got me firmly onto the copywriting ladder.

Complete it in your own time, get tutored by the the best in the business, build an awesome copy portfolio full of every different kind of copywriting sample. And end up with a little, pretty Copywriting Diploma icon you can stick on your website homepage!

Once you’ve taken these 3 steps to create that first bundle of copy examples, life will get much easier. I promise!

You’ll have a base to work from and some juicy samples for potential clients to get their teeth into.

You can then entice companies with your website and aggressively apply for jobs through Elance, ODesk and other online job forums.

But keep your rates low to start with, as you’re still a toddler in the industry. When your portfolio gets even bigger and better, you can start to reel in those big-time clients you’ve been dreaming about!

Good luck. And don’t forget to check out our very own copywriting portfolio while you’re here!

Contact us if you have any questions at all.

Love you!


PS. Don’t forget to share this post with all your awesome fans and followers. Go on, press those juicy round share buttons now!

SHARE on social media

About the author

Konrad Sanders
Creative Director & Copywriter at The Creative Copywriter

Hey you. I’m Konrad. An SEO and sales-savvy copywriter with a pretty darn creative noggin on my shoulders. I run a team of word-slinging cowboys who go by the name of The Creative Copywriter. Let’s connect!


  1. Some great points here and really informative thank you, I am just starting up (or trying to) in the copywriting world. I think the idea about re writing is fantastic so i think i may try this for a few sites and see the kind of response i get.

  2. I remember when I got my start and it was very close to what you describe, giving away some freebies and hoping for some word of mouth advertising. It seems like a slow way to start off, but you build trust and a reputation that is hard to knock down.

    1. Author

      Glad you agree.

      It’s pretty tough to get into most industries these days – and here in the UK, young people are doing unpaid internships willy-nilly. So if you can do a few copywriting jobs for free, it’s great experience and the perfect way to give your portfolio a kick-start!

  3. I still give away free samples to companies that I know will need much more work than what that sample provides. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door and start a business relationship that could prove fruitful for everyone involved.

  4. How important is a good portfolio if I am going to be making this a career? I have heard many different opinions on this and trust yours the most as you are the best!

  5. Do you ever find yourself rating a copywriter by the look of their website? I know they don’t always create their own content, but it still shows their creativity and style.

    1. Author

      Well, I think that if you find a copywriter with bad copy on their website – then you should probably keep on searching! Bad design is a different story – although as a huge fan of powerful branding, I think it’s important that we all get our website design looking sharp too. There’s too much competition out there for you to be slacking on your website copy or design. These are the foundations. So get them right.

  6. I’m glad I stumbled upon this site, because, for the first time, I’m applying for copy writing and/or editorial positions. Reading through your tips, I am both encouraged and a little discouraged. You see, I don’t have time to take a course at the moment, since I am in the thick applying for gigs. I’ve been forced to make a move professionally out of necessity, but, after much thought, I’ve realized that, professionally, I want to move in a different direction anyway. Hence, even if necessity didn’t demand that I move, I’d still be restless for a change. Let me briefly explain. With almost 10 yrs experience in academia as an administrative and English comp/lit instructor, the idea of branching out is downright daunting. I’m also an “on again off again” film student who is mostly into screenwriting, and I have a couple of creative blogs and oodles of teaching experience. Though daunting, I am at a point in my life where remaining in academia would, I believe, work against fostering any kind of continued growth and development as a creative professional. I just can’t get this in my current position. I’m not looking to freelance right now because I have bills to pay, haha. Ideally, I’d love to land a full time gig at an advertising and/or marketing firm. However, I’m looking to land a full time gig at a company that will pay me a living wage, at the very least. Let’s just get down to brass tacks here, haha. I have found that there are a lot of great copywriting gigs out there, but I have also found that I feel helpless. Scrambling to create a writing portfolio and hoping for the best at the moment.

    1. Author

      Hi Gemma

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you stumbled upon our blog too and I hope it wasn’t too discouraging 🙁

      You can also find gigs on Elance, Odesk and PeoplePerHour – but the problem there is that you’re up against a load of competition, many of whom are willing to write for peanuts! And again the problem lies that if you don’t have a portfolio already, or a good rating on those platforms, it would be hard to compete. But if you lower your prices to start with you may be able to land a few jobs – and start to build your portfolio.

      Once you have a decent portfolio under your arm, go hit up the advertising and marketing agencies! There are also a lot of companies within different industries which require content managers or in-house copywriters. You’d be writing about the same stuff all the time (so, not as exciting as an ad agency) – but it would be great experience and you’d get paid!

      The Copywriting Institute that I mentioned here runs an online course which is completely flexible. Send in work at your own pace. So if you can squeeze in some studying and writing in the evenings/at weekends – it’s the perfect way to start! Once completing the course, you’ll also get on their list of professional copywriters and can find work through them. It’s great! If you want to find out more about the course, just send me a quick email at [email protected] – as we can probably get you a discount on the course price.

      Good luck with your quest!

  7. Is creating fake copy for fake businesses looked down upon? I don’t want to trick anyone into thinking that it’s published work, but it seems like it would be a shortcut that could work. I now design students create mock-ups all the time. I’m not a student anymore, but shouldn’t copywriters be allowed to do the same thing?

    1. Author

      Hi Sam. As long as you’re not deceiving anyone, then why not!? I think it’s perfectly reasonable – and in fact smart – to cut corners like that. The course I mention in this post pretty much allows you to create a portfolio of ‘fake’ work, which you can then display to potential clients to show off your skills. So it’s essentially the same short cut you’ve suggested, except that you actually get first-class copywriting training and feedback from pro copywriters along the way.

      I say – go for it mate!

      And cheers for dropping by.

  8. Great tips and content. I do find all the purple a bit gloomy though

    1. Author

      Cheers! And we’re going through a rebranding process as we speak (the new site should be up in a month from now) – so I’m not offended by the ‘purple’ comment. Our new site is going to be shit-hot! 🙂

  9. This short lil ditty absolutely affirmed and opened my mind up to a simple way to create my portfolio and possibly make a few bucks along the way. It was also good to hear about other online course for copywriters too. Big Ups!!!

  10. Love you 😀 As I am a freelancer, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my work and to make more and more money, in the bargain. You have the knack of nailing the right topic. Keep writing so, people like me can use your tips and earn more. I am a member in market place websites like,, and Let me tell you that these are the best places where your work gets noticed. I am making loads of money here. You can too!

  11. this is very informative. I came across your article when i needed it the most.
    thank you.

  12. Copywriting is something I’ve uhm’d and ahh’d over for a while now. I’ve always been put off as, even though I have a degree in Creative Writing, my lack of portfolio has always been the thing that ultimately stops me from pursuing it – the whole way of thinking that ‘someone who has specialised in an area like this should have more to show for it’.

    So I’m really glad I stumbled upon this as you’ve made it even a lot more accessible – given me the kick up the you-know-what that I need! I’m definitely going to look into the course you mentioned.

    Thank you!

  13. I have aspired to pursue a career in writing for a few years now. I am a senior student whose determination and feverish research has lead him to this informative website. I have considered becoming a copywriter for a while now, but I did not know how exactly to begin. With the help of this excellent post, I am more confident in my chances in making this into a career. I greatly appreciate your insightful advice; your knowledge is extremely valuable to so many, including myself.

Leave a Comment