How to Build a Strong and Functional Freelance Writer Portfolio

by WorkFromHome on January 13, 2012

In the world of online freelancers, you can’t count on anyone to promote your services other than yourself. Because of this simple fact, it’s critical that you have a solid portfolio to fall back on when you’re talking with new clients. The time spent working on a good portfolio pays back huge dividends over time because you’re able to secure more clients with less hassle. A portfolio will allow you to show your value as a writer and get clients that pay more per assignment. Here we’re going to show you how to create a good portfolio and how to put it to use.

Using Your Portfolio as a Money-Making Tool

The main purpose of your portfolio is to act as a way for clients to assess your value as a writer. Therefore, your job in preparing your portfolio is to represent yourself and your writing abilities in a positive light. To do this, there are two main points you should remember. The first point is that you’ll want to showcase your ability to write well, and this much is obvious. The second point is to show any work you’ve done for popular websites, businesses and people. This second point isn’t so obvious, but it’s very important and can give you the edge against your competitors.

Creating a Portfolio From Scratch

When you’re first starting out, you might want to write pieces for yourself just for your portfolio. The reason for this is that you might not have a huge body of work to your name, but you’re still going to need to have writing samples available to show potential clients. A portfolio of three or four pieces is going to be sufficient for most newcomers as long as they are about a variety of topics. Your portfolio is going to be a bit thin at this point, but remember the point. You’re not creating a portfolio to be perfect; you’re putting together some writing samples as a courtesy to your clients.

Specializing and Adjusting Your Portfolio

Many freelance writers who work from home end up specializing by writing almost exclusively about one or two specific industries. By matching up your portfolio with what type of work you’re targeting, you can land clients more easily. The idea at work here is to tailor the presentation of your knowledge and skills to each potential client. This can help to showcase your expertise in a particular area and demonstrate your value. Since expert specialist writers tend to be low in supply, you’ll be able to charge more money for your services since it will be difficult to replace you.

Networking With Professionals

You should take every opportunity you’re given to show that you are sought after by highly professional individuals in the fields you write about. The idea here is to build your portfolio in a way that shows off the people you have worked with. Your potential clients will see your associations with professionals in the industry, and these associations will work in your favor by driving up the demand for your services. This is similar to the concept that people would prefer to eat in a crowded restaurant than an empty one. As the thought process goes, there must be something really great about a restaurant for it to be crowded, and there must be something wrong about a restaurant if it’s always empty.

Maintaining Your Portfolio Over Time

After you’ve put together a portfolio, it can be easy to just let it stay the way it is for months or years to come. However, this is a very lazy way of handling such an important tool, and not maintaining it can come back to haunt you later on. You have to maintain your portfolio just like you would maintain a car. You’re going to need to check up on your portfolio on a regular basis and make additions as you see fit. If you keep your portfolio up to date and presentable, then it will always be ready when you need it. On the other hand, if you let your portfolio become outdated, then it won’t be ready when you need it and you might miss out on opportunities to attract new clients.

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