If you’re new to freelance writing and started scouring the internet, I bet you’ve asked yourself, “How do I create a content writing portfolio?” So…how do you create a portfolio? This post will show you writing portfolio examples so you can create an epic website that attracts clients. Anytime you start something new it’s always uncomfortable. Freelance writing and building an online business is no different. But no need to worry, I got you covered. I was there myself not too long ago. After leaving a lucrative six-figure job to build a business, I quickly found that I needed freelance writing income to keep me afloat. I took online courses, listened to podcasts, and read everything I could to start my freelance writing career. And it worked! Within a few months, I knew how to cold pitch clients, offer services, and build my professional writing portfolio on my website. If you want to become a freelance writer you need to have a home base (i.e. a website or portfolio) to help you establish yourself. Here’s everything you need to know about designing an epic portfolio.
Writing Portfolio Examples
Why You Need a Freelance Writing PortfolioYour writing portfolio is one of the first touch-points that can turn a prospect into a paying client. Honestly, though, I’m not a huge fan of the word portfolio. Portfolio to me means going into some 9-5 job trying to put food on your table for your family. Your freelance writing portfolio is more than just that page on your site. It’s showing clients around the world who you are and what you do. The portfolio is just one piece of the puzzle. Your goal is to create a freelance website that showcases your expertise with samples and helps you convert clients. And it’s not something static. You’re always going to want to revamp with more client testimonials, pictures, and more professional themes over time. Back in late 2017, after taking Earn More Writing I quickly understood in need for a professional writing portfolio and website. And I’m so glad I did. Once I created it (in a few hours, on my own) I instantly showed up more experienced and had something to showcase my books, articles, and samples. Otherwise, clients aren’t really sure if they can trust you. Almost instantly I attracted the right type of clients and started making more money. No, it’s going to magically get you 100 emails overnight but it will help dramatically. Check out these writing portfolio examples for some inspiration:
Smar OwaisSamar Owais‘ writing website is right to the point. Instantly you know what he does — create content that sells! You want it super clear when you land on your page what you do. You only get one first impression!
Tiffany JansenTiffany Jansen’s site tells a prospect what she does and her homepage makes it clear what her services are as well. I like that she includes testimonials, about, and a work with me page.
Megan NyeMegan Nye instantly calls out “killer content for your financial business.” I love how clear and direct she is for potential clients. She also has a ton of great pages including:
- Services and Rates
- Praise (nice twist on the classic, testimonials)
- My blogs
- Contact me
What Your Freelance Writing Portfolio NeedsNow that you have a few freelance writing portfolio examples, it’s time to create your own! Don’t wait until tomorrow, get started or hire someone today so you can start your freelance writing career. Here’s what every writing portfolio should include:
A Paid ThemeNothing good ever comes from free, especially when it comes to presenting yourself online with your freelance website. Themes aren’t that expensive either, usually around $75! I use Genesis by Studio Press and love it. It looks super professional, easy to set up, and very little maintenance is required. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone on Fiverr or Upwork to help you. I bet it won’t cost over $50. This isn’t negotiable in my opinion, spend the money upfront and one client can instantly repay the small investment.
Eye-Catching Home PageYour home page needs to clearly communicate what you do. Are you a copywriter? Content writer? What niche are you in? First impressions are everything. You want to dazzle clients as soon as they land on your website.
About PageYour about page is another unbelievable resource when creating your online portfolio. But I recommend creating an about page that isn’t solely about you. Let me explain… Clients care about you to an extent but at the end of the day, people want to know how you can help them. Here are two examples:
- My name is Michael and I’m a freelance writer who focuses on writing epic content about entrepreneurship and personal development.
- Do you need epic content about entrepreneurship or self-improvement topics? Are you ready to finally turn readers into long-term customers? Then I got you covered. My name is Michael and I’m (……and then get going).
Work With MeWhat sounds better, “hire me” or “work with me?” In my opinion, “hire me” sounds like a desperate plea to put food on the table and pay your bills. Hire me sounds needy. But “work with me” makes it sound more like a collaboration between you and the client. It makes you sound much more professional and established. Even if you’re new, you want to make it seem like you’ve been doing this for years. Subtle shifts make a huge difference!
TestimonialsSocial proof is so important! As a writer, it’s your job to get as many positive testimonials as you can. You can include them on different pages of your website and make it clear that you can get the job done.
Best Practices For Your Writing PortfolioIf you’re going to create a writing portfolio on your own website, here are some tips to keep in mind to present your best work to support your marketing efforts:
Keep It Clean and Easy For Clients to ReadComplexity is the enemy of execution. Don’t make it more complicated than it should. While you should invest ample time to make your portfolio and writer website look neat don’t get caught in paralysis analysis. And don’t make it sloppy by posting the entire article on your site. Use PDF’s and attachments by uploading into your media files. Never post entire writing pieces onto the portfolio page so the client has to scroll and scroll and scroll to view.
Organize Your PortfolioOn my writing portfolio, I have samples divided by topic. I have one dedicated to personal finance, entrepreneurship, and self-improvement. I even have an entirely different section on my website all about golf as I’m an avid golfer and published a book and done blog writing as well.
Divide with headers to make it easy for the client to find the right samples.
Link to Social MediaMost of the time people are probably going to look for you on social media, whether you like it or not. Make sure your social is “client friendly” and link to your Twitter and LinkedIn from your website. If appropriate or you update frequently, you can also link to Instagram and Facebook as well.
Use Thumbnail ImagesCreate thumbnails for each clip to entice more visual appeal and to encourage visitors to click through and read your work.
Add Copywriting TechniquesWhere possible, add a title, a short description of the clip and a link to the full clip. Add some brief copy at the top of the page (1-2 sentences) to enforce your marketing message and sell your skills as a writer. This is optional but can work well.
Add A Byline or AttributionMake sure your clips have your name as author or add ‘ghostwriter’ to the title so there is no disconnect or confusion when the client clicks through to your samples. Add Hard Copy Clips to Your Portfolio (if applicable) If you have a magazine, newspaper or print clips – you want to include in your portfolio, create a PDF, and upload to your site or GoogleDocs. Then you’ll be able to link to them and still have your images link to the item as Tanya Adams has done in the example below.
Always Update Your PortfolioLike your writing, your portfolio is always a work in progress. As you start getting more clients you might feel it’s not as important to update. But I promise it is. Because when you want new clients you want your website ready to go! A good idea is to track all of your writing in one place with a google spreadsheet. Track the titles, website, and links for the content you write. Then, when you’ve got time to update your portfolio, or if you do ever choose to move your portfolio, you won’t get frustrated looking for samples.
Create Your Portfolio For Your NicheWhen creating your website or portfolio, always keep your niche and your perfect client in mind. If you meet someone new when you’re at an event or seminar, what would they about it? Ask your self these questions:
- Is it easy to view and navigate?
- Does it include writing samples relevant to my niche?
- Will my portfolio appeal to prospects and clients?
- Does it really look professional?
Offline Portfolio ExamplesIf you choose not to have a full website, then you can also take advantage of these free websites. Check out these offline writing portfolio examples for more inspiration to get started:
1. ContentlyYou can find hundreds of creative copywriter portfolios on Contently. The platform has specifically been developed to showcase the work completed by writers, journalists, and copywriters. You can directly link to all your projects, meaning it is very easy for people to read your work. It’s also free to use, meaning little investment on your part other than maintaining your feed. You can filter by clients and include details about who you are, including a link to your website and description (if you created one).
2. Portfolio Creation SitesThese are website platforms where you can showcase your freelance writing work. These three sites provide a design platform that enables you to include some basic information about yourself, links to your social profiles and the ability to set up a visually-appealing portfolio. A few examples include:These type of portfolio creation sites are designed to make it easy to create a visually-appealing writing portfolio. You won’t need to worry about HTML code, website plugins, or know a lot about web design. If you have poor website skills and limited time to get an online writing portfolio set up, portfolio creation sites can help. Cons of Using Portfolio Creation Sites Most content creation sites offer a free version and a paid version. With the free version typically you only have a limited number of writing samples you can point prospects to before you have to pay a monthly fee. This is why it’s usually just a better idea to design (or have designed) your own freelance website. Once you set up your portfolio on one of these sites, you’ll always be sending people to an external site, not your own. This is basically sending your potential clients to a third party site instead of your own.
2. Content Marketplace PortfoliosYou can also build your writing portfolio on content marketplace sites as well. Many content-provider marketplaces want you to set up a writing portfolio on their site, and it’s almost always free. Some examples include:Ideally, this is how it works…When a business tells the content marketplace they need a writer, the content marketplace looks through its talent pool. Then they point their client to the best writing portfolios on their site that will match their needs. And if yours rises to the top, you get an offer to work on a project. Pros of Content Marketplace Portfolios Building a portfolio on these sites can get you exposure. But if you’re just starting out and don’t have much to sample it’s going to be more difficult. The biggest perk is that clients on these platforms aren’t afraid to spend more money finding a quality writer. Cons of Content Marketplace Portfolios The biggest downside of creating your writing portfolio on a content marketplace is that you don’t have much room for your own information. Usually, it’s limited to a very brief bio and links to your work. Therefore your chances of naturally attracting people through SEO is limited (another reason you should have your own website). Plus, just because your portfolio is live on the marketplace doesn’t mean you’re instantly found. You often need to contribute to the platform and market on a regular basis to find recurring work. Oftentimes it can take 12 months or more to get any traction on these sites making it very unreliable for beginner freelance writers. Not to mention there is a ton of competition as there is with any freelance marketplace. Lastly, these marketplaces often have tougher editorial procedures which are intimidating if you’re just getting started. Plus, I’ve heard of other writers not having very good luck with the internal communication as well.
3. LinkedIn portfoliosLinkedIn is another off-site option to create a writing portfolio. This is one of the sites that I’d have in addition to your personal website as LinkedIn is as much a social media platform as it is anything else. I’ve landed several great freelance writing gigs from clients finding my work on LinkedIn. Within your profile, you can do a lot to showcase your writing portfolio and samples. You can add articles, PDF’s, videos, and slideshows. Plus, employers can see your past work history which might also help your chances. Make sure you update your two photos and include “freelance writer” and/or “copywriter” in your title to help with LinkedIn SEO. Here are some writing portfolio examples from my LinkedIn profile. Pros LinkedIn is a huge platform. Don’t forget that Microsoft purchased the media company for 20+ billion in 2017 so it’s only going up with that kind of investment. Plus, tons of companies already use LinkedIn to search for freelance writers in a specific niche. If you’ve got relevant samples on your LinkedIn profile, you’ll have a higher chance of showing up in the search results when potential clients are looking for a freelancer. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a modern-day resume, keep it up to date with samples and client work. The more you have, the more social proof that will make your portfolio stand out in the crowded marketplace. Cons I honestly can’t think of any. There are no downsides for creating your LinkedIn profile. It’s free, easy to use, and can help you land big paying clients.
Start Your Writing Portfolio TodayHopefully, these writing portfolio examples will help you get the inspiration to take action and get started. The time is now to create a freelance writing website that converts prospects into clients paying you money! If you’re not sure if this is going to be a long-term project and want something built quickly, off-site options work as well. With off-site options, you can literally set up a writing portfolio in 30 minutes or less. While it does take longer to create a professional writing portfolio, it’s 100% worth it. Not only for clients but for your mindset. As soon as I created mine it seemed like my mindset shifted and I started believing I was a highly paid writer. Remember, your writing portfolio is a powerful marketing tool to help you attract your ideal clients, scale your business, and have more financial freedom. Make it optimized to convert visitors into clients! And if you’re ready, check out the best 50+ freelance writing jobs you can find online to get your first client!
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