Why didn’t anyone give me this advice? Maybe you haven’t heard either or need a reminder.
I know to update my resume as I evolve throughout my career. I do. It helps me keep dates and achievements organized. What I didn’t realize was the enormous disservice I was doing myself by not maintaining a current professional marketing portfolio.
Are you in the same place? Do you wonder where to start or what is most important to include? How should you organize a marketing portfolio? What should you be saving to put in it? The consequences of my mistake were lost time, lost opportunities, some screen-rage, headaches, and shame.
But that’s not you. When you finish this article, you will know how to create a Portfolio Management Strategy, best showcase your abilities, and keep all of it ready to go.
MYTH: You only need a portfolio when you are looking for a job.
TRUTH: Everyone producing creative material for a marketing career needs a spectacular portfolio.
If you freelance, your portfolio is your work site. It provides a snapshot of your work in one place. It gives you an edge over your competition.
Hiring managers expect job seekers to have a portfolio that sparkles. It provides potential employers visual evidence of what you can do and how well you do it.
And if you are already working at your dream job, your portfolio is a resource for pursuing promotions and raises. It is also a remarkable content organization tool, allowing you to update and repurpose content efficiently.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your career path; you will follow the same three steps.
- Create a Portfolio Management Plan.
- Choose the right content.
- Keep it current.
Portfolio Management Plan
Your plan is where you document your objectives, procedures, and processes. It should be evaluated and updated. Your strategy will cover all aspects of your portfolio. However, we are going to focus on the foundational elements of your plan.
Define your objective. It will guide all your decisions. Know your audience, understand their concerns, and develop your value proposition. Your purpose might change as your career goals do.
Pick where you are going to share your portfolio. It is quickly becoming the industry norm to have an online website, portfolio, or both. There are free and paid options. You should consider storage space and who has access.
Create a process for organizing your content. Now is the time to get control of your content. Add tags and notes to categorize your content for searching effectively.
Know your “call to action.” It is what you want the portfolio viewer to do. For example, if your objective is to get a promotion you want the viewer to see your value through visual accomplishments supported by explaining your role and skills contributed to the project. They can validate your claims for themselves through your portfolio contents.
Choosing the right content
Sharing the right content in your digital marketing portfolio is crucial and can be intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be when you clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish, and which works support it best.
You should aim for 10-20 writing samples; however, don’t lock yourself into a number. When you are evaluating your content, remember that it needs to:
- Showcase your skills in action.
- Represent your best work that demonstrates an achievement and lessons learned.
- Be supported with explanations and proof (data) about the piece of work.
Choose relevant samples that apply to your niche and readers. Depending on your objective, these could be press releases, website copy, featured articles, social media posts, sample RFPs (request for proposal), or any other work you created yourself or as part of a team. Make sure to give credit to others involved in the project. It speaks to your teamwork abilities.
Don’t shy away from including challenging or failed projects. It is all in how you present them. Share what you learned from the experience. It shows you have leadership skills and a desire to grow your abilities. You can also include testimonials or a mission statement if they support your objective.
What if you are a freelancer?
All the above still applies; however, if you are using this site to get new clients, you can add more. For example, you may want to share:
- Personal mission and vision statements.
- More information to describe your product.
- Your work processes.
- Current clients.
- Testimonials and industry recognition.
What if you don’t have work samples yet?
If you are starting out, there are ways to build a portfolio that demonstrates your abilities in marketing areas.
You could include guest posts where you can have your bio and a link to your portfolio. Getting bylines adds credibility. Share school, personal, volunteer, and social media projects you have worked on and how those skills transfer to the position you want. Or create samples based on the job description.
Your digital assets
Archive all your work in your portfolio. You don’t know what you may want to highlight later for a different audience. You can create hidden pages on your website or portfolio site to store and organize all your work. You will go back and easily find pieces you may want to repurpose or use to show a potential client or employer your abilities.
It is essential that you note the story behind the project to capture your skills, lessons learned, and achievements.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is not collecting your analytics. You need the data to support your claims.
You can organize your archived content in whichever way works for you. It will help if you divide your work into three categories:
- Current: content that is still relevant.
- Semi-current: content that needs updating.
- Expired: outdated content.
Keep it current
You are going to be so happy you do this! Can you imagine trying to put a portfolio together from scratch when looking for a job or need to present it to a client? I can because I had to. Trust me; you do not want to go down that time-consuming, frustrating road. Your portfolio is an ongoing process that needs to reflect where you are in your career right now.
It will save you valuable time.
54% of those surveyed view searching for digital content as a frustrating waste of their work time, and 41% said digital disorganization has even caused them to delay releasing new materials.
Because you now organize your pieces, they are easy to find and repurpose. Some ideas are:
- Re-publish on your blog.
- Syndicate on partner sites.
- Update past content to reflect a new trend or changes in facts.
- Share through new channels to reach readers who haven’t yet seen the content.
Capturing your work, the story, and proof of the results while the project is in progress or recently completed will strengthen your portfolio and help you reach your objectives.
Don’t forget to market yourself
With a killer marketing portfolio, you are organized, prepared, and radiate professionalism.
Putting together the perfect portfolio may seem daunting. Break it up into smaller, scheduled tasks and the process will be easier to manage. Follow your Portfolio Management Plan.
- Check links at least monthly.
- Replace older samples as you create better ones.
- Update analytics.
- Check how the portfolio looks on a desktop and mobile device.
- Archive all your work.
- Be mindful of SEO.
- Proofread everything.
- Schedule time to revisit your portfolio.
- Save everything in a pdf format. It will be hard to update.
- Post all your work.
- Forget to include the story and results of the project.
- Expect to have everything perfect right away.
PS: Don’t forget to promote
You can create a campaign to build brand awareness. Pick pieces you are most proud of and link to them on your site.
Promoting it to the right audience is crucial. Missinglettr makes it easy to start sharing your content across your social media channels with only a few clicks — saving you time and money. Whether you’re a one-person show or a growing agency, Missinglettr has various plans for any team. Get started with a free trial today.