An outstanding writing portfolio is the best asset for landing your dream clients as a freelance writer.
Have you spent sleepless nights sending Upwork proposals and hundreds of cold emails but no results to show for it?
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a newbie, landing high-value clients can be a pain in the @$$ without the right resources.
Perhaps, there’s only one thing that’s breaking the deal for you–your freelance writing portfolio. This article will help you understand what a writing portfolio is and how to build an outstanding portfolio to win over your dream clients as a freelance writer.
What’s a Writing Portfolio?
A writing portfolio refers to a sample of your best works (or your best articles) that you showcase to potential clients before they can hire you.
As a freelance writer, you’ll always hear questions like:
- “Can I see some high-quality articles you’ve written?”
- “Do you have any sample articles I can check on?”
Clients will always ask for samples to gauge your writing skills and decide whether you’re the best person to hire.
You know how you want to look your best when attending a job interview? Yes, as a freelance writer, your portfolio is like a job interview with your prospective employer.
Without a credible, outstanding portfolio, landing your dream clients can remain just that, a dream!
As a freelance writer, a strong portfolio helps you:
- Build trust with your clients
- Prove your writing ability to your potential clients
- Grab attention and bring more clients your way
- Build your freelance writing brand
5 Tricks to Help Your Build Your Portfolio From Scratch
1 – Choose Your Best Samples
You want to ‘wow!‘ your potential client when they view your past projects, and that’s why you have to choose the best samples to display out there.
As I mentioned earlier, your portfolio can be the deal-maker or deal-breaker.
If you’ve worked with a few clients before, choose samples that have got the best reviews or those you have edited to near-perfection (No weird sentence structures or grammatical errors)
However, if you’re just getting started with freelance writing, spare time to write at least three samples for your writing portfolio.
Get your samples reviewed by a seasoned writer before you submit them to your potential clients.
2 – Have a Niche-based Writing Portfolio
Niche-based portfolios will perform better than general just-about-anything portfolios.
Your niche is your topic of interest, and could be something you enjoy doing, or you’ve developed an interest in. Maybe you’re writing about:
- Health and fitness
- Lifestyle or
As a writer, finding and concentrating on your niche marks the turning point in your freelance writing career.
However, concentrating on one niche may not be possible during your initial stages of freelance writing.
If you’ve chosen a writing niche already, create a portfolio with your best niche-based articles to help you find well-paying freelance writing jobs start earning money in your niche of choice.
My portfolio is more about digital marketing and freelancing even though I write on other niches like health, fitness and eCommerce.
3 – Prioritize Published Articles
As a general rule, published portfolios create the best first impression and have a higher chance of winning clients.
Clients don’t enjoy reading samples in word or PDF formats (Google docs would perform way better).
The best places to publish your online writing portfolio for better conversion rates include:
Your Personal Blog or Website
If you have a personal blog, create a ‘Portfolio’ page where you publish articles specifically meant to showcase your writing skills.
LinkedIn is another excellent place to create your writer portfolio.
If you didn’t know yet, LinkedIn has a publishing function (Called Pulse) where you can publish your best samples.
Your published article will have a link that you can always share with your potential clients.
Use the ‘Featured’ section to make your samples more visible to the public, as I’ve done here in my LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t have a website or personal blog, Medium is another publishing platform that can help you build an excellent freelance writing portfolio from scratch.
Many writers are currently using Medium to publish and showcase their writing skills on topics like Cryptocurrency, parenting, and blockchain.
You can also create a Medium account for free and publish some of your portfolio samples there.
Contently is a freelance writing site that enables writers to create a writing portfolio from which contently can match them with potential clients.
You only need to create your free account and add your best projects for an outstanding portfolio that you can share with clients.
Here’s an example of my Contently portfolio:
There’s no better way to display your writing skills and potential than through a guest post.
A guest post is an article written by you and published on another person’s blog, bearing your name as the author.
They simply tell your clients that your articles are so good that someone else would want to have them on their website.
Start seeking guest-post opportunities today for a more authoritative and credible writing portfolio.
The screenshot below shows my first guest post about freelance writing jobs published on Walter Akolo’s Freelancer Kenya. I always use it when sending proposals to my potential clients.
4 – Have an ‘About/Bio’ and ‘Contact’ Section
Whatever site you choose for building your online freelance writing portfolio, always have an ‘About’ or ‘Bio’ page and a ‘Contacts’ section.
These will tell the client more about you before they decide to hire you and readily provide a way to contact you if they’re impressed by your portfolio.
If you’re creating the portfolio on your website, you probably have an ‘About’ and ‘Contacts’ page ready.
LinkedIn, Medium, and Contently also have about pages that you can use to talk more about your writing skills.
For guest posts, always submit an author bio to be published with your article.
See what an author bio looks like from my example below:
5 – Keep Your Freelance Writing Portfolio Updated
When you’re starting out as a freelance writer, your sample articles will probably be ‘shoddy’ (with some weird sentence structures and poor readability).
And guess what? That’s perfectly ok.
A bad sample is better than no sample at all.
However, as you continue writing, your skills will improve, and you’ll start writing higher quality, SEO-optimized articles for your clients.
Don’t forget to replace those armature samples. They will keep your portfolio updated and help you land higher-paying clients as you continue learning.
Raise Your Income with an Outstanding Portfolio
So, hey, if you’re a freelance writer with no portfolio yet, it’s time to start building one.
Write new articles or perfect the ones you already have, then publish them.
For the best results, have at least three articles published on LinkedIn, Medium, Contently, and your personal blog (if you have one).
That way, when a client asks you: “Can I see some high-quality articles you’ve written before?”
You proudly respond: “Here is a link to my writing portfolio.”
Sounds cool, right?
Expert Tip: Having your portfolio on multiple sites will make you look like a highly credible writer for hire, and help you build a successful freelance writing brand in the long run.
Watch this video to guide you on how to create your writing portfolio on some of the best sites on the internet.