How to Create a Writing Portfolio that Wins You Clients

As a new freelance writer, your main goal is likely to establish a steady income by finding some great assignments to work on. You may be able to get a few assignments without a writing portfolio that showcases your talents and abilities. However, before you can get the really plum assignments that top freelance writers are competing for, you should take some time to develop a writing portfolio.

Existing Samples. If you have any prior writing experience, other than writing your own college term papers of course, you will want to pick out several of your best pieces to show off in your portfolio. You should choose several different types of articles, papers, and so forth that show off your versatility as a writer. Your pieces should be of different lengths, on different topics, and in different tones, if possible. If you have longer pieces available, such as books or ebooks, an excerpt of a few pages will work great.

Creating Samples. If you know that you have what it takes to be a freelance writer but haven’t yet had the chance to prove your skills, you will need to do some extra work to create a portfolio. Essentially you will need to create writing samples for your portfolio. You may include a few product descriptions, blog posts, news or how-to articles, and even a few gripping pages from a book you haven’t fully written yet. Most clients don’t want to necessarily see that you have worked for a laundry list of other clients, but rather that you have the ability to write well.

Choose Wisely. You should keep in mind that many clients don’t have the ability to see beyond the work you include in your portfolio. It is somewhat similar to a real estate agent telling you that you need to define a space in your home for potential buyers by staging it with well-placed furnishings. You certainly want to include a variety of samples, but you should absolutely make sure that your portfolio includes samples of projects that are similar to projects you are bidding on or would like to work on. For instance, if you prefer to write product descriptions as web content, you should include a few of these in your portfolio. Keep in mind that your portfolio can grow and change with your career, and even on a project-by-project basis for individual projects you are bidding on. You may have several different portfolios available on different types of projects, too. Some freelancers will have a portfolio for ghostwriting ebooks, one for writing SEO-rich articles, and so forth.

Format. When you hear the word “portfolio”, you may have visions of a huge folder that you pass across a desk to a potential client. However, we live a high tech age where most portfolios are actually submitted to potential clients via email or another digital format. For this reason, it is a good idea to compile your portfolio in a format such as a pdf file or another similar format. If the time comes when you do need to hand a portfolio to a potential client directly, you can always print your file out to take with you to a meeting.

It can sound intimidating to consider creating a portfolio. However, when you sit down and commit yourself to the task, you will find that you can compile a great portfolio in just a few hours. Once your portfolio is complete, you will be ready to go head-to-head and compete for plum freelance writing assignments.


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