As a marketer, you might scoff at the idea of a portfolio, thinking it fits only writers, designers, artists, developers, and the like. But that's not true anymore.
With everything moving online, most marketers are, in some form or the other, "digital marketers." And hence, the need arises to express said "digital-ness" through an online portfolio. Cover letters and résumés are passé, and networking, while super helpful, can be enhanced if you have an online digital marketing portfolio.
The reasons for having a portfolio are the same as for other professionals: get more work by showcasing skills and abilities to potential employers and potential clients, and have a record of all your work.
As someone with over a decade of experience in digital marketing, I've found that, time and again, I'm left answering potential clients' questions that just can't be covered in a LinkedIn profile or CV.
With that in mind, let's dive deeper into why you need a digital marketing portfolio, what it should look like, and how to create one. We'll round it off with a look at a few marketing portfolio examples.
Why you need a digital marketing portfolio
1. Important to have examples of your work
"Show, don't tell" is one of the mantras of storytelling. In the same way, exhibiting examples of your work instead of just talking about them are two starkly contrasting methods of engaging with potential clients or potential employers. In a way, the medium becomes the message: an excellent digital marketing portfolio can be the story that narrates your career exploits. And people love stories.
Hence, showcasing your work is more impressive – and you're much likelier to book the gig. Your storied past is a boon and an asset in these negotiations.
Besides the professional reasons mentioned above, it's always a good idea to look back on the work you’ve done to see how far you've come and how much you've grown and to reflect on the different little anecdotes that make up the whole story of your working life. Having this record is important: you can peruse old ideas by traversing the sands of time for older nuggets of wisdom; this process can stand you in good stead for the future.
2. Leads to new connections, clients, or job opportunities
A well-managed digital marketing portfolio will lead you to bigger and better things. It's kind of like a résumé but with far more depth, creativity, fullness, and meaning.
A well-written résumé is a snapshot of your achievements (not just a list of your tasks and responsibilities, which are terribly-written résumés and should be avoided at all costs!) and hence a window into the results you have driven. It speaks to the what but not the how of your career.
A portfolio shows off your skills better. It lays bare the contents of the work that you've been doing. And that often results in potential clients and employers getting in touch because they can now see the what and the how of your achievements.
3. Lends credence to your reputation
By exhibiting how you achieved stellar results in your career, your digital marketing portfolio speaks volumes about the person behind the work. It helps build credibility, and prospects are likely to view you with a wealth of trust, even before a conversation takes place.
To that end, it's critical to keep your portfolio updated. An up-to-date portfolio shows you're engaged and dedicated. As a busy marketer, I've often let the business of updating my portfolio website fall by the wayside. But keeping it updated can go a long way to cementing your reputation, and a self-updating portfolio service like Authory can be a godsend.
4. Sets you apart from the competition
Following on from the previous point, we know that marketers are busy, and hence not every digital marketer has a portfolio. Most make do with LinkedIn profiles, résumés, networking, outdated marketing portfolios (for some), and sheer luck. By creating an up-to-date digital marketing portfolio, you're differentiating yourself from the multitude.
What the ideal digital marketing portfolio should have
The ideal digital marketing portfolio will:
- allow you to flaunt your accomplishments;
- build trust and credibility in the eyes of prospects;
- let you stand out;
- and bring you more work through connections and other opportunities.
To create the perfect marketing portfolio, you'll need a good portfolio builder to lessen the load. To that end, I'll talk about all the aspects required in an ideal portfolio, but in conjunction, I'll also touch upon how a portfolio builder can aid you in this regard. It will throw light on how you should choose a platform to showcase your work.
1. Tangible content
It's easier for a writer, journalist, designer, or developer to create a portfolio website to showcase their work. For digital marketers, a lot of the work is strategy-driven, which involves thinking and planning, while implementation is often a team effort.
So, how do you display your digital marketing prowess in your portfolio?
The answer is to feature tangible assets in your portfolio, such as website content, ad content, social media marketing campaigns or individual posts, video content, podcast content, and the like.
In addition, credit your teammates who have helped execute your plans while expanding on your role in the team dynamic. You can do this in the "About" section of your portfolio or through collections (curated sections of your portfolio) – both of which should be present in your portfolio website builder of choice.
2. A great "About" section
The "About" section of your digital marketing portfolio needs to expound on your virtues in a concise manner that captivates and intrigues any potential employers or clients.
There isn't a single way to achieve this: some marketers prefer to elaborate on their accomplishments, while others opt for just a single line. If you're in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to follow a format that I've seen around a lot and is something that I've adopted myself:
- Start with a title that coalesces your career into a few words. I've gone for "Product-led Marketer | Startup Founder, Advisor & Consultant" to encapsulate the various aspects of my career. (I love using the "|" symbol to squeeze a few more details into my title.)
- Then expand on your current career stage. So, I'd say something like, "I'm the Director of Content Marketing at Authory."
- And then add a brief history of your recent work. I'd probably say, "Recently, I've been in the developer-tooling industry, working primarily in the content & SEO space for companies like Hasura (Series C of $100M). I've also been a marketing consultant to numerous startups from Seed-stage to Series C."
- If you like, you can conclude it by touching upon your past work. I usually go with, "In the past, I've run a branding, advertising & digital marketing agency for over seven years, where we served over 100 clients, including conglomerates like Vodafone, Ford, ITC, and Wipro."
The objective is to use language that illustrates the strategic and tactical nature of your work experience to potential clients and employers so that they have context on what you may have been responsible for.
Also, your "About" section is an excellent location for including your contact details or other contact information like social handles.
3. Featured client work
A lot of marketers question whether they can and should include client work in their portfolios. This is a no-brainer – the answer is a resounding yes! If there are any doubts about whether you're allowed to use a piece of content, do take permission and consent from your client.
In some cases, consent may not be forthcoming, depending on your contract and the level of confidentiality. And that's OK. This is common in the case of ghostwritten content, re-bylined content, and agency work.
That's where your portfolio builder can be a blessing. For example, with Authory – a self-updating portfolio builder & content backup service – you can create private collections and share them only on demand without the need to create a password for access. And because it's so easy to create collections, you can tailor them to each application or client instead of having a generic password-protected section on your portfolio.
Again, we're not advocating flouting contract tenets – consent is always key to all healthy relationships. That said, there are exceptional cases where you have to show your past work to get your next project. And in these cases, portfolio builders with private collections, like Authory, are a gift.
4. Your best work presented
Your digital marketing portfolio has to showcase your best work. This can and should be in all forms – as a digital marketer, you work with multiple formats and channels. And hence, your portfolio builder should accommodate all these various formats like web content, ads, social media marketing content, videos, podcasts, and more.
5. Collections, for all your work
Your portfolio has to be an accurate representation of your skills and experience — and hence should also be a collection of ALL your work — you cannot reduce years of work to just your five best pieces.
And if you include all your work, your portfolio will need to be well-organized and easy to navigate. An excellent portfolio builder will be able to account for such needs – via collections.
Your portfolio needs to be divided into curated sections that can then be easily parsed. I've spoken about this above: collections are helpful for ghostwritten content, agency work, topically segregated areas, format-divided portions, and more.
Ideally, search and filter functionality can add to the experience, allowing users to quickly find what they're looking for. Moreover, your portfolio needs to be easy on the eye – a storehouse of all your work will need to have good aesthetic sense for it to be convenient to go through.
6. Automatic updating
Content marketer Elise Dopson speaks about forgetting to update her portfolio here. Others don't necessarily forget but don't have time to spend on such tasks.
But it's super important to keep your digital marketing portfolio updated as it shows dedication, professionalism, and care. And it can be the difference between getting the next project or not.
Hence, your portfolio builder needs to be self-updating – all your new content must automatically be added to it.
Authory can do this: just add your sources, and Authory will scour the internet and automatically update your portfolio.
7. Backup functionality
Your ideal digital marketing portfolio should be backed up so you don't lose access to that content. Entropy is a force of nature that is always working against Order. For a digital marketer, that can mean losing your work because websites go down, social media campaigns get deleted, content gets archived, and more.
Hence, your portfolio builder should save backups of all your work – remember, the ideal portfolio has ALL your content.
Authory saves copies of all your content going back years. A bonus is that you can make deleted content available to a prospective client through Authory just by setting the copy stored on your Authory account to public visibility.
Search and filter functionality will allow you to peruse years of content at the click of a button. This harkens back to the top of this article – it's a great idea to reflect on your career and look through old ideas for inspiration and nostalgia.
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How to create a marketing portfolio: a step-by-step guide
We'll use Authory to show you how to create a marketing portfolio from scratch.
Step 1: Add sources
Sign up for Authory and add sources as shown below – Authory will import all the content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) from those websites.
All the content will be imported into your Authory Content inbox.
Step 2: Create collections
Navigate to the collections tab and create a collection, as shown below.
Follow the collection setup wizard to name the collection, add a description, set up rules for the collection, and more. You can also enable “auto-updating” for the collection here, so that all future content will automatically be added.
After the setup, your collection will look like this:
Step 3: Display your collection & design your portfolio
Now make your collection visible on your portfolio.
And then, use the customize tab on the left to beautify your portfolio.
Step 4: Write about yourself
Create a robust "About" section – you can follow the guidelines mentioned in this article above.
Step 5: Share with your prospective clients & employers
Share your portfolio with potential clients and employers.
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Marketing portfolio examples
Let's look at some digital marketing portfolio examples – all built on Authory.
Marijana has divided her portfolio into sections that a marketing professional should definitely consider, especially email marketing, content marketing, and video marketing.
Elise has opted to just stick to a singular collection. Authory's search and filter functions will come in handy for any viewer.
Note how Andrew has a separate section for when he has been featured or quoted – excellent for content about you that is different from content by you.
Khalid El Khatib
Khalid has opted for a super minimalist look. Again, search and filter functions will be extremely helpful here.
Note how William has collections of ghostwritten content, marketing content, and more!
Why Authory is the perfect portfolio builder
Authory is a content marketer/freelance writer’s dream! One aspect I dread about having a website is manually updating my portfolio to ensure it’s recent and showcasing my best work. Now, Authory does that for me, saving me time and headspace while allowing me to maintain my brand. My portfolio has been a great swap, allowing me to send relevant content samples to prospects quickly, and it works great as a supplement to a writer’s resume.
Automatic & self-updating
During setup, you connect sources to your Authory account. Once this is done, Authory will find all the content associated with your name on those websites and import it into your account. And whenever a new piece of content is published by you or about you on any other sites, Authory will automatically self-update and import that content as well. Hence, your portfolio will continuously be updated without you having to do a thing.
It's always a good idea to back up your content. There are too many stories of marketers losing access to the content they've created. With Authory, you can back up everything – that's content on websites, socials, YouTube, and more. And you'll always have access to it, forever. This means that you have proof of the work you've done, with you, always. And that's a powerful thing.
Search and filter functionality
To look through all your content quickly, Authory provides you and your audience with search and filter functionality to find any piece of content. This is especially useful when you have backed up years of content – something I strongly advise doing.
Dividing your work into carefully curated sections is the best way to present your portfolio to potential employers and clients. To do this with ease, Authory gives you collections that can be used for special cases like ghostwritten content, re-bylined articles, content where the byline has been removed; or to simply separate your content by topic, type, and more.
Import social media content
Authory can import content from regular websites as well as social media sites like Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, and Instagram (coming soon!). So, as a social media marketer or content marketer who repurposes content for social media, you're now easily able to add all that content to your portfolio. Generally, portfolio services have trouble with social media content and repurposed content, but Authory handles it all.
Track social stats
With Authory, you can do so much more than just setting up a portfolio — you can also track social stats without asking clients for sensitive data. When you import any piece of content, Authory will find ALL the social media engagement data associated with that item. As a marketing professional, this can be useful in the following ways:
- You learn the TRUE engagement metrics for a content piece. To explain this, I'll use an example: let's say I share this article on LinkedIn. Obviously, I can view the number of times the article gets shared on my LinkedIn account. But then, let's say, my friend Tara shares the article on her Twitter account. And her friend Nina, who I've never met, shares it on Facebook. In Authory, I can see the total shares: the shares from my account on LinkedIn + the shares from Tara on Twitter + the shares from Nina on Facebook, thus giving me a more holistic and truer view of social engagement. As a marketer, this information is gold! We love BuzzSumo, and this is very similar to what they do, but Authory is affordable for individuals while BuzzSumo targets companies.
- You can share and export this engagement data with potential employers and clients.
- You can dig into the data by using Authory's search and filter functions – remember, ALL the social engagement data from when the content piece was first published is available for you to look through and analyze.
- Authory will send you a weekly email telling you the number of social shares that week for both your recent content and the older stuff, which is super helpful for evergreen and trending content as you can get on top of it.
YouTube & podcast content
Authory also imports and backs up your YouTube and podcast content. Look at Liz Fong-Jones' portfolio – she has articles, social posts, videos, and podcasts in her Authory account.
We've heard of instances where YouTube creators lost access to their entire channel overnight. With Authory, you can have a backup of your entire channel along with all the stats.
Bonus: Content about you
Authory will also find, import, and back up content created about you and not just content created by you. Look at Adam Kovacevich's portfolio – he has separate collections for interviews he does on podcasts and broadcasts.