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Tips for Creating an Impressive Portfolio that Stands Out from the Crowd
Creating a portfolio is an essential step for individuals in various fields, such as design, writing, photography, and more. A well-crafted portfolio can showcase your skills, experience, and creativity to potential clients or employers. However, with the increasing competition in today’s market, it is crucial to create a portfolio that stands out from the crowd. In this article, we will provide you with some valuable tips on how to create an impressive portfolio that captures attention and leaves a lasting impression.
Define Your Purpose and Target Audience
Before diving into creating your portfolio, it’s important to define its purpose and identify your target audience. Understanding why you are creating the portfolio will help you structure its content and design accordingly. Are you aiming to attract new clients or employers? Or are you using it as a tool to showcase your work for future collaborations? Once you have clarity on your purpose, consider who your target audience is. This will help tailor your portfolio to appeal directly to their needs and preferences.
Choose Your Best Work
When selecting pieces for your portfolio, quality always trumps quantity. It’s better to include a few outstanding examples of your work rather than overwhelming viewers with numerous mediocre ones. Take time to review all of your projects and choose those that best represent your skills and expertise. Consider the variety of projects you have completed – showcasing versatility can be impressive too.
While curating content for your portfolio, ensure that each piece is relevant to the niche or industry you are targeting. For example, if you’re a graphic designer specializing in logo design, include examples of logos you have created rather than unrelated work like website designs or illustrations.
Focus on Presentation and Organization
The way you present and organize your portfolio plays a significant role in capturing attention. Start by choosing a clean layout that allows your work to take center stage. Avoid cluttered designs or flashy elements that can distract viewers from your actual work. Remember, simplicity is key.
When organizing your portfolio, consider arranging your pieces in a logical and coherent manner. You can categorize them by project type, industry, or even chronologically to demonstrate growth and progression. Additionally, provide brief descriptions or captions for each piece to provide context and highlight the objectives and challenges you faced during the project.
Incorporate Your Personal Brand
In today’s competitive market, it’s essential to establish a personal brand that sets you apart from others. Incorporating your personal brand into your portfolio can help create a cohesive and memorable experience for viewers. This can be achieved through consistent use of colors, fonts, and visual elements that align with your personal brand identity.
Furthermore, don’t forget to include an “About Me” section in your portfolio. Use this space to tell your story, share your passion for what you do, and emphasize any unique experiences or accomplishments that make you stand out. Adding testimonials or client feedback can also boost credibility and showcase the value you bring to the table.
In conclusion, creating an impressive portfolio requires careful consideration of its purpose and target audience. Selecting top-quality work that is relevant to your niche will leave a lasting impression on viewers. Focus on presentation by choosing a clean layout and organizing content logically. Lastly, incorporate elements of your personal brand throughout the portfolio to make it truly unique. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating an impressive portfolio that stands out from the crowd.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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10 Writers with Portfolios that Stand Out
These freelance writers know an attention-grabbing portfolio is a key factor when it comes to landing gigs. Check out these tips to create a killer portfolio.
A well-made writer website is an important tool for networking online as a freelance writer or editor. Twitter can be useful for making connections and finding gigs or potential clients, but a professional online portfolio is necessary when pitching new article ideas or applying for jobs.
Your online portfolio website can be simple, such as a biography and list of published clips. Or, you can add more depth with a CV, personal projects, and a blog post or two to showcase your writing.
Our Pick of the Best Writing Portfolio Examples
A well-designed writing portfolio is essential for showcasing your work as a writer. Format has compiled a list of some of the best writer websites to help inspire you.
These writers cover a range of genres, from journalism to fiction to fashion, and their online writing portfolios reflect the quality of their work. Format’s website builder and these writing portfolio examples provide a winning combination for success in your writing career.
Our collection of online writing portfolios can provide inspiration and help you think about what to include in your own portfolio.
Find more website design ideas at our round-up of the best online portfolios built using Format .
Brooklyn-based writer Jennifer Fernandez uses a grid-based theme to showcase a range of links to writing samples, including a thumbnail image and title for each one. Fernandez has been on staff at Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and has worked for business clients including Zappos and Brooklinen. She organizes her writing website into categories of Design, Travel, and Lifestyle content to make browsing easy and to showcase the type of writing she has experience in.
www.jennifermfernandez.com Format Theme: Hue
Award-winning Igbo and Tamil writer and artist Akwaeke Emezi keeps things simple on their writing portfolio with a text-focused design and lots of information about their work. Their debut autobiographical novel FRESHWATER was critically acclaimed by publications like The New Yorker and NPR, and they also have two new books forthcoming from Knopf and Riverhead Books. Their website is a simple way to put the main focus on their work.
www.akwaeke.com Format Theme: Offset
Kristen V. Bateman
Fashion and culture writer and editor Kristen V. Bateman keeps her online portfolio visually interesting with a theme that introduces each of her published clips via an image and title. Bateman’s extensive portfolio can be browsed by publications (which include Vogue, New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more), as well as by category.
www.kristenbateman.com Format Theme: Coral
Elise R. Peterson
The work of New York artist and writer Elise R. Peterson has appeared in Paper Magazine, Lenny Letter, and Elle, among other publications. Her recent book with Feminist Press, How Mamas Love Their Babies, explores an inclusive idea of motherhood along with co-author Juniper Fitzgerald. Including a link to pre-order her book right on her sidebar menu ensures that visitors to Peterson’s site will be up to date on her latest work.
www.eliserpeterson.com Format Theme: Ora
Freelance journalist and writer Rebecca Hobson introduces her online portfolio with a professional photograph of herself and links to different sections of her writing website. Based in Bristol, Hobson has also lived and worked in India. She has written for publications including the BBC, Vice, and The Times . Organizing her writing portfolio into different sections such as Content Marketing and Current Affairs, her freelance writing portfolio allows viewers to explore all the different facets of her work.
Format Theme: Peak
Award-winning and widely-published journalist Alice Driver includes a detailed yet concise biography introducing who she is and what she does, a great way of allowing visitors to her site to quickly understand the focus of her work. An additional page of recent clips, organized with titles and thumbnail images, makes further reading of her published projects instantly accessible. Based in Mexico City, Driver’s work focuses on migration, human rights, and gender equality.
www.alicedriver.com Format Theme: Mica
Los-Angeles based photojournalist and scholar Tara Pixley was a recent Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation, and has published her photography and writing on media in a range of publications such as Newsweek, New York Times, and ProPublica. Pixley’s online portfolio features a selection of her photojournalism as well as a section showcasing some of her published writing.
www.tarapixley.com Format Theme: Horizon Left
A Chinese writer and reporter based in Beijing, Qin Chen writes about Chinese society for English-speaking readers. With experiences as a senior video producer for The New Yorker and a documentary producer at CNBC , Qin’s online portfolio showcases her published writing and videography.
www.qinvisual.com Format Theme: Order
Writer Elaine Bleakney introduces her works on her website with images of the book covers and recommendations from peers and critics. Her simple layout keeps the focus on her work, easily allowing visitors to follow links to her published work or consider purchasing one of her publications.
www.elainebleakney.com Format Theme: Mica
Scott Broker’s writing website features a headshot and brief biography right on the homepage, instantly giving visitors a feel for who he is. Based in Ohio, Broker is currently an MFA candidate at Ohio State University, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His writing portfolio includes a selection of publications with a brief description of each one.
www.scottjbroker.com Format Theme: Mica
Tips for Building Your Own Killer Writer Portfolio Website
After reviewing the writer portfolio examples for inspiration, you can build your own portfolio. To effectively showcase your work as a writer, you must also have an eye for design.
Brainstorm Creative Portfolio Titles
A writer’s portfolio isn’t complete without a creative and catchy title. Writing portfolio titles can be difficult to come up with, but they are an important first step in creating a great portfolio site. The title is the first thing a prospective client reads, so you must grab their attention if you want them to continue.
A well-conceived creative portfolio title should be big, bold, and targeted to your audience. Consider the tone you are setting and how it relates to the message you want to convey with your work. Consider including your name in the title so the reader will remember who you are. Also, consider how the title will look before selecting a font for your writing portfolio site.
A portfolio typically includes examples of your work, an about me section, and contact information for clients. Using the right writing portfolio format to showcase your work is a great way to attract engaged clients. The best writer portfolio sites, such as Format, offer a range of templates and a drag and drop builder to help you create a professional portfolio.
Creative Writing Portfolios
To create a strong writer portfolio, choose a website builder with customizable features and an easy editing process. Format offers a feature-rich portfolio site builder specifically designed for creative writers. Their range of templates and examples can also help provide inspiration. This allows writers to focus on creating content for their clients, rather than web design.
Creative Writing Portfolio Examples
We’ve compiled some of the most striking creative writing portfolio examples on the web, so you can get your creative juices flowing. Our recommendations above highlight Rebecca Hobson and Elise R. Peterson as creative portfolio writing samples that hit the right level of charm, sophistication, and individuality. Like what you see? Use Format’s website-building platform to set up a beautiful creative writing portfolio that exhibits the best of your work, just how you wanted it to look.
Freelance Writer Websites
The best writer websites express the writers’ flexibility and competency across a broad range of writing contexts. Bringing together examples of work produced for various sectors and requirements is crucial to conveying your writing abilities. However, It is also important to consider your personal skills and tailor your portfolio to highlight your strengths and industry-specific experience. Our pick of great writer website examples, such as Elaine Bleakney and Akwaeke Emezi , find the right balance of personal writing skills and subject-focus.
An online journalism portfolio should showcase your career highlights and best work as a journalist. Format’s template builder can help you effectively present your skills and experience to news agencies. This is crucial for advancing your career in journalism, whether you specialize in print, broadcast, or online journalism. A high-quality portfolio website is key to standing out and attracting new opportunities.
Journalism Portfolio Examples
Looking for examples of some of the best journalist websites to spark your creative mind? We’ve identified Tara Pixley , a Los-Angeles-based photojournalist, and scholar, as a case in point of a journalist site that uses photography as a method to engage clients with her journalistic competencies.
Similarly, award-winning journalist, Alice Driver , uses her online journalism portfolio to help clients understand more about her career and her areas of focus as a journalist. Both of these journalists, among many others, rely on Format as the best website for journalism portfolios.
An appealing online portfolio for journalists should feature your best and most recent work, as well as a list of the news agencies you have written for. If you haven’t got any published articles yet in your repertoire, that’s no problem at all. You can write several articles right on your new site. Just ensure that they are formatted like a real news article and have no grammar or spelling mistakes.
How to Make a Writing Portfolio for College
A well-formatted writer portfolio can give you that added boost for your college applications and help you stand out from the rest of the competition. Moving your existing portfolio online can make it easy for college admission departments to see the depth and breadth of your work. The best way to do this is to use a dedicated writers portfolio website such as Format, which is built to help writers network put their talents on full display. We have writers portfolios examples and intuitive templates to help you get started.
How to Share Your Online Writing Portfolio and Gain Traction
Once you have built your writer portfolio website and feel happy with the aesthetic, it is time to get the word out. The best websites online writing portfolio examples are also highly integrated with social media and are SEO-friendly. Format benefits from all of the latest SEO tools as well as social sharing features. This ensures that your personal brand stays at the top of the search results, making it easy for potential clients to find you.
Which Writing Portfolio Website Should I Use?
Format offers a comprehensive and user-friendly website builder for content writers. The platform’s customizable templates and digital marketing tools make it easy to create a professional online portfolio.
This allows writers to showcase their work and communicate with clients, while also focusing on writing and advancing their careers. Format is voted among the best portfolio sites for writers, and our customer support team is available to assist with any questions or issues.
Consider using Format to create your online writing portfolio and elevate your writing career.
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How to Create a Content Writing Portfolio (and 5 Examples to Inspire You)
Not sure what a content writing portfolio is or how to make one?
You’ll find the answers here.
Content writing and marketing are so popular right now – it’s mainstream. And these fields provide great opportunities to start a career as a content writer .
You might have noticed employers and clients asking for a content writing portfolio when picking writers.
You need to have an attractive and creative portfolio page if you want to even get considered for a content marketing or writing position.
Want to win over a potential client? You’re at the right place to the first step.
Learn all about writing portfolios and how to set them up.
What’s a content writing portfolio?
When employers or clients look for talented freelance writers, they need to see a body of work that shows what you can do.
An online writing portfolio is a link, page, or platform that has a collection of your writing work.
It will include:
- Copywriting examples
- Email marketing copy
- Academic articles
And just about anything you’ve written that’s relevant to your goals and your customer’s requirements.
It’s the one place that shows people what you can do, and it will help business owners, editors, and employers figure out if they should hire you.
The benefits of an online writing portfolio
Having a content writing portfolio is essential if you want to be a successful freelance writer. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- It allows you to showcase your skills and demonstrate your experience to potential clients.
- It gives you a place to pitch ideas and share your samples with sites that accept guest posts.
- It helps you land projects with digital marketing agencies, who are always in need of high-quality content.
- You can share your experience and content with employers who can see what you can do
- You can save or store your live content and find them easily later.
- And finally, it gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that your work is out there for the world to see.
So, we’ve covered the basics of an online portfolio and what it looks like. Let’s move to the next step – how to create a writing portfolio.
The Best Way to Build Your Writer Portfolio
While creating your writing portfolio won’t be complicated, it should be carefully thought out. It can have a huge impact on your career, you know?
Here’s what you should do.
1. Put your writing together
Before you can start putting together your freelance writing portfolio, you need to gather all your content in one place. This includes any blog posts, case studies, emails, pitches, and social media posts you’ve created.
If your content is live on a website, be sure to get the links. Or if it’s stored on a Microsoft Word document, copy it to a cloud-based document so you can share it easily.
When you have all your content gathered, find the ones that showcase your abilities the best. You’ll use these pieces on your portfolio site or document.
You also want to do a quick check of your previous work and make sure they’re edited and relevant.
Curating what you’ve written will ensure that you’re showcasing your best work.
2. Pick a solid portfolio platform
There are many places where you can collect and feature your content. You can use LinkedIn, Medium, and other social media networks. You can also create your own WordPress site and show your skills on your blog page.
And you can simply collect all your content in a document and file storage solution like Google Drive.
You can easily share your content through these platforms and they’re free!
However, you’ll also find dedicated writing portfolio websites. These are geared toward serious writers, researchers, and journalists. They’re also professional-looking and easy to share.
I think it’s good to use a ‘real’ portfolio platform to showcase your templates. Here are some sites to explore:
- Journo Portfolio
- Muck Rack for Journalists
- Freelance with Contently
These platforms are available for free. But you get more options with a paid version.
If you’re just starting out, use one for free. And if you have the technical knowledge, you can even build your own WordPress site. You’ll have complete ownership of your site and content. And it helps to have a site of your own for personal branding.
3. Format or Section Your Portfolio
Depending on the platform you select, you’ll be able to create categories or sections for different types of writing.
For example, you might want to put all your tech content under one section or category.
Or you want to keep your newsletter copy separate from your white papers.
Begin by taking a step back and looking at the overall picture. What message are you trying to communicate with your writing portfolio? Do you want to show off your range as a writer? Or highlight a particular area of expertise? Once you know what direction you want to go in, you can start creating individual pages or sections for each writing sample.
If you don’t have this option, don’t worry about it. Just move ahead to the next step and start adding your content pieces to your online writing portfolio.
4. Start adding your content
If you’re using a site like Clippings.me, you’ll see options where you can just add a link, and you’re good to go.
Your writing will appear in a preview form on your profile page.
Anyone who wants to read the content in-depth will click on a link to check it out.
Remember to include a variety of writing samples so that potential clients can get a sense of your range.
For example, if you’re a copywriter, you might want to include samples of both long-form and short-form content.
Or, if you specialize in health and wellness, add links to your posts on meditation, fitness, and other relevant topics.
The more diverse your writing portfolio is, the better your chances are that some of your content will appeal to your audience.
However, if you’re targeting a specific type of client or industry, you’ll find it more effective to have a portfolio website or page for different areas.
So that if you’re applying for a writing job in the automobile industry, you can send your employer to a specific writing portfolio that’s all about cars or trucking insurance.
And if you want to pitch your services in the sports niche, you’ll have a page dedicated to just that.
5. Create A Professional Bio
The next step is to write a professional bio. This is a short paragraph (or two) that tells potential clients or employers who you are and what you do.
Take Julian Mack’s bio for example.
It’s not only professional but also tells you a bit about his personality. This is important because potential clients want to know if they will be working with someone they can get along with.
So your bio should have details but keep the format short, informative, and to -the point. Adding thumbnail images for samples will help your client quickly identify your work.
Your professional bio will help create a rounded picture of who you are, what you do, and how well you can serve a client.
6. Add Your Contact Information & Calls To Action
Don’t forget to add your contact information and a call to action on your writing portfolio page and author bio.
Your contact information should be easily accessible and should include your email address, phone number, and social media links.
As for the call to action, this is a short statement that tells visitors what you want them to do next. For example, you might say “Interested in working with me? Contact me today!”
This is important because it can compel your audience to move ahead and hire you to work for them.
Now, this makes it easy for potential clients or employers to get in touch with you if they’re interested in your services.
7. Share your writing portfolio
Make your writer portfolio live by publishing it – you can then share it with others.
You’ll often have to submit your writing portfolio while filling out a job application or when you’re having an email conversation with a possible client.
Now that you’ve collected, linked, and published your writing samples in one place, you can share them easily.
Don’t forget to add it to your LinkedIn and other networks. It’ll give people a chance to understand the niche you write for just by going through your portfolio page.
5 Portfolio examples to Inspire You
I’ve shared the best way to create and share your writing portfolio.
However, it’s even more helpful to have real-life examples to refer to.
Here is a list of solid content writing portfolio examples you should check out.
1. Dominica Taylor
Dominica is a copywriter and she uses Clippings.me to curate and share her work.
Her bio shares interesting things about her and she adds her email address to the profile.
Scrolling through her content, you’ll see plenty of samples of her work.
There is a variety of writing formats and topics. And they open new pages where a potential client can review their work.
I strongly recommend Clippings.me as a platform for freelancers and writers who don’t want to spend money on a premium product.
I used it to get a fantastic job and you can too.
2. Kyle Cohlmia
This is another real example of a writer with a great portfolio. Compared to the previous example, this one looks more impressive and attractive.
In this case, Kyle created a writing portfolio using SquareSpace. If you want to build a personal brand and control how your portfolio looks, then use a blog platform to create one.
I recommend using WordPress but you can check out other best blogger platforms too.
Kyle’s portfolio is impressive. And it’s not just because of the design.
The brief description showcases her writing career and how it spans areas like art and cybersecurity.
She doesn’t just feature blog posts she’s published, it includes art writing, serious articles and more.
Check out her work to see how you can do something similar.
3. Steve Manjaly
Here’s an example of a freelance content writer.
His focus is on tech topics like SaaS, IoT, Cloud, and AI.
He’s using WordPress.com to curate and share his portfolio.
Each of his sample posts features an image, a heading, and a brief subtitle.
Anyone looking for a tech freelance writer will find this useful.
The end of his writing portfolio has call-to-action inviting users to email and call him.
His bio also has a friendly picture of him and a description of his interests. It humanizes him and makes him interesting. You can also see links to his social media, including LinkedIn, Medium, and Instagram.
4. Amy Boylan
Amy also uses a self-hosted website platform.
She mentioned that most of her content is tied up because of NDAs or Non-Disclosure Agreements.
Readers are invited to read the content she can share. And she links to her blog to read more of her work.
Her portfolio is simple and effective.
5. Lucy Shrimpton
I like how Lucy Shrimpton has her online writing portfolio bang on her home page.
She directs readers to her content straight away.
She uses large images and features a variety of pieces. Clicking on the links takes you to web pages, print magazine articles, and work on her own blog.
It’s a clever and informative piece that helps you learn more about her.
And there you have it!
These are five brilliant examples of real content writing portfolios. With ideas from this site, you’ll find it easy to build your own.
Q1.What to do if you don’t have samples or experience for your writing portfolio?
There are many ways to increase your writing samples and add writing experience to your portfolio. One way is guest posting. You can guest post on other writers’ websites or blogs to increase your portfolio.
Another way is to get published. You can submit your articles or stories to magazines, newspapers, or online publications. Once you are published, you can add these pieces to your portfolio website.
You can also write for different companies or websites as a freelancer. This will help you gain more experience as a writer and add more writing samples to your portfolio. Finally, you can create your own ‘writer website’.
This will allow you to showcase your writing skills and provide links to your published work and writing samples. Creating a writer’s website is a great way to increase your writing exposure and build your writing portfolio.
Points To Remember
You have now completed all the steps necessary to create an online content writing portfolio. By including thumbnail images and making it easy for clients to navigate, you have created a professional and stylish portfolio that is sure to impress.
Tips to remember:
- Keep it simple: You don’t need fancy graphics or unnecessary bells and whistles. Just focus on presenting your work in a clear, easy-to-navigate format.
- Highlight your best writing: Not every piece of writing you’ve ever done will be stellar. So make sure to only include your best work in your portfolio.
- Keep it up to date: As you land new writing gigs and produce more work, be sure to add it to your portfolio on a regular basis. This will help show potential clients that you’re an active, reliable freelancer they can count on.
- Finally, don’t forget to update your portfolio regularly! As your skills and experience grow, so should the writing samples in your portfolio. By regularly adding new and improved pieces to your portfolio, you’ll be sure to impress whoever comes across it.
Remember to showcase your best writing sample prominently, as this will be one of the first things potential clients will look at. With a well-crafted portfolio, you are now one step closer to landing your dream content writing job.
Now that you know how to create a content writing portfolio, it’s time to get started on your own. Use the tips and tricks in this article to put together a portfolio that will help you land the content writing job of your dreams!
About the Author:
Debashri (Deb) is a content marketing expert with 6 + years of experience. Her journey with marketing began during her Master's studies in Finland where she specialized in Marketing and International Business (At the University of Vaasa). She is an expert content writer, content strategist, and thought leadership ghost writer. She is a marketer by education, interests, and vocation.
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How to Create a Writing Portfolio That Clients Love
Most freelance job posts receive hundreds of applications.
As someone who has hired freelance writers and sifted through hundreds of applications, I can tell you that I quickly weed out those who don’t provide a simple method for me to quickly assess their writing abilities.
While I don’t expect freelance writers to have a fancy website, I thoroughly appreciate a writer who makes it easy to quickly view relevant writing samples and understand the value they offer.
After viewing thousands of writer portfolios, I’ll share what I look for in a writing portfolio when I’m hiring freelancers and provide a step-by-step process to help you create a writing portfolio that will win clients. I’ll also show some writing portfolio examples to give you further inspiration.
What Hiring Managers Want In a Freelance Writing Portfolio
Hiring managers are strapped for time and want to hire a writer quickly.
They don’t care about portfolio design, your profile image, or other presentation details.
They really just want to see if you’re the right fit for their job .
So instead of stressing about details like design colors, optimize your writing portfolio to clearly answer the following questions:
- Does this person offer the services I’m looking for?
- Does this person have the writing skills I’m looking for?
- Has this person done similar jobs in the past in similar industries/niches?
- Is this person reliable (e.g., adheres to deadlines, consistently delivers results, etc.)
- Bonus: Does this person understand the larger business goal we’re trying to accomplish?
In addition, make sure it’s super easy for potential clients to navigate the portfolio site and quickly find the answers to those questions. If they can’t immediately find the answers they’re looking for, they’ll likely just eliminate you from the list of candidates.
Below, I’ll show you how to create a freelance writer website that clearly answers these questions and helps you win new clients.
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How to Create a Writing Portfolio: Step by Step
You don’t have to have a website to become a freelance writer , but it does help generate inbound leads and can leave an excellent first-impression on potential clients. So here’s a step-by-step guide to tactically set up your portfolio website and the critical elements to include so that you stand out to prospective clients.
1. Select an Easy-To-Use Website and Hosting Platform
You don’t need a fancy website or hosting solution to get started, so I recommend selecting the simplest solution possible.
You can use Siteground or Namecheap for web hosting, as they’re both cheap and reliable. As for a website builder, you can use a platform like Squarespace or Wix , as both offer simple visual editors and pre-made website templates.
WordPress is also a great option that offers more scalability. It might be a better option if you think you’ll grow your freelance writing business into an agency.
Alternatively, if you want the simplest solution possible, you can use Canva’s portfolio builder .
I recommend keeping everything simple, as many freelance writers never create a portfolio because they’re too intimidated by the tech.
If you still feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating your own portfolio, you can always hire someone on Upwork to create a professional writing portfolio website for you. Most of them only charge a few hundred dollars, and you can send them all the information in a document to post for you.
The key is to start working on this today . The longer it takes to complete your freelance writer portfolio, the longer it will take to close new clients.
I recommend setting a deadline of three to four days to complete your portfolio website so that you start closing clients quickly.
2. Identify Your Target Audience and Niche
Before adding any content to your new website, define your ideal client.
A common mistake most freelancers make is trying to target too many potential clients.
Unfortunately, hiring managers are looking for specialists, and you’ll dilute your credibility as an expert if you advertise that you service multiple niches. In addition, your messaging will be very generic and ineffective if you try to target multiple customer personas.
In this step, clearly define:
- The type of writing you offer (blog writing, sales writing, social media writing, etc.)
- The industry you want to serve (ecommerce, B2B, local businesses, bloggers, etc.)
- The company size you intend to serve (startups, enterprise corporations, etc.)
Once you’ve defined your ideal customer, do some research to understand their pain points and what they’re hoping to achieve by hiring a writer.
The best way to do customer research is talking to your ideal audience and asking them what they’re looking for in writers.
I did this when I was looking to scale from a freelancer to a marketing agency owner, and you can see that I received some very helpful feedback:
You can see that these responses are incredibly valuable as they tell me both how I should position myself and specific pain points these hiring managers experience.
You can also ask in Slack groups and other private groups for feedback. For example, I asked this group if anyone had hired a content agency for $30,000 plus and what they were looking for in that agency.
I ended up getting on a call with one of the people, and they showed me the entire pitch deck from the agency they hired and explained why they hired that agency. These insights helped better position my services to charge more and close more clients.
We’ll discuss positioning in more detail below, but for now, take note of:
- Your ideal customers’ pain points.
- The outcomes they’re trying to achieve by hiring a freelance writer.
- What they look for when reviewing different freelance writers.
- Key elements that make freelance writing portfolios memorable.
3. Select Your Best Writing Samples
A mistake that many freelance writers make is publishing too many writing samples from multiple industries.
There are a few reasons why posting a lot of sample writing pieces isn’t a great idea:
- Potential clients won’t see your best samples : If there are 20+ writing samples, clients probably won’t see your best 3-4 writing pieces.
- Posting from multiple industries dilutes your expertise : We discussed earlier that clients want to see you’re an expert in their field, so only include writing samples for your ideal customer’s industry/niche.
- Too many pieces overwhelms potential clients : Your potential clients are in a hurry to quickly find the best writer for the job, and offering too many sample pieces can overwhelm them.
So select only your best work to include in your portfolio. Usually, three or four writing samples are sufficient.
When you post the writing sample, include any business results it helped accomplish. You can go back to your customer research notes to remember what your customers are looking to achieve by hiring a content writer.
For example, if the goal is to increase traffic and conversions, include how your sample writing piece helped accomplish those goals. Here’s a great example from freelance writer Elise Dopson’s portfolio .
Instead of just posting the link to the blog post, she states the business goals (increase traffic and keyword rankings) it helped the company achieve:
She also includes screenshots, which is a great way to add proof.
4. Add Social Proof and Testimonials
Adding testimonials to your online writing portfolio can boost your credibility, but not all testimonials are equally compelling.
Who you get testimonials from and what those testimonials say can instantly help you pass on to the hiring manager’s next round of evaluation.
First, get testimonials from reputable brands/people your ideal clients probably already know and respect. If you don’t have any influential clients, you can reach out to a well-established industry influencer or brand and offer a free sample piece in exchange for a testimonial.
When you ask for the testimonial, ask them to highlight how you eliminate key pain points that your ideal clients typically experience with freelance writers. For example, common problems with freelance writers include missing deadlines and delivering shallow, poorly researched articles. So ask them to mention how you always hit deadlines and thoroughly research your work.
Elise Dopson again does a great job of creating compelling testimonials from well respected brands in her target industry. They show how she eliminates key pain points with most freelance writers (she hits deadlines and thoroughly researches her work).
5. Structuring Your Homepage
Once you’ve gathered your writing samples and testimonials, you have most of the materials for your portfolio page. Now, you need to structure your homepage and the messaging to clearly communicate that you’re the best person to help the prospect achieve their goals.
First, create a compelling headline that clearly states the value you provide and how you accomplish it.
You can use this framework:
“(your writing niche) for (your ideal customer) that need (pain point you’re solving.)”
For example, it could be “Freelance content writer for B2B SaaS companies that need more organic leads.”
I also highly recommend including a process section detailing how you work with clients. Most potential clients will take you more seriously if you show them you have a repeatable, proven process.
For example, if you do customer research, outlines, or anything else, create a 3-5 step process and include that on your homepage. You can always customize your services to your clients’ needs, but having a process will definitely make you stand out from other freelance writers as it shows that you’re experienced and have a method to consistently produce the same quality results.
You can also include an FAQ section with information on your rates, the deliverables, turnaround times, who your ideal customer is, and other questions prospects commonly ask.
Here’s a sample framework you can use to structure your homepage:
Below, I’ll walk you through several examples of great homepages.
6. Create Your About Page
Most freelance writers discuss their dog or places they’ve traveled to in their author bios. The reality is that clients don’t really care about this information.
Instead, a more compelling author bio that can help you win clients is explaining the pain points you struggled with that led you to become a freelance copywriter and how it has shaped your philosophy as a writer.
For example, let’s say you previously worked in enterprise sales and noticed that prospects who closed fastest usually read blog posts before coming onto the demo. As a result, you became a writer because you felt it was a higher-leverage activity that drove more quality prospects.
That’s an interesting story that shows your ideal prospects you really understand the pain points they’re trying to solve. They also get a better insight into how you approach writing and get to know a little bit about the personal side of you.
Boutique Japan, a luxury travel company, has a well-written and effective about page that does an excellent job of helping you get to know the founder and their unique story.
This story helps potential clients get to know you on a deeper level than just talking about your dog.
As a result, you’ll build more trust with potential clients and stand out as a company.
I’ll also add that it’s worthwhile to include a picture of yourself. Clients want to know who they’re dealing with, and adding a face to the words will help build trust.
7. Create Your Contact Page
Finally, add a contact page to your portfolio that includes your email address and links to your Twitter and LinkedIn profile (if you use them).
Keep your contact page as simple as possible and if you decide to offer a form fill, be sure that the form fill works and reliably sends emails to your inbox, as many contact forms send messages directly to your spam mail.
Here’s a great example of a simple contact page:
Great Writing Portfolio Examples
Here are a few examples from highly successful freelance writers to give you some inspiration as you create your own freelance writing portfolio.
I already mentioned her portfolio several times earlier in this post, but I highly recommend that you browse through it for inspiration on both structuring your portfolio and crafting effective messaging.
Here are a few things that I particularly like about Elise’s portfolio:
- Who she serves and what she offers is very clear from the headline – she creates journalistic B2B content for retail, ecommerce, and martech companies.
- She has plenty of logos from big brand names, and her testimonials highlight how she solves key problems clients often encounter with freelance writers (she never misses deadlines).
- She highlights the business results she’s helped companies achieve (e.g., increased website traffic, keyword rankings, etc.).
- She only includes her best work and separates it by industry so the right client can easily find the right samples.
- All of the messaging across the entire website is very clear.
Some things I might adjust if I were editing this profile:
- She targets multiple personas (retail, ecommerce, and martech). She has already established herself in the writing industry, but I’d choose just one industry if you’re starting your career
Brent’s website is slightly more personal than Elise’s website. Still, he does an excellent job of clearly articulating his value and then proves it with case studies and customer testimonials.
What I love about his portfolio website:
- You can clearly tell what he does and the value he provides to clients (high ranking B2B SaaS content). He also states specific services he offers, including ghostwriting and long-form content.
- He has one clearly defined target audience – B2B SaaS.
- He offers big name brand logos up top.
- You can clearly hear his voice shine through.
- The rest of the page details case studies to prove he can do the work, details on why he’s different, and a specific process to prove that he can deliver the same results for you.
Some things I might add/change:
- I would probably add a few more customer testimonials, though I like that he includes screenshots of client messages throughout the page, as seen in the screenshot above.
Marijana Kay has a great writing portfolio that is clean, neat, and clear. You can understand what she offers just by glancing at the headline, and she also offers a lead magnet, which can be helpful for building an email list and retargeting potential clients.
Here are a few things I love about this writing portfolio:
- She clearly states in the headline what she offers (freelance writing services) and who she services (SaaS and marketing brands).
- The tagline hits on the key customer pain point (hitting content marketing goals consistently).
- The brand logos she has worked with are clearly labeled at the top.
- She ties business KPIs to her case studies (increasing conversion rates, traffic, rankings, etc.)
- The customer testimonials are also compelling and state why she’s the ideal freelancer to work with (she always researches the topics thoroughly even if they are tough subjects).
Some things I might improve:
- I’d love for her to add a section about her step by step process to add credibility and confidence that she can produce the same results consistently.
Joshua Poh’s writing portfolio is also neat and easy to navigate. You can quickly see what value he has to offer and how he helps companies grow.
Here are a few things I like about his portfolio:
- The overall website is clear, easy to navigate, and simple.
- His picture at the top adds personality and trust.
- He adds credibility by including big brand name logos at the top.
- He has testimonials that highlight why he’s a good freelance writer.
- He clearly defines how he helps businesses grow.
- He includes a clear call to action to reach out.
- His portfolio includes many blog posts, which may be overwhelming to a potential client. I’d probably cut it down to just the top 3-4 posts he’s most proud of.
- He specializes in multiple industries, which causes his messaging to be slightly vanilla. For example, this sentence dilutes his credibility as an expert: “No matter if you’re a small marketing team with a lot of ambition and no resources or a busy entrepreneur looking to get back to creating quality content, I can help.”
- I’d add a testimonial or two higher up on the homepage.
- I’d add a proven process and tie business results to case studies.
Ashely Cummings is a well respected B2B writer who has grown her Twitter audience substantially over the past several years.
She also has a compelling writing portfolio that you can use to inspire your own freelance writing portfolio. Her design is very simple, though it hits all of the key components a hiring manager would look for in a writer. In fact, she also has plenty of additional pages you don’t necessarily need, like a newsletter (which is excellent for customer acquisition if you have the time to create one), products, and more.
Here are a few specific things I like about this writing portfolio:
- She clearly states what she’s good at – articulating ideas you don’t know how to put into words.
- All of her samples are organized by the types of writing she specializes in (e.g., samples for ebooks, ad copy, newsletters, etc.), making it easy for clients to quickly find relevant writing samples.
- She includes highlights of business results she’s driven for clients (e.g., a blog campaign that produces over 500,000+ website views/year, etc.)
- She highlights her differentiators (research skills, marketing expertise, etc.).
- She has great testimonials from name brand clients.
- She has clearly visible social media links. As she has a thriving Twitter audience, this is smart because people browsing her Twitter profile will quickly see that she’s quite credible.
Here are a few things she could probably improve on:
- I would move the customer testimonials up higher on the page and include notable brand logos (Deloitte, Salesforce, etc.).
- I’d like to see a proven process that supports the key differentiators she mentions, like “skilled researcher” and “marketing expertise.”
- For each sample post mentioned, I’d add a blurb about what that post accomplished from a business results standpoint.
Need More Help With Your Writing Portfolio?
Once you’ve completed your writing portfolio, it’s time to send it to your ideal customers and land your first client!
I realize that acquiring clients is the real challenge, so if you want more support, or even just another peer to look over your portfolio, consider joining the Copyblogger Academy . It’s a community of other creators building their own businesses and side hustles through writing. Members have direct access to me, exclusive interview content with some of the most successful independent creators of the day, and most importantly, a peer group of like-minded individuals.
You can join today risk-free to see for yourself if the Academy will help you achieve your goals as a writer.
Tim Stoddart is CEO of Copyblogger. In 2011, Tim founded Stodzy Internet Marketing . He currently lives in Nashville with his wife, his son, and their pitbull named Alice. Follow Tim on Twitter.
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8 mins read
12 Top Writing Portfolio Examples to Inspire You (2023)
A collection of 12 best writing portfolio examples — draw inspiration from these to create your writing portfolio to solicit more work.
Director, Content Marketing
Written by Protim Bhaumik , edited by Shreya Bose , reviewed by Eric Hauch .
6. Oct 2022 , updated 18. Oct 2023
Creating a writing portfolio is challenging. You have to appeal to potential clients within a few seconds and get them to start scrolling through your work. To that end, I've written an extensive guide on how to create the perfect writing portfolio.
For now, let's get you inspired by a collection of writing portfolio examples that I've carefully curated. These contain examples from writers, authors, copywriters, and content marketers built on a variety of portfolio builders or websites .
For each example, I have highlighted my favorite aspects — factors you can incorporate into your own portfolio. When used in your writer's portfolio, it'll help your work stand out, especially if you're a freelance writer.
With that in mind, let's look at the top writing portfolios.
The top twelve writing portfolio examples
1. gari cruze.
Gari Cruze is an associate creative director and copywriter . His online portfolio website —which uses a grid layout with all his work — is filled with humor, and I love it! He's divided his professional online portfolio into sections called "About" (fairly normal), "17 Random Things", and "Oh Yes, They're Talking" instead of the usual "Get to know me" or "Testimonials."
Moreover, even in the About section, he uses copy that brings out his creative writing — words such as "the full blah blah" and "pink squiggly stuff in people's skulls" strike a chord. He also has a "testimonial" from his dad that finishes with "... Gari's like one of the slower primates."
So, all in all, it's an excellent representation of his work and who he is!
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Displaying Your Web Copy on Your Portfolio (for more gigs)
2. Kayla Lewkowicz
Kayla Lewkowicz is a writer, content marketer, and teacher . Her writer website landing page is about who she is and what she does — like "turning great ideas into compelling stories" and, more importantly, "arguing about the finer points of the Oxford comma." Hear, hear!
When you scroll down on her landing page, you see various photos of her travels accompanied by client testimonials and service offerings. The portfolio section has been categorized by topic and what's great to see is that each topic has three posts highlighted for the reader to look at first.
3. Jennifer Fernandez
Jennifer Fernandez is a writer and editor on staff at Architectural Digest , Travel + Leisure , and Martha Stewart Weddings ; her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal , Elle Decor , House Beautiful , Afar , Departures , and more.
Her beautiful writing portfolio site follows a super minimalist style, and her writing samples are divided into three sections so that it's easy to navigate.
4. Qin Chen
Qin Chen is a Beijing-based writer , journalist, and news editor at TechNode and has spent the past two years helping English readers make sense of the top news from the world's second-largest economy.
Her portfolio opens with a quaint picture of a riverboat that's both calming and intriguing. From the off, her work is collected into two sections: writing and video . And her writing samples are arranged into an easily parsable format divided by year.
5. Ann Friedman
Ann Friedman is a journalist, essayist, and author and currently a contributing editor to The Gentlewoman, having written for places like The Cut , The Los Angeles Times , The New York Times , ELLE , and The Guardian , and has co-written the best-selling book Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close and co-hosts the pioneering podcast Call Your Girlfriend .
Her portfolio is a favorite of many lists like these because of its minimalist, friendly vibe. Her writing samples are collected under headings such as books, essays, interviews, and more, making it super easy to go through.
6. Tyler Koenig
Tyler Koenig is a copywriter and content strategist living in the Bay area after having traveled the world copywriting for various brands. He's currently the content lead at CapitalG , Alphabet's independent growth fund.
His portfolio is clean and straightforward, and among the best writer portfolio examples I've recently seen. His main landing page says who he is and what he does through both the visuals and the copy, while his work is tucked under the "Content" section.
7. Alice Lemée
Alice Lemée is a creator , freelance content writer, and copywriter who writes on freelancing, the creator economy, and personal development.
Her portfolio page is an excellent example of how a single landing page can accomplish a lot — intelligent copy coupled with beautiful imagery and call-to-action buttons interspersed in just the right areas.
8. Muriel Vega
Muriel Vega is a writer and editor living in Atlanta , writing about tech, culture, and food with bylines at Delta Sky Magazine , The Guardian , Apartment Therapy , Eater , VICE , Splinter News , The Washington Post , Atlanta Magazine , The Bitter Southerner , Outside Magazine , and more.
Muriel's clever use of colorful icons in a simple white background for her portfolio evokes a sense of friendliness, approachability, and creativity. Also, her creative writing has been astutely collected under relevant topic headings for easy perusal.
9. Hank Herman
Hank Herman is an award-winning author, humorist, and writing instructor whose memoir, Accept My Kid, Please! A Dad's Descent Into College Application Hell has led to speaking engagements throughout the Northeast, and his 15-book series of basketball novels, Super Hoops , is read by grade-schoolers everywhere.
His is one of the few portfolio sites to use a comic (of him and a beagle zooming around on a car!), which certainly lends an air of whimsy to an excellently organized website.
10. Shayna Condé
Shayna Condé is a writer, model, and actor who looks to create spaces that build community, share valuable information, and foster discussions behind brands.
Her beautiful portfolio website is a collection of photos of her, as well as sections for her writing, modeling, and acting.
11. Colleen Fisher Tully
Colleen Fisher Tully is a content writer & editor working in the health, food, cannabis, nutrition, finance, and family spaces.
Her minimalist freelance writing portfolio has been separated into easy-to-read collections on the numerous topics she writes on.
12. Pamela Rosen
Pamela Rosen specializes in creating long- and short-form content for B2B and B2C audiences .
Her portfolio is divided into the various types of content that she writes.
How to create an online writing portfolio that gets you clients
Now that you're adequately inspired by the aforementioned writer portfolio examples, let's learn how to create one of these portfolios easily. We highly recommend reading our guide on creating a writing portfolio from scratch .
What we've seen above has been created on an eclectic mix of builders for portfolios, website builders, and more. A lot of these solutions are time-consuming and quite complex to set up.
Authory for all your content needs
And that's why a portfolio builder like Authory makes so much sense. It's super simple to set up, is good-looking, and gives you a portfolio out of the box.
Not only that, Authory is self-updating, which means that you don't have to keep track of all your work actively — Authory does that for you!
Authory also backs up all your content forever — there's no need to fret about losing access to your work if a site goes down — Authory has it all locked down.
Read More : Get an automated backup of everything you have ever created
You can even use Authory to prove definitely that you do not use AI to write, at all, ever.
Whether you're creating a freelance writing business or collating all everything you've done at your full-time job, an Authory portfolio will see you through for years to come.
Get Authory for free now!
Protim is a startup founder & marketer with over a decade of experience in content marketing, content writing, SEO, and more. He loves dogs, D&D, and music!
The ultimate guide to creating a successful writing portfolio.
Step-by-step guide to creating your writing portfolio. Tips, examples, and everything you need to make a writing portfolio clients will love!
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10 Journo Portfolio Alternatives for 2023
A list of alternatives to Journo Portfolio that you can test out before building/upgrading your next incredible portfolio!
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This Executive-Turned-Journalist Has Written for 54 Different Publications — Yet Keeps His Work Perfectly Organized
Howard M. Cohen has written for considerably more publications than the average journalist. That’s why finding a solution for how to present and protect his work has been vital for him.
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Freelance life is a hustle — here’s how journalist Jeanette Beebe learned to handle it
In this interview, healthcare and tech journalist Jeanette Beebe shares how she keeps track of her articles, connects with readers, and puts public interest reporting at the center of her work.
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Clippings Portfolio — Pros, Cons & Alternative
Does a Clippings portfolio work for you? Here's a detailed review of Clippings, a look at its pros & cons, and a look at Authory as an alternative.
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Top 7 Contently Portfolio Alternatives: Contently Alternatives for Writers
Learn what the top 7 Contently portfolio alternatives are and which one you should choose to build your portfolio.
- Content Marketers
- Thought Leaders
- Partner Program
- Writing Portfolio
- Journalism Portfolio
- Writing Backup
- Content Marketing Portfolio
- Social Media Portfolio
- Best Portfolio Builders
- Portfolio PDF Examples
- Twitter Archive
- Portfolio Creator
Freelance Writer Portfolio Guide: How to Create It Quickly & Easily
- Freelance Writing
- Portfolio Tips
- October 24, 2022
Working for yourself and creating your own schedule –who wouldn’t want that? Do you want to work in your PJs? Done! Are you a night owl and prefer working through the night? No problem, skip the early mornings! As a freelance writer, you’ll have all those privileges. But also the burden of finding new clients on your own. And for that, you’ll need some superb writing samples and a stunning portfolio website .
If you haven’t touched your writing portfolio in years, or need to build one from the ground up, this blog post is for you. We’ll help you get inspired with some real-life freelance writer portfolio examples and then give you some guidance on getting writing samples to fill up yours. We’ll show you everything important about how to make a portfolio as a freelance writer.
- Freelance writer portfolio examples
- How to get writing samples for your freelancer portfolio
- How to create your freelance writer portfolio (once you have samples)
What is a freelance writer portfolio?
Your freelance writing portfolio is a collection of your best writing samples , organized in an easy-to-browse-through way.
That last part is very important, as you have to think about your potential clients when assembling your portfolio. They probably wouldn’t want to dig through a Dropbox folder with a bunch of documents dumped in, right?
If you want to convert those who are looking at your portfolio, you need to make it an easy and pleasant experience for them. The key to that is choosing the right format, which is a portfolio website –or a portfolio page on your writer website.
Do you really need a freelance writer portfolio?
When you get a client or two from referrals, you might start wondering, if having a portfolio is that important after all… But it is.
When it comes to your freelance writing career , you need to think “long term”. You might get a few referrals here and there, but is that a sustainable way of getting clients? What if you get recommended to someone, but they still want to see some of your previous work?
You should establish yourself as a professional through your online presence. Having a personal-yet-professional website that looks great and houses your very best pieces will do just that for you. It’ll be perfect when someone asks for your samples after a referral –and it’ll do wonders when someone new checks you out for the very first time.
Let’s see some freelance writer portfolio examples!
Before we get into the actual how-to of portfolio building, let’s check some examples from real-life writers! It’ll give you an idea of what a freelance writer portfolio should look like and hopefully get you excited to get started with building yours.
Emma created her portfolio with Copyfolio, using the "Letterpress" template .
Megan's portfolio was made with Copyfolio. Give it a try and create yours today!
Halle used Copyfolio's "Letterpress" template and the "Ink" color palette to create her portfolio.
The portfolio website of Olivia Craig, created with the "Journal" template in Copyfolio .
Julie used Copyfolio, with the "Typewriter" template to create her freelance writer portfolio.
The Copy Psychologist
The portfolio (or "Past works") section on the Copy Psychologist's website
The freelance writer portfolio website of Alexa Peters copywriter
Screenshots from the website of freelance writer Elise Dobson
The homepage of Kristi Hines' freelance writer portfolio website
The about section of personal finance copywriter's Cassidy Horton's portfolio website
Looking for a quick and easy way to build your portfolio? Try Copyfolio and create a stunning website that’ll look good on every device. It’s free, no credit card required.
Tips for beginner freelance writers who need samples for their portfolio
The very first thing that you’ll need for a freelance writer portfolio is some writing samples. If you’re changing careers or just getting started in your professional life, you might not have any of these, and that’s okay.
In the next few sections, we’ll go over a few different ways to get and select some great samples for your portfolio.
Take a writing class to improve your skills and get samples
This is probably the most obvious of them all, but consider signing up for a writing class or workshop. It won’t only help you improve your writing skills, but you’ll likely get multiple writing assignments as part of the coursework. Implementing the feedback you get on them from your instructor, you can definitely use the improved versions in your portfolio later.
Find your writer specialization – based on your niche or preferred formats
One of the most important things when it comes to choosing or creating your writing samples is your specialization. This can mean two things. You can be specialized either in terms of the niche(s) you write for or the format of copy/content that you provide. So just to see an example, you could either be specialized in:
- The health and fitness niche, writing a variety of formats in those topics, or
- Email marketing, writing well-converting email campaigns for a variety of niches
Whichever kind you choose is fine, but to be able to better market yourself as a freelance writer, you should commit to one. And once you figure that out, make sure you write or choose your writing samples accordingly.
When someone checks out your portfolio, they should be able to tell what you’re specialized in right at the first glance.
A quick tip: if you’re not sure if you managed to do that, ask somebody to look at your portfolio. Ask them to tell you what kind of writer they think you are. Ask them what kind of project they’d hire you for. If their answer is not what you want to hear, you can always tweak your site and samples a little more.
Write spec ads, try guest posting or help your friends out
Once you feel like your skills are polished enough and you decided on the direction you want to take with your writing career, it’s time to sit down and actually write some samples. Here are a few things you can try.
If you’ll be specialized in copywriting, you can create spec ads in collaboration with a graphic designer. Spec ads are basically fake ads that students of advertising programs often make. You can think of a concept yourself or you can figure it out together –then you write the copy and your partner creates the designs. You can both display the finished ad in your portfolio, just make sure to always credit your partner for their work.
If you want to focus on writing longer content, you can try guest posting. What is guest posting or guest blogging? It’s when an article you wrote gets published on a blog that’s not your own. You contact the editors of a blog with a pitch about your chosen topic or send a whole outline –it all depends on what their guidelines tell you to do. It’s a great opportunity, as it gives you credibility, a variety of samples to showcase, and even links back to your own website.
Another thing you can always try is offering your services to those around you : your friends and family members. You can do that for free in the early days, when you want to build up your freelance writer portfolio, or for a symbolic amount. This way you get assignments and honest feedback on your work without the pressure of a higher-paying gig –and you can help your loved ones and their businesses at the same time.
And if all else fails, you can always just make up projects and assignments and write the copy for those. As long as your writing is good and you can demonstrate your problem solving and creative process, nobody will care if it was an actual paying gig or not. Feel free to create more samples for practice than what you’ll actually need –you can always filter them to add only the very best ones to your portfolio.
How to create your freelance writer portfolio (once you have writing samples)
Having great writing samples is important, but they won’t do anything for you if they’re not presented in an optimal way. So in this section, we’re going to give you practical tips for building a portfolio, so that it’s clean and organized and will convert your visitors into paying customers.
Limit the number of your writing samples to save your readers’ time
As a writer, you already know that you always have to think about your reader when you’re creating something. The same goes for your freelance writer portfolio. Your potential clients won’t want to spend hours looking at your portfolio –they simply don’t have the time for that.
So you need to make sure that you can convince them with your site and writing samples in about 15 minutes. That’s the maximum amount of time they’ll probably spend on your portfolio website.
An easy way to make sure that they can finish reading in time is by limiting the number of writing samples you include in your portfolio. We recommend adding at least 4, but no more than 6-8 projects.
Use good-looking, eye-catching thumbnails for your writing pieces
Having your projects up on your site is one thing. But getting your visitors to click through is another. To increase the chances of them checking out your projects, choose eye-catching thumbnail images for each of them.
A quick tip: take a look at how all of the thumbnail images look together. Do they have the same color palette? Are they all logos or all mockups? Make sure they are of the same type and have similar colors for a cohesive overall look.
Treat describing your projects as writing mini case studies
Sure, if you just drop a link to something you wrote before, they could go and read the whole thing to try to assess your writing skills. But back to our earlier point, your potential clients probably won’t have the time to do that. And it won’t answer all their questions about your expertise either.
Instead, you should treat describing your projects as writing mini case studies. Of course, you can still link out to the finished piece –but you should give your readers some background information on how it came to be. You should write about:
- how you got the assignment and what the initial task you got was
- your creative process of coming up with ideas for the project
- any challenges you faced while working on it and how you overcame them
You should also show the end result in the form of an image. If it’s something that’s live somewhere online right now, take a screenshot of it! You never know when they might take the content or the whole site down, or when they decide to edit your original work. So it’s best to have visual proof of what you did to make sure you don’t lose any of your references because of events like that.
A quick tip: use a portfolio builder like Copyfolio , which helps you write your case studies. Having the sections you'll need set up, with the right mockups and guiding questions will make the writing process ten times faster.
Establish your credibility with testimonials and recommendations
“Anybody can say anything about themselves on the internet.”
Isn’t that so true these days? Even though your writing samples and case studies should be enough proof of your skills and experience... There’s one more thing that can boost your credibility in the eyes of potential clients: testimonials.
Especially if they’re paired with the names, photos, and even links of their authors, testimonials and recommendations can give you a proof of trustworthiness and expertise. And a huge nudge for your visitors to get in touch with you.
Use a call-to-action to guide your visitors to contact you
One thing you should know about people visiting a website (whether it’s a portfolio or just a regular site) is that they need clear instructions on what to do there, otherwise they’ll explore a little bit, then simply click off. These instructions are called CTAs or call-to-actions.
This can be telling them to check out your projects, read your about me page or get in touch with you. CTAs can be displayed as buttons or even just simple texts or links.
A quick tip: Make sure you always have only one CTA per page. Having multiple all on the same page will distract your visitors and decrease the chance of them converting. You can have different ones throughout your site –but only one on each page.
Make sure your portfolio is responsive and looks good on all devices
Did you know that about half of most websites’ traffic (if not more) comes from mobile devices? To cater to those who would want to check out your freelance writer portfolio from their phone, you need to make sure that your site is responsive.
So you need to choose a platform that makes that not only possible but also easy for you. And even when it does, you should still check how your site looks on a phone before sending out the links to it. You should pay attention to how your images are displayed and whether you can see all of their details clearly –and how your headlines fit (or break) throughout the site.
Choose a fast and easy-to-use website builder to create your freelance writer portfolio
If you want to make sure you can follow all of the tips above, you need to choose a suitable website builder. Here are the boxes it’ll have to check, to save you time and guarantee a great website building experience. The website builder you choose should...
- be a “what you see is what you get” type of editor , where you can see in real-time how your live website is going to look, while you’re editing it. It’ll save you lots of time going back and forth between the editor and the live site view.
- have a fast and reactive editor . If you have to wait minutes at times for the editor to load and you’re looking at the loading screens more than at your actual website… that’s not the one for you.
- be very easy to use , not requiring manuals and tutorials. It might be a cliché, but time is money –and time spent figuring out how to make your website editor work is not time well spent. Always look for intuitive design.
- give you flexibility with sections . You should be able to customize your pages by switching sections around, adding text, images, and more wherever you want.
- have unique features that save you time . Like providing you predesigned palettes to change the colors of your site without having to figure out what colors look good together and fit your site at the same time.
- help you beyond just providing a platform to build your site. You’ll make the best choice if you choose a website builder that will stay with you the whole time, guiding and teaching you to make sure your website will be amazing. With tooltips, blog posts, and a great team and community behind it all.
Sounds like a long list of expectations? Don’t worry, Copyfolio checks all these boxes and more. It’s not only super fast and easy to use, teaching you how to build a freelance writer portfolio along the way. It’s also specialized for writers, which means it’s catered for your needs specifically.
Copyfolio makes building a website quick and easy by giving you design presets to change the whole look and feel of your website with just a few clicks. It also takes you through the steps of writing an ideal case study to describe your products and convert visitors into clients. Need even more tips and inspiration? Head over to the blog or LinkedIn profile!
Sign up now and create a stunning freelance writer portfolio in no time!
Digital marketer & portfolio expert, the face behind all content on Copyfolio 👋 Find me reviewing portfolios, building websites, or working on our marketing strategy and social media content. 🚀 You can also check my bookish blog at booksandcaffeine.com
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Home » Planning & Creating » How to create a writing portfolio
How to create a writing portfolio: 7 fundamental steps
The point of a portfolio is to give viewers a sense of what you can do for them. And portfolios can look very different while still getting that job done. Some of our Blurb writers have gotten hired by emailing screenshots of Facebook posts—while others have opened up professionally bound layflat photo books during interviews. Keeping in mind your end goal (selling yourself) will help ground you in this process.
Here are seven steps to help you create the perfect writing portfolio:
1. Introduce yourself
If your portfolio is your full sales pitch, think of your introduction as your elevator pitch. This sets the tone and context for your work. State your name, the type of writing you do, and any relevant background information that describes who you are.
Remember, this is a writing sample, too. Make it unique, valuable, and memorable—and from your natural voice. This is your chance to tell your story from your point of view. Make it count.
2. Organize your writing samples
Gather up all relevant writing samples you have. These can be everything from Super Bowl ads you’ve scripted to op-eds you’ve written for your high school newspaper. And if you don’t have enough, you can create hypothetical projects for brands that exist or that you make up to showcase your skills—just make it clear they’re examples and not paid work.
Once you have all your writing samples gathered, it’s time to organize them. Keep in mind who you’re showing your work to and include the type of samples they’re most interested in. If you’re angling to carve a niche, consider grouping your work into topic or format clusters. If you’re showing off versatility, group them by medium.
Here are the top ways to organize your writing portfolio:
- Chronologically: If you have a wide range of writing samples or a linear progression in your career, consider arranging your work chronologically and share how your skills have evolved.
- Topic: If you specialize in particular types of writing, you could group your samples by topic. For example, you could organize your work by industry for your technical writing or trade book writing—or by sections dedicated to industries, verticals, or genres.
- Medium: If you write for various mediums and channels, be it journalism stories, ad creative, UX writing, storytelling, or blogging, organize your work by these key pillars to help readers understand your versatility as a writer.
No matter how you organize your work, start and end with your strongest samples. Recruiters spend less than three minutes per portfolio , whereas most hiring managers spend five to 10 minutes. Either way, that’s not a lot of time. Make sure your portfolio makes a splash to start and is easily scannable.
3. Cull your writing samples
Once you’ve compiled all relevant writing samples for your portfolio, now comes the difficult task of narrowing them down. If you’re in the early stages of your career, you may not have a lot of work to distill. But for experienced writers, it’s important to whittle down your samples to showcase only your best work.
When making the final selection of samples to include in your writing portfolio, consider the following:
- Diversity: Depending on the structure you envision for your portfolio, consider choosing samples that capture your range and versatility as a writer. For example, creative writers might want to include a mix of short stories , screenplays, essays, or novels .
- Relevance: Your writing samples should reflect the type of writing you want to do in the future. If you’re interested in writing for a particular publication, highlight samples that overlap with that publication’s style and tone.
- Quality: As a rule, only include your best work when creating a writing portfolio. It can be helpful to recruit a mentor, friend, or colleague to get different perspectives on what others view as your highest-quality samples.
4. Craft your navigation
As you organize and narrow down what work samples you’d like to include, you can start identifying patterns for structuring your writing portfolio. In doing so, think about how you’d like viewers to navigate your book.
A table of contents, menu, or sections can provide guideposts for viewers to better travel through your writing portfolio and understand what it includes. In addition to thematic structure and the general flow of your portfolio, consider design elements like thumbnail images for each piece or major section. This adds a visual appeal and a touch of creativity that goes a long way in grabbing your prospective readers. Other fundamentals include:
- Sections: If you have ample writing samples to include, divide your portfolio into sections or chapters. This will make it easier for readers to find the pieces they’re most interested in.
- Navigation: Make sure your table of contents or website menu is simple to understand. In a digital context, you can include links to each section or piece of writing for easy navigation.
- Design: Your portfolio should be clean, clear, concise, and easy to read. Set the mood appropriately and use a consistent font, color scheme, and design elements for your sections, headlines, and menus to make them cohesive with the rest of the portfolio.
5. Design a layout
Once you have all of your writing samples selected and organized, you’ll need to think about how to best present your work in a way that’s visually appealing and on-brand with your particular style and tone. This is where the design of your portfolio comes in. When designing your portfolio, consider the following:
- Choose a format that’s creative yet easy to navigate. Whether creating a hardcopy portfolio or a website portfolio, you want to choose a format that aligns with your writing style and the context of your samples but also one that’s easy to navigate. Be creative but don’t let the design distract readers from your portfolio’s content.
- Use a clear and readable font. Make sure that the font you choose is easy to read, both in print and digitally on the screen. It’s best to stick with very simple, legible fonts that won’t distract from your writing.
- Incorporate images or graphics. Consider adding visuals to your writing portfolio that capture the context of your work. Whether they’re symbolic photos or images that truly correspond with your samples, consider imagery that relates to your writing and engages your readers. Just be sure that they don’t detract from your copy.
- Keep it consistent. While you want your writing portfolio to be visually engaging, you also want to ensure that it’s professional and on point with your personal brand. Often, less is more. So, avoid using too many colors or fonts , and put together a design layout that’s consistent and aligned.
6. Summarize your work
Depending on the length of your writing portfolio, it can help to provide some context for your samples—especially if you can prove your worth with impressive stats. Similar to a novel’s blurb shown on the back cover of a book, these could be short summaries that introduce individual samples, case studies that outline your business results, or thematic sections of your portfolio that add color to your writer’s journey.
Writing short summaries or blurbs of your work gives readers a sense of what they can expect from each piece of writing. While not a requirement for writing portfolios, these blurbs can help guide the overarching story behind your experience. When writing these short summaries, consider the following elements:
- Overviews that summarize your work. You can include the genre , topic, purpose, brand, or writing style.
- Your intentions or goals. Break down the problem you solved with your writing pieces, like whether your objective was entertaining, educating, or persuading your readers, and who the project was for.
- The scope of the project and your role as a writer. Make sure you highlight whether your work was part of a larger publication or your own personal blog. Talk about timelines, titles, and how you contributed to any large-scale projects or group work.
- Any key performance indicators (KPIs). Hiring managers on marketing teams will be very interested in the results of your work, like how much traffic a piece earned, how much engagement it received, or how your work led to a particular business outcome.
7. Include your resume and contact info
When using your portfolio to land your dream job, including your resume (or a version of it) is a good supplement to showcase all your experience. You could include it at the beginning or end of your portfolio. In any case, it should be easy to find and relevant to your target audience.
You’ll also want to include a way for viewers to contact you, like your professional email address or social media account. Depending on the context of your portfolio, you may even consider adding a link to your LinkedIn or Instagram profile so employers can see more information about you and easily get in touch. If you print your portfolio, add links or QR codes to your professional website or digital portfolio, too.
Tips for creating a writing portfolio that wows
Now that you’re familiar with creating a writing portfolio, several additional points are worth calling out. These are general best practices and things to consider when bringing your portfolio to life.
Quality over quantity
Less is often more, as it’s generally better to showcase a small collection of high-quality writing samples rather than inundating your readers with numerous less-than-stellar pieces. Be selective with the work you choose, and aim for a diverse range that emphasizes your strengths and genres of focus.
Know your target audience
Identify your target audience for your writing portfolio, as this can help determine the specific writing samples you include and how you organize them. Keep in mind that you should tailor your portfolio to suit the needs of your potential clients or employers. Print on demand allows you to swap in and out samples that best align with each client or employer—or you can tailor your digital portfolio with specific landing pages for each application or industry.
Keep it clean, simple, and error-free
Your writing portfolio should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and error-free. Use a simple design and make sure your writing samples are well-organized and clearly presented. Your portfolio’s overall design layout and format will help readers digest its contents.
And since you’re a writer, typos are usually unforgivable. Get a friend or mentor (or both!) to proof your work before you send it out.
Create digital and print writing portfolios
There are many pros and cons for digital and hardcopy portfolio books . While having a digital writing portfolio might be needed for digital applications and remote positions, a print version will definitely have you standing out while attending in-person meetings and interviews. Ultimately, the decision should depend on your personal preference, the needs of your target audience, and your intended usage of the portfolio.
However, we’d suggest both. You’ll need digital samples to get through the initial stage of most applications, but few things are more impressive than a perfectly bound physical portfolio in face-to-face interactions.
Keep your writing portfolio up-to-date
Your writing should always be fresh and relevant, so don’t forget to regularly update the contents of your portfolio with new pieces or achievements. Also, it’s a great idea to tailor your portfolio for each interview. Doing this will help demonstrate your interest and commitment to the company or client.
What makes a strong writing portfolio?
Certain characteristics make for standout writing portfolios. Consider these five cornerstones of strong portfolios:
- Showcase the depth and diversity of your writing ability, including various genres and styles, to help demonstrate your versatility and range as a writer.
- Maintain consistency in your tone and presentation throughout your portfolio, even if you showcase work with different styles for different brands.
- Feature work most relevant to your primary target audience and the type of writing jobs you want to land in the future.
- Choose the most engaging writing samples that reflect your style and focus, highlighting your marketable attributes and unique skillset.
- Assemble your portfolio in a clear, cohesive, and organized manner, making it easy for readers to navigate and absorb your content.
Above all, remember that your writing portfolio reflects you and your abilities as a writer. Take the time to create something unique and memorable. We believe in you!
If you’re interested in creating a print version of your writing portfolio, Blurb offers the tools to make a professional, bookstore-quality portfolio book that will impress.
Get started using a beautifully designed portfolio template, or create your own custom layout. Not only can you print as many books as you need on demand, but you can choose from a variety of formats, from large layflat portfolio books to smaller and more affordable options that make great leave-behinds.
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There’s never been a better time to be a freelancer. But how do you make the leap from writing as a hobby to full time freelancing? The Freelancer’s Year has all the tips and tricks you need to be a successful freelance writer.