Want to freelance but samples are copyrighted. What to do?

8 replies
Hi All,

I have been working for an organization for the last three years as a content / copy writer. I want to make the shift now and start my own business. Unfortunately, almost all the samples that I could have showcased are copyrighted work written for clients of this company. How do I market myself in the absence of samples for certain kinds of work like landing pages & ad copies? I don't want to start as a fresher or work for free.


Your advice & guidance would be appreciated.
#copyrighted #freelance #samples
  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    Originally Posted by imdemigod View Post

    Hi All,

    I have been working for an organization for the last three years as a content / copy writer. I want to make the shift now and start my own business. Unfortunately, almost all the samples that I could have showcased are copyrighted work written for clients of this company. How do I market myself in the absence of samples for certain kinds of work like landing pages & ad copies? I don't want to start as a fresher or work for free.


    Your advice & guidance would be appreciated.
    If the content is online then why not link to the actual content you created?

    I wrote a huge amount of training materials for the Australian Government and although they own the copyright I'm still the Author so it only helps my cause when I reference the content that is publicly available on a gov website.

    You may find you gain authority by referencing the companies you have worked for and by providing links to the content.

    You could write the backstory of why you wrote such content.

    You know...the brief was to produce XYZ so this is how I approached the project blah blah blah. - If you want to see the result go here---> Link to content.

    In fact I'd say it is more powerful doing things that way than just showing content on your own site particularly if your site is unknown and the site you are referencing has influence.

    Linking to something another company is using is great social proof.

    Best regards,

    Ozi
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    • Profile picture of the author imdemigod
      Hi OziBoomer,

      Thanks a lot for your reply. I really appreciate your advice.

      When it comes to sharing online links, I can show some work I guess but majority of the clients of my company won't be comfortable with me showing the work. More importantly, I know for sure that my employer won't take to it kindly. They would in fact see me as their competitor.

      Nonetheless, thanks once again for your advice.

      Best Regards
      imdemigod
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I would not point to pages and say "I wrote those" - unless I had permission from the company that paid me to write them. Some clients are fine with it - some won't be. Some prospective clients won't be OK if you are releasing information about those you worked for in the past - people can be funny that way.

    How do I market myself in the absence of samples for certain kinds of work like landing pages & ad copies? I don't want to start as a fresher or work for free.
    You can create example landing pages and ad copy - you can use fictional brands and write a campaign around the brand and use that in a portfolio.

    Because you were working as an employee - it's probably not possible to track the results of your work because other company ads and other people are also involved in ad campaigns. That's my experience but may be different for you.

    Ozi makes some good points but I've written for non-govt companies that would not be OK with me pointing to my work on their sites. Have you asked the company you work for if you can use them in your portfolio as reference or use some of their pages as examples of your work, etc? That's where I would start.
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    • Profile picture of the author imdemigod
      Hi Kay King

      You hit the nail on the head.

      It is, as you say, not possible to track the results of my work for most people that I have written for. I know for sure that my employer won't like me telling them I am freelancing. So, this leaves me with the option of creating example landing pages & ad copies loosely based on what I have written or something totally new.

      Best Regards
      imdemigod
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    Start a blog, post your own content.

    Keep in mind the average buyer doesn't want to read 3 years of content/pages, a dozen pages is more than enough to make a decision.
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    • Profile picture of the author imdemigod
      True Yukon. I am, in fact, thinking of starting a blog about content marketing. It is really low on the priority list of companies out here.
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  • Profile picture of the author sledge81
    Start you own blog and build content there. You never know when you might find it useful. If you are on linkedin, try to get some endorsements and testimonials from your ex-colleagues which is the next best thing compared to the copyrighted articles.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marketing4life
    If you already established a name for yourself as an author, you can surely directly link to the article that has been published with your name under it. I think should be all the samples that you would need.
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