basic portfolio tips from the biz

To Emma, the student who emailed asking for some advice about her portfolio:

I swear that I have been trying to email you back…it’s just that once I hit send and wait a while the email bounces back to me because your spam filter considers it unacceptable. I don’t know why. I have gone through the email a number of times, each time combing through the words closely to remove profanity, references to drugs and alcohol and vague come-ons and finally all content just to see if that would work. It didn’t.

So I will post my answer instead. Hopefully that gets through your admirably aggressive spam filter.

1. How many pieces/campaigns should be in my portfolio

That is kind of a tough question because it sort of depends on the type of work that you have in your arsenal, as it were. I would suggest 10-15 campaigns or especially good one-offs. Within those pieces the key is to show a range of work – long copy, sharp headlines, a range of brands, etc. Show your versatility.

2. What sort of brands should I do work for?

Good ideas for parity products are the easiest way to convince people of your creativity. Products like beer and condoms and Axe body spray may be kind of funny, especially with your dirty mind, but people looking at your book just pass over spec ads like that…they’re a little too juvenile, a little to easy.Think things like toothpaste and batteries and detergent. Not every one needs to be a parity product, but they stand out.

3. Will I ever be as good as you?

I know that this was facetious, but I will answer anyway. Yes, you will. Probably better. Which is why I am being so nice to you now.

Anyone else want to weigh in with tips on portfolio development for a student looking to get her start as a copywriter in the ad game? The comments section is all yours…

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3 responses to “basic portfolio tips from the biz

  1. I’m sorry about that spam filter. I think Hotmail is turning out to be a bunch of crap, but that’s beside the point. Thanks for answering my questions, I really liked that last one, it was inspiring. If I e-mail you again, I’ll try to remember to re-work the spam filter.

    Thanks,
    E

  2. 10-15 campaigns?! are you out of your mind!? no way.

  3. @ mike: I said campaigns or good one-offs, but really meant and/or. It’s tough to blog without a proofreader, I make mistakes left and right.

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