A writer’s portfolio is an essential tool to get more clients and build a personal brand. It is not a simple business card; it is a presentation of your skills and expertise. Some might think that it is not that big of a deal to have one.
But in reality, any professional writer needs to have one. If you do not know why and how to create a writing portfolio, this post is for you.
What is writing portfolio for?
Let’s start with what it is actually about. The writing portfolio holds the best examples of your work and demonstrates what you can offer to new clients. And it also highlights your writing niche.
Even if you are a beginner or generalist, you need to have one; it just will be more diverse in topics and forms.
Should I make a writer’s portfolio? Yes, you definitely should. And here are the main reasons why:
- It helps to get more work. As simple as that, if you are interested in new ways to earn as a writer and how to find new customers – it is the way to go. Every client wants to know what they can expect and what they are ordering. No diploma or certificate will be as effective as a portfolio in demonstrating your expertise.
- To sell your writing. For example, if you have a couple of pieces in stock, you can sell them via a freelance writer portfolio.
- It is necessary to build your brand. A personal brand relies hugely on online performance. It goes along with being active on social media, creating a blog, and crafting an excellent freelance writing portfolio.
So whatever your niche is and whatever goals you have – there is no way around it. The portfolio is a must-have for an expert in the industry. Now, let’s talk about how to make a writer’s portfolio step-by-step.
How to create a writing portfolio
Do not worry, even if you are a beginner, you can still do it and update as your career grows. Here are several steps to take.
What does a writing portfolio look like? You can find a writing mentor who will guide you through the whole process or start researching on your own. The layout depends on personal preferences, but it usually includes these parts:
- 10-30 sample pieces;
- Layout or site presentation;
- Social media handles;
- Clear Call to Action;
- Recommendations (optional but if you have them – it is a plus!).
For example, this portfolio is slick, professional-looking, yet laconic. Now, let’s craft your portfolio!
Define Your Goals
Writing a sample portfolio is a lot like writing any other piece you’ve done – you need to have a clear objective and audience in mind. Objective means goal – what do you want to achieve. We’ve got them covered previously. It will help to choose what text exactly to put into the presentation.
The audience is who you want to attract or interest in your works. Generally, it corresponds with your writing niche.
For example, if you are looking for business writing gigs, put in press releases, study cases, and presentations you’ve done. On contrary, if you are interested in comedy writing jobs, you can choose blog posts, scenarios, or sketches you’ve done.
What to put in a writing portfolio depends on what type of gigs you want to land.
You can also include several types of writing and divide them into sections. But do not put all types because usually, clients look for someone with a specific set of skills and experience.
If you want to cater to different niches, you can create a couple of portfolios instead of mixing them all together.
Choose What to Put in a Writing Portfolio
The easiest way to select specific texts is by creating a spreadsheet with all your publications. It can be in the form of an outline that shares all your latest achievements. And from there you can find the best ones that illustrate your skills.
Usually, a writer’s portfolio holds 10-30 pieces. So 10 are fine, and 30 are enough. There is no need to put everything in – clients will just get lost in the pile of texts.
If there are several categories of texts – make sure you divide them and organize them neatly.
Decide on Portfolio Hosting
Basically, there are two ways to post it online – on your website or a hosting website.
I personally believe that having your website is always better. There you can host a blog, and get all the benefits a personal platform can give. Actually, you are now reading my blog post at my personal blog 😉
And I believe it is essential for building a strong personal brand. Here is a perfect example of a powerful portfolio on a personal website.
But choosing one of the existing websites is also a valid point. I’ll list the best ones later in this guide. The pro tip is that you can actually have it posted on several platforms.
This is another crucial part of your presentation. Biography is a short description of who you are and what you are good at. Remember that it is a self-promoting piece, so there is room for being shy and insecure here.
How to put together a writing portfolio biography? Here is what to include:
- Your professional name;
- Job title – freelance writer, journalist, academic writer, content creator, etc. Choose what represent you the best;
- Short description. It includes what exactly you offer, what type of work you specialize on, etc. Be creative; use your unique style and voice. And do not be too boring or abstract – it is not a resume;
- Experience. If you have more than 10 years of experience in this niche, it is worth mentioning;
- Social Media links. Include those socials that look professional, like LinkedIn and Twitter.
You can also list recommendations with sources and put a call to action. If you have been working in similar niches, for example in the freelance proofreading world, you can also mention this experience. A call to action is what you want readers to do. It can be as simple as “Contact now” or “Reach out”.
Work on the Design
Here comes the fun part – designing the whole thing. The specifics depend on your style and goals, but there are several important rules, namely:
- Keep it simple and clean, so it is easy to navigate and read;
- Organize samples logically;
- Make sure that the page works fine on mobile devices;
- Use professional-looking fonts and colors (no Comic Sans!);
- Consider including thumbnail images (Here is a good example of a portfolio with thumbnails – it looks amazing);
- Optionally add hard-copy samples, like PDF or Google Docs.
And do not forget to use copywriting approach – including a couple of keywords and SEO-friendly captions.
Here you go – how to make a writing portfolio guide is complete! All that is left is to post it and share it on your social media or other platforms. Include a link to it in your bio you use for guest posts.
Update it as your list of works grows, the samples should not be older than 2 years.
Websites to host your writer’s portfolio on
Now you know exactly how to build a writing portfolio, but maybe you do not have your own site and you need to choose an existing platform. Here are several good ones for you.
This is one of the most beloved platforms by freelance authors as it was created specifically for this purpose. It is user-friendly and fast to set up. You can add links and PDF files here as well as multimedia files. For example, you can even add your podcast to your portfolio, if you have one.
My favorite part of this website is that it is incredibly easy to use. You do not need to have any specific technical skills for setting it up. There is a free version where you can add up to 10 samples.
The pro subscription costs around $10 per month. Pro subscription gives such features as SEO, privacy, password-protection, Google Analytics plugin, and unlimited samples.
It is yet another professionally done platform for writer’s portfolios. It is also simple to use and beginner-friendly. There are many pre-made themes to choose from for your presentation.
Another good thing is that the number of samples is not limited. And you can also add attachments. There is no free subscription, but there is a free demo to try before making a purchase. The service costs $4 per month.
As the name suggests, this website is targeted at journalists and freelance writers. It is slick-looking and has examples to get inspired by. There are six themes to select for your writer’s portfolio webpage. You can add any number of pages and content blocks.
You can also either put links on or upload different types of files, including PDF and multimedia. The site support images and videos.
There is a cool feature here – the site shows how many visitors you have and how long they’ve been on the site. The free subscription allows up to 10 samples. And there is a pro version that costs $5-10 per month. It gives a personal domain and an unlimited number of samples.
Format is not only for writers but also for other creators, like photographers and designers. The best part of it is that it is automatically optimized for mobile devices.
There is a decent collection of themes to choose from. Other perks of this platform include unlimited samples, copyright protection, social media integration, and support of various multimedia files.
There is no free subscription, but there is a free two weeks trial period. There are several plans that cost about $12-25 per month. But they also give access to SEO tools and constant support.
Except for my personal website portfolio, I’m also using Contently as a place for my writer’s portfolio. Take into account that, like the Format, this website can be used not only for your writings, but for your visuals, audio, and other types of content work.
You know how to build a writing portfolio and where to go
A portfolio for a writer is a necessity if you want to be successful and well-known in this job. Devote your time and effort to crafting the best presentation of your skills and expertise and you’ll get results fast.
Share your links to awesome writer’s portfolios in the comments section below to help other readers. Will be happy to check them out.
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