Developing your portfolio should be way up there on your to-do list! That is why it is number two in “The 12 Rules of Freelance Writing” series.

Why?

Your writing portfolio showcases your skill and expertise. It acts as a resume of sorts to show potential clients just what you can do.

portfolio for freelance writer

Just like with any other job, you need to prove that you are the best person for it. This is where your portfolio comes in handy.

If you are brand spanking new to freelance writing how do you do this?

If you have not published articles, or have a client list as yet then what do you add to your portfolio?

Never fear, there are ways to build a portfolio for new or unpublished freelance writers.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is a fantastic way to build your portfolio. It is one of my personal favourites!

All you need to do is turn to good old Google to find a blog in your niche.

For example, if your niche is organic beauty products you can type into Google guest post + organic beauty product website or write for us + organic beauty product website.

I just typed that into Google and got pages of results. Give it a go and see what you can find in your niche!

Alternatively, you can Google websites in your niche and have a look on their website to see if they accept guest posts. If they do, great! Read the guidelines, write a great post and send it in. Once it is published, add it to your portfolio!

If they don’t, but you believe you have an amazing article in mind that would suit their website then pitch it to them. You never know unless you give it a go!

See….simple!

And you never know, that pitch may lead to a PAID freelance writing opportunity.

An added bonus to guest posting is the inclusion of an author bio. You can add a short summary of who you are, with links to your website and social media handles. It promotes your service and will help drive traffic to your website.

Although you tend not to be paid for guest posting, the benefits of doing so is payment enough. You build your portfolio, develop contacts in your niche, and create free marketing by including your bio.

Blog

Many freelancers who successfully market themselves have a blog. So why not jump on the bandwagon and create your own blog too?

A blog is a great way to develop a portfolio, especially if you do not have a client list yet. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is your number one portfolio building tool as a new freelance writer.

Blogging displays your writing style and can help attract potential clients.

How does it attract clients?

Simply by making your website visible to search engines and engaging an audience through your amazing content! Potential clients will see that, and think “well they could do this for me too”!

A portfolio is about showcasing your work and showing potential clients what you can do. If you haven’t started a blog yet, I highly recommend you get on it TODAY!

As busy parents, this may not be appealing. We already have enough on our plates without adding a blog in the mix! However, I do believe that is well worth the effort. Creating and maintaining a blog does not have to be hard or stressful. As long as you are organized and use those amazing time management skills you can do it!

Pro Bono Work

Gasp! Another recommendation to work for free?

Yes!

Like guest posting, writing Pro Bono is a great way to establish a portfolio and build a network of contacts.

However, you need to be strategic. Consider the return you will get from investing your time and effort when you write for free.

Will writing for my local community newsletter add value to my portfolio?

Do I currently have the time to dedicate to writing for my local newspaper for free?

How many people will this reach? Will it attract potential clients?

Most importantly, will it take away from paid client work (if you currently have any)?

Don’t take on too many pro bono projects. As amazing as the opportunities are to grow your portfolio, you can become resentful and feel as though you are being taken advantage of.

As your freelance writing business grows you should scale back the free work you are doing (unless you really really enjoy it and you have time).

Create Sample Pieces.

If you are aiming at a particular niche (which is another thing I highly recommend you do) then you can create a few sample pieces to post on your portfolio.

Who knows, a potential client may read a sample article and offer to pay to use it! How amazing would that be?

Take your time to craft a high quality and engaging piece. You do, after all, want to showcase your BEST work.

What kind of sample pieces should you put in your portfolio?

The list is endless! However, you should focus on putting samples of content that you want to create and be paid for.

Some examples:

  • Emails.
  • Mock-ups of white papers.
  • Site content (such as About pages).
  • Blog posts.
  • Product descriptions.
  • eBooks.

Pitch to online websites, magazines and newspapers.

Now we get to the PAID options….if the editor approves your article.

Pitching to online websites, magazines and newspapers is similar to the process of pitching guest posts to blogs and websites.

Simply research what publications fall in your niche and if they offer payment for articles. If they do, make sure you take note of their submission guidelines. Editors are extremely busy people and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to have an article published (and money in your account) by not addressing the criteria appropriately.

Showcasing your portfolio.

Now you have accumulated some decent samples, what do you do with them?

Create a Portfolio Page on your website of course (I am hoping by now you have invested in a website)!

You can use a plugin to create a professional looking portfolio. Or go for simplicity and just add the links to online published articles, or upload the samples you have created.

Don’t forget to add your published pieces to your LinkedIn profile and share them on social media.

I know many of these ideas to develop your portfolio are unpaid opportunities. I can hear you ask, but as a stay-at-home-parent or work-at-home-parent, I don’t have time to waste on unpaid work. But it will pay off. Trust me.

Remember, it is showcasing your work. Putting your style and voice out there to attract potential clients. And never forget, some of these opportunities lead to paid work!

Have you used these ideas to develop your portfolio? Have you found any other ways to build a portfolio when you do not have a client list yet? I would love to hear them in the comments below.                                                 

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