Last week’s article was all about Print Portfolios — how to put one together, what to include, why it matters to have an easy-to-follow flow of information. This week, the contents of a strong Digital Portfolio are the focus.
Just as with the Print Portfolio, no one wants to wade through a cluttered Digital Portfolio. You want to keep this streamlined as well although you can provide more content as long as each folder within the Digital Portfolio is easy to follow Since you’re less likely to be able to customize this Portfolio for each customer or the media, it’s important to provide a solid cross-section of your accomplishments, abilities, skills and talents.
Keep the language simple by steering clear of industry lingo that’s not found in everyday conversations at the local coffee shops. While you and others in your industry know the lingo, prospective clients and some mainstream media may not be as conversant in the buzz words. Stay away from slang, especially when it may have an alternate meaning to those who aren’t in the know about slang terminology. What’s more, the familiar slang and lingo you use today may fall out of favor more quickly than you anticipated, leaving your Digital Portfolio looking and sounding more dated than it is.
Create categories that flow easily and coherently. This doesn’t mean you can’t include a news story twice if it fits into two categories. For example, if you win an award for your work, the news story can easily fit into the “News Clippings” folder and the “Awards” folder. Just remember to make sure that what you include in each folder makes sense to include. After all, if the tie-in isn’t readily apparent and understandable to someone going through your Portfolio, its ineffectiveness could work against you.
In a digital format, you can afford to include more than the 1 or 2 high quality photographs of a Print Portfolio. But that doesn’t mean you should overwhelm people with endless photographs of your product, your talent and yourself. Choose between 4 and 6 excellent photographs that will reproduce well in print media and show well for broadcast media, and label them clearly so the flow makes sense to your audience.
Thinking of including video clips? Make sure that the format is one that will play back without constantly buffering.
Thinking of including music? Make sure you have copyright clearance if you don’t own the copyright to the music you’re including. Nothing will shut down your business or project as quickly as being sued by copyright owners for infringing on their protected works!
Include only your best work and/or reviews just as you would with the Print Portfolio. After all, this is the virtual version of “dress to impress.”
Finally, decide the medium you’ll be using to present your Digital Portfolio. Are you burning it to CD-R or DVD-R? Are you storing it on USB keys or other portable memory devices? Will it be uploaded to a website to be viewed online? Whatever medium you decide on, make sure that your Digital Portfolio presents exactly how you intend it to present.
Rather than take chances with assuming the Digital Portfolio is good to go, if you have any doubts, talk to a professional in the field who has experience with creating Digital Portfolios.