Hey friends,
I have no experience in copywriting or advertising but I have an interest in becoming a copywriter. I’ve been working to make this move for about six months, which included a few summer classes in graphic design (mostly Adobe CC) and a lot of reading in my down time. I cannot afford portfolio school right now. Would it be beneficial for me to start a blog at least to show I am capable of writing? Thank you!

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Just start building a portfolio.

Writing a blog and writing ads are different skillets, IMO. Unless you want to be more of a content writer than a classic copywriter. Either way, you'll still need a portfolio.

Take the briefs you give your creative teams and work on them yourself in your downtime.

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Read hey whopper squeeze this. Make a portfolio. Show it to people to get feedback.

Blog writing and graphic design skills are nice to haves that are pretty low down on the list, I’d focus on straight up making ad campaigns.

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Also, Luke Sullivan, the author “Hey, Whipple …” has a ton of videos on YouTube that are worth watching. He used to travel and speak quite a bit — I believe he switched to doing some online events during the pandemic. I saw him live years ago in New York. He’s a great speaker and I found him very inspirational.

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I want to thank everybody for their replies on this. The general idea I pulled from this, which I already kind of thought, was to just do it (lol forget Nike). So I’ve started putting together a portfolio using my own experience and the skills I picked up with my graphic design courses. I’m going to launch the portfolio in early January once I have a copywriting friend take a look, and a former teacher I had for a single copywriting workshop a while back. I looked over some portfolios from several portfolio schools, and with the exception of the videos they were able to put together, I thought I could get somewhat close to the finished product. I’ll have 3-4 companies covered in campaigns and a few entries in the blog that I mentioned. After the launch I am going to continue improving my portfolio weekly, and if necessary I’ll be looking for graphic designers to help bring together any of the more complex ideas. If anybody knows any companies looking for junior copywriters in Chicago or remote positions please let me know! Thanks again!

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SCW1 I will take you up on that!

If you’re in NYC, look at continuing education portfolio classes at SVA.

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Chicago Portfolio School is actually where I took an eight week class in 2020. It was great but I can’t afford their full time program right now. Looks like I missed the portfolio night in Chicago but I’ll have my eye on it for 2022.

Check out AdHouse they have great classes and it’s extremely affordable with a low time investment

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If you don’t have access to copywriting work in your current role, here are some hacks that can get you a role change at your current agency (note: these probably aren’t strong enough to get hired at a top tier agency, rather a way to show ppl you already know that you can write)
- screenshot pictures from your favorite or least favorite brands Instagram. Write captions you think are better
- find someone who can help you design simple print ads, write the headlines, subheaders, body, etc.
- go to “Storyboard This” website and try making a 15 or 30 second script for your current clients, dream clients

Portfolio school is a definite way in, but it’s expensive and time consuming. So, if you can, try to skip it.

People are often eager to offload work. So find a busy copywriter, and ask if you can take a stab at some social copy or banner ads.

Making a portfolio sounds overwhelming, but it’s not. Try chunking the task into small pieces (today, I’ll upload 9 pics, tomorrow I’ll write captions). You can also do this through free websites to start, including Weebly and Wix.

Lastly, move quickly! The industry is DYING for people. We have been trying to hire an entry-level CW for 7 months. Take advantage of the need for staffing, as it may not last forever. Many agencies or brands with in-house teams are hungry enough to hire someone with an imperfect portfolio right now.

Good luck!

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Denver Ad school has great scholarships. Sometimes up to 90% off. They have an online course too.

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Hey everyone. It’s been a while. I wanted to report back and let you all know that through a series of fortunate events I am now a part-time junior copywriter (more technical writing) and just started portfolio school. Thank you all for your kind words and advice. See you all professionally in about a year :)

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Forgot to mention originally, my AR title is in a completely different industry. This move I’m trying to make is a big one.

Thank you! A little positive reinforcement goes a long way!

Chiming in here as another copywriter who didn’t go to portfolio school!

I too struggled with trying to do graphic design on my own and it took me wayyyy to long to realize the best copywriting ads are just the image of the product and a headline that’e changes your perspective on it.

Focus on making ads like that. If you can nail a headline, CDs will see the potential.

Also, I think some blog posts I wrote landed me my first internship. So it’s a good supplement but not a substitute for a portfolio.

And this has been mentioned before but look for an in (any way in) to a real creative agency. I had an internship in HR but was transparent about my creative aspirations and was able to befriend copywriters and CDs who could give me feedback and junior art directors or interns that would make comps for me.

I would opt for an internship not in a creative at an agency over a real job as a copywriter at a brand or sub-par agency starting out.

This is very good to hear. I realized that my graphic design skills were not going to be at a level where I could visualize and execute my ideas without another couple years of learning. The blog posts are definitely meant to be just a supplement.

Regarding the last part of your comment, are you saying that getting an internship sooner would be better than trying to learn my way directly to a copywriting job?

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I didn’t go to portfolio school. I was a journalism major. I figured out how to build my own portfolio and I worked as a CW and CD for about 20 yrs.

When I made the transition to UX design, I learned as a beta tester for some online courses, but no boot camp.

There’s a lot of good (free) info out there to help you get there. You got a lot of free valuable info here. Learn from it and really work for it. Good luck.

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