Are you a freelance writer struggling to market your writing services and stand out in the large pool of online writers?
The writing industry is increasingly getting flooded as more people quit corporate jobs to join the world of freelancing. So, how do you stand out among writers and come out as the most suitable candidate for your target clients?
The answer lies in a well-organized freelance writing portfolio.
In this blog post, I’ll explore what a freelance writing portfolio is and why it’s important to your freelance business. I’ll also guide you through the process of creating a professional writing portfolio that opens doors to exciting online writing opportunities.
What’s a Freelance Writing Portfolio?
A freelance writing portfolio is a collection of your best writing samples hosted on a website or an online platform that potential clients can view.
Think of it as your virtual resume that showcases your talent and experiences to the world. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced writer, clients will always want to see your previous work before they can hire you.
Clients can trust you to work on their projects just by viewing your portfolio.
Through your portfolio, they can get a taste of your writing style, your skills, and your ability to write the type of content they want.
Importance of a Freelance Writing Portfolio
Every writer should have a writing portfolio. Without one, it’s difficult to establish yourself and win your dream clients in the competitive writing space.
Here are some of the guaranteed benefits of creating an impressive freelance writing portfolio:
- Showcase your skills and expertise: Through your writing portfolio, you can demonstrate your ability to craft high-quality, engaging content on different writing niches. It also enables you to showcase your experience in writing different types of content, such as blog articles, landing pages, and website copy, among others.
- Builds credibility: A strong portfolio helps you build credibility and makes your potential clients trust you since they can see your ability. This makes them have confidence that you can successfully handle their project when hired.
- Attracts high-value clients: A compelling portfolio acts as a powerful marketing tool that sets you apart from the competition and brings high-value clients to you.
- Increased job opportunities: When clients see the quality and range of your writing samples, they are more likely to offer you new and better-paying projects to work on.
- Commands high rates: You can use a strong and well-organized portfolio to make clients see the value you’re bringing to the table. This can help you justify higher rates, and clients may be more willing to pay you higher when they like your portfolio.
Types of Freelance Writing Portfolio
There are two types of portfolio you can use when applying for freelance writing jobs: The general portfolio and the specialized portfolio.
1. General portfolio
A general portfolio is a collection of your best writing work covering a wide range of topics, styles, and industries.
It showcases your versatility and ability to handle different types of writing projects.
This type of portfolio is ideal for writers who have not niched down and are open to working on diverse projects.
For instance, your general portfolio may include samples of blog posts, creative writing, marketing copy, product descriptions, and social media content that you’ve written for different industries (e.g., health, finance, technology, and digital marketing).
It gives your potential clients a broad overview of your abilities and shows that you can help them handle a wide range of content when hired.
2. Specialized/niche-specific portfolio
A specialized or niche-specific portfolio is one that’s targeted toward a specific freelance writing niche or industry.
Unlike a general portfolio, which displays a broad range of writing styles, this type of portfolio showcases your expertise in a particular niche.
For instance, if your writing niche is technology, your portfolio can mainly feature tech-related articles, blog posts on IT trends, software reviews, and other relevant content.
Also, if you’re looking for writing gigs in the travel industry, your specialized portfolio will emphasize travel articles, destination guides, hotel reviews, and related materials.
The best thing about a specialized portfolio is that it allows you to cater to the needs of a particular target audience. This increases your chances of landing online writing jobs in your preferred niche.
7 Best Sites for Creating a Professional-looking Portfolio
If you ask me, the best place to display your online writing portfolio would be on your own writer’s website.
But don’t worry if you don’t have your own writer website yet. There are several sites online that can help you build a professional-looking portfolio fast and host it for you.
While some of these sites are free, some will charge you a small fee to host your writing portfolio online.
Let’s explore seven of the most popular portfolio sites and their features:
1. Journo Portfolio
Journo Portfolio is a popular portfolio platform that’s specifically designed for journalists, photographers, graphic designers, and writers.
It offers user-friendly templates that you can use to create an elegant and highly customizable portfolio.
Some of its impressive features include multiple themes, images, fonts, backgrounds, and colors that you can use to make your portfolio look attractive.
It also allows you to publish content directly on the site or import files from other platforms using a URL or PDF upload.
As a freelance writer, you can use Journo Portfolio to showcase your sample, articles, blog posts, and other written works with ease.
The free version allows you to showcase up to 10 articles, but you’ll need to pay $5/month to display an unlimited number of articles
2. Muck Rack
Muck Rack is primarily known as a media database and a PR platform.
Though it’s specifically designed for PR professionals and journalists, writers can also use this platform to build their portfolios.
You can create a visually appealing page of your sample work and share it with potential clients. You can also find journalists on this platform to sell your interesting articles to.
Setting up a portfolio on Much Rack is easy since the software automatically compiles your articles in one organized place.
It also has a “Who Shared My Link” feature that enables you to see people who have shared your articles and the number of people who have engaged with them on different social platforms.
Muck Rack is free for journalists, but you can still use it for free as a freelancer.
Did you know you can also build a great freelance writing portfolio on LinkedIn?
Every online writer should have a LinkedIn profile! While it’s a professional networking site, LinkedIn serves as an amazing platform to display your writing portfolio.
Many clients will check your LinkedIn profile to see if you’ve published any work samples before hiring you.
LinkedIn has various spots on which you can showcase your writing samples:
- The ‘Activity’ section that shows your latest activity
- The ‘Experience’ section, which highlights your writing experience
- The ‘Articles’ section, where you can write and publish your best article.
- The ‘Featured’ section, where you can highlight articles you’d like your potential clients to see first.
Here’s an example of my portfolio on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has always been a great marketing platform for writers and one of the best places to find high-value writing clients.
Building a portfolio on Linkedin is absolutely free, and it positions you as an expert in your chosen field.
Medium is a popular blogging platform that allows writers to publish and share their work with a vast audience.
As a freelance writer, you can create a Medium profile and start writing articles and stories to demonstrate your writing skills and expertise.
Since it has a large community of writers and readers, your articles can also be shared on different platforms, opening doors to more writing opportunities.
You can either write articles directly on Medium or import them from your blog.
When applying for writing jobs, all you need to do is copy the link to your medium profile and send it to your target client for them to see your published articles.
You can use Medium for free or sign up for a $5/month membership to read an unlimited number of articles from other writers.
Contently is not just a portfolio platform but also a content marketing platform that connects writers with brands and businesses.
Any freelance writer can build a portfolio and access potential job opportunities through Contently.
You can upload as many articles as you want at no cost and win writing gigs from big companies like Walmart.
Here is an example of my portfolio on Contently
Portfoliobox is another versatile portfolio website builder that’s suitable for various creatives, including freelance writers.
It offers visually stunning templates you can use to create an impressive portfolio that reflects your style and brand.
It allows you to style different portfolio pages differently to reflect your unique style and creativity.
You can start with the light package that goes for $3.5/month and upgrade to Pro Plus at $12.5/month according to your needs.
Clippings.me is designed specifically for writers, journalists, and bloggers.
It allows writers to create a clean and simple portfolio showcasing their best writing samples.
You can build a professional portfolio in a matter of minutes and customize it to fit your desired look and feel. You can also add your biography or import it from your social profile, like Twitter.
Additionally, clippings.me allows you to embed multimedia elements like YouTube introductory videos or audio files within your writing portfolio.
This writing portfolio website is free to use for up to 10 articles. Beyond that, you can buy the premium package that goes for $9.99/month.
ClearVoice is a great place to showcase your freelance portfolio. In fact, it’s one of my favorites in this list. Here’s my ClearVoice portfolio or “CV” as they call it:
The best part about it is it discovers content that you’ve published out there and automatically sends you an email to add it to your portfolio.
This makes it super easy to build a portfolio here.
It’s also a content creation agency, meaning you can still get jobs from its pool of clients.
10. Elements of a Good Freelance Writing Portfolio
A good freelance writing portfolio should be well-organized, visually appealing, and effectively showcase your skills and expertise to your potential clients.
Here are ten essential elements to include in your portfolio:
- Introduction/homepage: A good portfolio should start with a brief introduction of who you are, the type of content you specialize in, and your strengths as a writer.
- About Me or Bio: Include an “About Me” section that provides additional information about your background, experience, and writing journey. Here, you can tell a short personal story for clients to know you better and connect with you as a writer.
- Work Samples: Your portfolio should include a selection of your best and most relevant writing samples. You can include samples from different industries if you’re a generalist or from your specific niche if you’re a niche writer.
- Testimonials or Recommendations: A strong portfolio should have a section for testimonials or recommendations from previous clients. They help to add credibility and build trust with potential clients. However, you may not have them if you’re a beginner, and that’s ok!
- Contact Information: Include your contact information or a contact form so that clients can easily reach out for inquiries or job opportunities. You can also add links to your social profiles so clients can further explore your online presence.
- Call to Action (CTA): Encourage potential clients to take action by including a clear call to action. It could be a link to contact you, hire your services, or view more of your work.
- Clear Navigation: Your portfolio should be easy to navigate. Use clear headings and categories for different types of writing, making it simple for visitors to scan through.
- Visuals and formatting: A good portfolio should also incorporate visuals such as images, videos, thumbnails, or icons to enhance its visual appeal.
- Formatting and design: Ensure the formatting is consistent and keep the design clean and professional.
- Regular Updates: Finally, a good portfolio should be regularly updated with your latest and best work. Regularly remove outdated or less relevant samples and add new pieces to showcase your ongoing growth as a writer.
How to Create an Impressive Portfolio From Scratch
Ready to start creating your freelance writing portfolio to showcase your skills and attract new clients?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create an impressive one from scratch:
Step 1: Define Your Niche
One of the best ways to earn more money in freelance writing is to niche down. When starting, you can start as a general writer writing in all sorts of niches. However, it’s good to later focus on one or a few niches that pay you the most.
That means specialized portfolios convert better than general portfolios.’
Before you start building your portfolio, choose the niche or industries you want to focus on and identify your target audience. For instance, you can decide to focus on alternative health in the health and wellness industry.
This will help you curate relevant and compelling writing samples that are likely to attract lucrative writing opportunities.
Step 2: Collect Your Best Work
Once you’ve chosen your niche or niches, gather your best writing samples that represent your expertise in that particular niche and upload them.
If you don’t have published work, write something and publish it TODAY on Linkedin or Medium.
However, if you have samples already published on other platforms, you can import them using their URLs.
Step 3: Choose a Portfolio Platform
Now that you have the portfolio samples, select a platform on which you want to build your portfolio.
You can choose one or two platforms from the ones discussed above to host your portfolio.
When choosing, go for a user-friendly platform with customizable templates that you can personalize to suit your style and preferences.
Step 4: Create an Engaging Homepage
Now it’s time to start building.
Start by creating an attractive and engaging homepage for your portfolio. The homepage should make a strong first impression on your prospective client.
On the homepage, craft an engaging introduction that highlights your skills and specialization and includes a professional photo of yourself.
Step 5: Upload Your Best Work
Once you’ve designed your homepage, upload and feature a diverse selection of your best work samples.
You can include different types of writing, such as blog posts, copywriting, landing pages, or any other relevant content that demonstrates your versatility.
For each writing sample, add a brief description or context explaining the purpose of the piece, the target audience, and any notable outcomes or feedback received.
Step 6: Organize Your Portfolio
To make it easier to navigate, create clear categories or sections to organize your work samples.
Consider grouping your samples based on topics, industries, or writing styles so clients can find what they are looking for.
Remember, it’s better to showcase a few outstanding pieces rather than numerous mediocre ones.
Step 7: Incorporate Visuals
Once you’ve finished organizing your portfolio, enhance its visual appeal by adding relevant images, thumbnails, or icons that complement your articles.
Also, ensure the overall design is clean, professional, and easy to read.
Step 8: Include Testimonials or Recommendations
If you have received positive feedback from clients or editors, add testimonials or recommendations to build credibility and trust.
You can add them as screenshots or dedicate a page for ‘testimonials’ in the portfolio.
Here is a screenshot of one of the testimonials on my portfolio page.
Step 9: Proofread, Edit, and Publish
Before publishing, double-check your portfolio for any spelling or grammatical errors. Your portfolio should be free of mistakes, demonstrating your attention to detail as a writer.
Publishing Your Portfolio On Your Website
Do you have a personal website or a blog where you share stories with your readers?
If so, building a writing portfolio should be easier for you. All you need to do is create a new page named ‘Portfolio’ and start uploading your portfolio samples.
Here are some tips you can use to help you build an impressive portfolio on your website:
1. Use Plugins or Page Builders
If your website is built on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, install plugins or page builders to help you build your portfolio fast.
WordPress has a variety of portfolio plugins with user-friendly templates and customization options that can help you showcase your samples effectively.
Some of them include WP Portfolio, Spotlight, Visual Portfolio, and Go Portfolio.
2. Organize Samples by Type/Niche
To make them more organized, create clear and distinct categories or sections for your writing samples.
You may group them based on topics, industries, or writing styles for visitors to easily find the type of articles they are looking for.
3. Include Links to Published Work
If you want to include articles that have been published on external websites, you can copy and paste their links directly onto the portfolio page.
Articles published on other websites help to add credibility and show that other people recognize your work.
4. Use a Clean and Simple Design
Ensure the design of your portfolio page is clean and uncluttered.
When customizing the page, give it a simple and elegant layout that ensures your articles take center stage.
Too many design elements may overshadow your articles and divert attention.
5. Add Eye-catching Thumbnails
As with any other portfolio site, add visually appealing thumbnails, icons, or images for each writing sample.
These will catch the potential client’s attention and entice them to explore further.
6. Have a Clear CTA on the Page
Every portfolio page should include a clear Call-to-Action (CTA) to tell your visitors what to do next.
This could be a button or link inviting them to contact you or explore your services further on the ‘Services’ page.
7. Ensure It’s Responsive and Easy to Navigate
Prospective clients will access your portfolio from different devices.
Therefore, test it on different devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones, to ensure it’s responsive and that every element displays properly.
Also, ensure the navigation is intuitive and user-friendly so your visitors won’t get frustrated and leave.
Promoting and Sharing Your Writing Portfolio
It’s not enough to build an attractive portfolio— you want to share and promote it to get in front of your target audience and convert.
Once you’ve built your portfolio, take time to promote and share it on various platforms regularly.
Here are various ways you can promote your portfolio to reach your target audience:
- Share it on your social media profiles or pages
- Share it on various niche-specific social media groups
- Mention it in your email signature
- Include the link in your professional profiles and author bios
- Include the link as part of a comment when engaging in discussion forums
- Share engaging posts on social media (e.g LinkedIn) and include a link to your portfolio.
Writing Portfolio for New Freelance Writers
Even new freelance writers need a writing portfolio. But how can you create a portfolio if you have no samples to show yet?
Here are three effective strategies you can use to create a strong writing portfolio if you’re a beginner:
1. Write Sample Articles
If you have no quality samples to publish, start writing articles right away!
Choose a topic you like or that aligns with your educational background. You can also write on a diverse range of topics to demonstrate your versatility as a writer.
Make sure you do thorough research and write the articles in an interesting and engaging style. After writing, proofread, edit, and get someone to review them before publishing them on your blog or online portfolio.
Three to four high-quality articles will do.
Once you start writing for clients, you can update your portfolio by replacing the existing samples with better ones.
2. Try Guest Posting
Another highly effective way to build your portfolio as a beginner is to look out for guest posting opportunities and write guest posts for other people’s blogs.
Reach out to established blogs or publications in your niche and offer to write guest posts for them.
You can also do a simple Google search with the keywords: “We accept guest posts” or “Write for Us.”
There are hundreds of websites and blogs that accept blog posts. Just ensure you read their submission guidelines before reaching out.
Before submitting your guest post, remember to include an author bio with links to your favorite social sites for the blog readers to find you.
Here’s a sample of my author bio on one of my guest posts.
3. Write for a Friend’s Site
If you have a friend or acquaintance with a website or blog, you can offer to write a guest blog or contribute content for them.
You’ll not only gain writing experience to show to prospective clients, but your friend will also appreciate your contribution to their site.
Freelance Writing Portfolio Examples
Do you need some inspiration on how to start building an impressive portfolio for your online writing business?
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what your portfolio should look like on different platforms:
1. Robin Van Gammeren on Journo Portfolio
Robin Van is a journalist, writer, and Videographer.
She uses her professional portfolio on Journo Portfolio to display some of her best work samples online.
You can see how she uses a colorful design and attractive images to add visual appeal to her portfolio.
2. Carol Tice on LinkedIn
Carol Tice is a famous writer and the founder of the Freelance Writer’s Den.
If you check her LinkedIn profile, you’ll see how she’s displayed some of her best articles in the ‘Featured’ section.
This is her portfolio on LinkedIn, which prospective clients can check and reach out to her if they like her writing style.
3. Elna Cain on Medium
Elna Cain is the founder of elnacain.com – another site for freelance writers.
She has her portfolios spread across several sites, and Medium is one of them.
As you can see, Elna has published several articles on Medium and categorized them in terms of topic for easier navigation.
4. Jacqueline Smith on Clippings.me
Jacqueline Smith’s portfolio is a perfect example of a writing portfolio built on clippings.me.
The introduction is like a short resume that summarises who she is, what she does, her skills, and her experience as a writer.
It’s then followed by n organized list of her published articles with attractive thumbnails on them.
How do I make a freelance writing portfolio?
To make a freelance writing portfolio, select a portfolio website and then gather your best writing samples to show off. Upload or publish your samples and organize them by type or niche for easy navigation. Build an engaging homepage and add visuals to make your portfolio attractive.
Do freelance writers need a portfolio?
Yes, having a freelance writing portfolio is essential for every freelance writer. It helps to showcase your writing skills, expertise, and style to a potential client. Your portfolio provides evidence of your writing abilities, builds credibility, and helps you land writing jobs faster.
What should be included in a writer’s portfolio?
A good writer portfolio should include a brief introduction of yourself, an About Me section, samples of your best works organized in categories, testimonials, and a call to action (CTA). It should also have your contact information for clients to easily reach out to you for inquiries.
How do I create a freelance writing portfolio with no experience?
If you have no experience, you can still create a freelance writing portfolio by writing sample articles on topics that interest you. You can also offer to write guest posts for established blogs or publications or write for a friend’s site.
What should a freelance writer portfolio look like?
A freelance writer’s portfolio should have a clean and simple design that highlights your writing samples. It should have a user-friendly layout with clear categories that are easy to navigate. It should also include engaging visuals and consistent formatting that complement its content.
A freelance writing portfolio is among the essential tools that every online writer needs under their belt. Without one, it becomes quite difficult to navigate the competitive market.
A professional-looking portfolio will speak volumes for you and make your potential client trust your ability to deliver. With portfolio user-friendly platforms like Journo Portfolio and Clippings.me, building a writing portfolio is now as simple as drag-and-drop!
If you’re a new freelance writer, focus on producing quality content and gradually building your portfolio with each new writing opportunity. For seasoned writers, it’s important to continuously update and refine your portfolio as you gain more experience.
With enough effort, your portfolio will open doors for more exciting opportunities and help you earn more money online.