How To Create A Writing Portfolio That Is A Business Magnet.
A portfolio is a collection of seized opportunities, lessons learned, and projects accomplished. It may start out as a small list, but has the capacity to grow and improve. Creating a writing portfolio compiles all of your skills, projects, and triumphs into one neat space. A space that you can welcome others into. Writers use their portfolios to gain clients. In order for it to work for you as well, here on some tips to insure you have the best writing portfolio possible.
Be professional and personable.
Adding personality to your writing portfolio gives you the opportunity to stand out. When they first arrive, you are just a name. They have likely gone through dozens of names. You need them to remember you. A great way to do this is to welcome them with your beautiful smile.
Near the top of your writing portfolio you should include a description about yourself. This should include what service you provide, a snapshot of your expertise, and a display image. Typically, a display image is a picture of yourself. However, if you are not a fan of photos, an avatar can be appropriate.
Holly Johnson is the perfect example of this. Below is a screenshot from her website Club Thrifty. Her picture is professional and her strengths are highlighted immediately while maintaining a conversational tone.
Be mindful of what you include.
The purpose of a writing portfolio is to define your strengths. This can be in the type of pieces you write, such as: research articles, short stories, or blog posts. Alternatively, it can represent the topics you write about, such as: travel, finance, or food. Have at least one piece that demonstrates each of your strengths.
If you are unsure whether or not to include a specific piece, there is one question to ask yourself. Would I be confident if this is the only thing my target audience read? Your target audience is presumably potential clients. If you are not confident in the piece, leave it out. Your portfolio will grow with time. Do not worry if it is slim at this point. Don’t clutter is with subpar work.
Write a description for each portfolio piece.
Each piece you add to your writing portfolio should be accompanied with a description. The description can include what company you wrote for, the title, or a brief summary. Be sure to include a link to the actual article. A photo here is not expected. If you include a photo, ensure it is appropriate.
Lindsay Vansomeren’s writing portfolio is exquisite. Each article she includes a professional photo, the company she worked with, and a blurb about the article. In the top bar of Lindsay’s page, you can even filter by clients, topics, or skills.
Update your writing portfolio to include your latest works. This isn’t so potential employers benefit. They likely won’t notice gaps in your portfolio. Unless, you are dating each piece. I have yet to see a professional writing portfolio that includes the dates. If employers want to know the time-frame, they can click though the link you provide. There, they can find the date it was published.
Keeping your writing portfolio up-to-date is for your benefit. You will improve the more you write. Your portfolio needs to show potential employers your current skill set. Your standards will rise. You may decide to delete old projects that don’t reflect your current skills. Another option is revamping them with what you know now. Be confident in each piece you include.
Call-to-action for contact.
Every writing portfolio, like every blog post, should have a call-to-action at the end. A call to action is a request you make to the reader. Since the goal of a writing portfolio is to connect with and impress potential employers, you call-to-action will be for them to contact you.
At the very least, point them at the ‘Contact’ page assuming it is easily accessible. (Which it should be. If it’s not, fix it!) Some writers also include a contact form at the bottom the portfolio. Why not? If you got to the bottom, they must be interested in you. Give them the opportunity to contact you will you are the only thing on their mind.
In your contact form, you can have as many input boxes as you would like. You should have a minimum of there name, email, and project details. You can also include options for their website, the projects goal, what timeline they are looking for, and their budget.
Amy Beardsley utilized a contact form at the bottom of her writing portfolio on her site Early Morning Money. This way she gets a bulk of the information she needs upfront. This saves Amy’s time and her potential employers time.
What if I don’t have a lot of experience?
Making a writing portfolio with little or no experience is doable. Don’t settle or sell yourself short. Non-client work is okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. Use this time wisely. Explore and write about whatever you want. Figure out if you prefer blog posts, research articles, or fiction.
Once you have three to five pieces you are proud to slap your name on, you are good to go. If you would prefer to find some gig first, it is possible. Contact your local non-profit and offer to write for them. You will likely be writing for free. But, it benefits everyone involved. A non-profit gets publicity and you get to list them as a client.
For more freelancing tips for beginners, take a look here. You’ll learn how to get your first gig, pick a niche, and how to set your rates.
Now you know.
Having a proper writing portfolio will make or break a writer. It is how you represent yourself and your capabilities. You now know how to turn your life experiences into a money-making machine. How is your portfolio coming? For portfolio questions and feedback, drop your link in the comments below.