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Hey Hubbers! Are you undervaluing the commercial potential of your Hubs? You probably are!

Updated on May 6, 2012
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I’ve been on Hub Pages for a couple of years now, and I’ve had the chance to have a look around. I’m a professional commercial writer, and what I see is that a lot of Hubs are excellent but apparently commercially underrated as portfolio materials for their writers. Writing really is “a portfolio profession”. You’re as good as your materials, as far as anyone hiring you knows.

I thought an article on this subject would be of use to new Hubbers in particular, but I must say that a lot of experienced Hubbers are obviously sitting on high value skills, too. I’m quite sure they could make a good income out of writing in their chosen fields, which was another incentive to write this Hub.

Hubs and the world of commercial writing

There are quite a few Hubbers who are obviously experts on their chosen subjects, and they write fluently and effectively in their fields. What they don’t seem to have quite realized is that there’s a huge (literally gigantic) market out there for these materials, in practically every area. I’ve seen Hubs which are easily better than their commercial competition and expert level writing in fields that are screaming for new inputs.

The strange thing is that people usually write to their strengths. They know their subjects, they know what they’re talking about and they have something to say. They also therefore don’t see anything unusual or different about what they write. What seems like a perfectly natural article for them is in fact gold to others, particularly online publishers, blogs and commercial agencies.

The demand for new materials is bigger than ever. That situation has created a rather difficult set of problems for the people who buy these materials. There are a lot of people out there who churn out what is basically substandard, very iffy quality stuff. So the buyers, understandably, are getting very fussy. They want to see portfolios, they want to see published work, and they particularly want to see quality. That’s where Hub Pages comes in to the picture.

The value of your Hubs

This article isn’t actually intended to be a commercial for Hub Pages, but this section is definitely going to look like one.

Your Hubs are perfect portfolio materials for very good reasons:

Quality controls

· Hub Pages doesn’t want previously published or duplicated work, as Hubbers know. Those requirements, by default, are criteria for verifying your writing skills. It’s “Copyscape by other means”, if you like, but it’s also proof positive of your abilities.

· Hub Pages ratings are good yardstick measures, and most importantly just about everyone who publishes anything online or in print knows what they mean. If your Hub Pages profile rating is in the 80s or 90s, it says your work is rated pretty well in an environment where you can be up-voted or down-voted by the entire world.

· Hub Pages own built in quality controls and flags for materials needing amendment or revision are self-explanatory. They’re also strong positive qualifiers for your portfolio. Your published Hubs have passed these fundamental requirements which are so important to publishers of commercial materials.

Reputation

· Hub Pages is a very reputable, well known site. That’s critically important when writing commercially. Where you write is often as important as what you write.

· That reputation, as a matter of fact, is another very high value of Hub Pages apparently going begging in some cases. If you can write well on any subject, what could possibly be more useful than a high profile, high quality site as a “work reference” to your writing?

Hubs as portfolio materials

You can create a good healthy writing portfolio on Hub Pages, just doing your normal writing. The gigantic advantage is that you can also write without the constraints of being told what to write or how to write it. You can really showcase your writing skills and knowledge. You can develop ideas and literally design your portfolio as you wish.

Why is this so important? Because commercial writing is highly competitive. You’re potentially competing with every other writer in your field. For every writing gig, expect at least a few hundred applicants. Most professional writers have portfolios which are a mishmash of anything and everything, and “haven’t got the right stuff for this gig” problems when asked for writing samples.

Hubs allow you to literally tailor-make your portfolio. Better still, your work is properly presented, unlike some of those “quaint” blogs and hideous sites where the typos and hieroglyphs in the WordPress headings are the main eye catchers and adorable ads for dubious things are also distractions. (Who or what writes software that can’t read standard characters, anyway?)

(Important- Given a choice, use your Hubs rather than anything that looks even slightly like these things. The poorly presented writing samples usually won’t even be looked at. They’re effectively instant disqualifications for the good publishers and agencies.)

So in this very much portfolio-oriented profession, Hubs are gold in the hand. It really bothers me that so many Hubbers are apparently unaware of the very high commercial value their Hubs can provide.

Think about this, because you really can create a career out of a good portfolio, and this is the place to do it. I hope this is of some use to the new Hubbers as basic orientation, but you experienced guys, particularly the experts in various fields- Please take note of the points about Hubs and portfolio materials quality! You could literally be missing out on a lot of money and personal achievements by undervaluing your Hubs.


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    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      poshcoffeeco

      The fact that you recognize "cringeworthy" when you see it is an excellent sign. I regularly tell all aspiring writers "If you don't love it, don't write it".

      I gather we have one thing in common- Telling people about multiple income streams. I've been doing that for years in various ways. That sort of area, where you're highly motivated and have a very strong grip on your subjects, is where you really learn to write and get your messages across.

      At freelance level, it really is a business. If you've got the instinct for business, you'll soon pick up how to handle the freelance work and understand the options.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 

      5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Paul,

      thanks for this interesting article. You have opened my eyes and I am grateful for that. I am proud of my Hub Pages Portfolio and regularly make changes when I re read my earlier articles. Some of my earlier efforts are cringeworthy so I have to revisit regularly as my writing experience increases along with my knowledge.

      Could I cut it as a freelance? Of that I am not so sure, but I do enjoy article writing and blogging.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Running Deer- Your portfolio is your greatest asset, and on Hub Pages you have a lot of control over quality and range of subject matter. Glad to see people are picking up on this idea, because believe me, I went through the blender building up a portfolio myself. I couldn't even look at muesli for two years afterwards. I'd been living on it for a year. Happy to spare other writers that obstacle course. (Also please note, Running Deer and other writers- You can use your Hub Pages portfolio to "promote yourself" in terms of skills for employers and contracts. Another lesson I learned the hard way.)

    • RunningDeer profile image

      RunningDeer 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      As a graduate student starting in the fall, this is a great idea for me to build up a portfolio. I'll be getting an MA in English/Creative Writing. Thanks for the insights.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Thank you for this very clearly explained topic. I found it interesting and accurate.

      Voted Up.

    • Cathleena Beams profile image

      Cathleena Beams 

      6 years ago from Lascassas, Tennessee

      For Drspaniel: Well I'm closing in on $1.00 this month so far for Hubpages. I had wondered off on other ventures and let things go over here. After some considerable thought and thinking carefully through all my options, it dawned on me that I have the best chance for success if I stay focused on Hubpages instead of wondering around elsewhere looking to see what else is out there. For some of us it is hard not to get distracted, but I realized that the ones who are successful here have been very busy creating hubs as well as interacting with other Hubbers. Seems like a good plan to me!

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      drspaniel- I think you may have misunderstoond. Hubs in this context are used as portfolio materials for other commercial writing gigs, not as sources of income in their own right.

      For the record, you can't be classed as a spammer for your own original materials, just prolific.

    • drspaniel profile image

      drspaniel 

      6 years ago from Somewhere, where the sun shines once a year...

      I try daily to create the best content that I possibly can, and since I'm somewhat a perfectionist, I tend to not publish something until in my eyes it is perfect. However, despite this, I am becoming more and more concerned about the amount of money that I'm receiving on HubPages, as in truth it highly disappoints me.

      I know that many Hubbers are finding this to be a problem, and the usual advice is to continue making high quality content, however there must be a way to make more money without writing tons of content. to relate back to this Hub, I'm pretty sure writing tons of content may put a 'down' on your portfolio, as you will be classed as a spammer.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you for such valuable information.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Thanks for an excellent hub and amazing advice... Newbies like me obviously need such tips...

      Thanks again!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Excellent reminder, Paul, to all serious HP writers.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great Hub, full of valuable info for us. Much appreciated !

    • handymanharry profile image

      handymanharry 

      6 years ago from USA

      If you ever get to the bottom of this list of comments Paul i´d just like to add my thanks for such a great hub, i would share it but as i´m new i don´t think there is a whole lotta point yet but i will save it to read again later, many thanks

      Harry

    • buckleupdorothy profile image

      buckleupdorothy 

      6 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      That's actually why I originally joined HubPages - to develop a portfolio to include with my resume as I re-enter the job market after graduate school. It's good to be reminded of this, early and often. Thank you.

      Voted up and shared.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Cardisa- You hope you can eat muesli? Now I'm worried!

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      RunAbstract- The advice to pharmacist above is a very basic rundown of the areas where you can write commercially. Your Hubs have a very wide spread of subjects, however. What areas of expertise would you be able to develop into "endless" writing? Those are the areas where you'll be able to write well and with confidence.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      pharmacist-

      You need to go a bit beyond marketing in this game. The big question for publishers and agencies is really what you're marketing. (I spend a lot of time working with marketers, and the top people will tell you that of the 4Ps of marketing, "Product" is the real deal.)

      Actually, you already know far more than you may realize about where it will pay well to write professionally-

      What are your areas of expertise, where you can write fluently and really provide good quality material? Do you have a hobby on which you're the established expert? You may be surprised to hear that you can write on some of your favorite sites and publications, if your material is what they want.

      Marketing, in professional writing, equates to what you've had published. It looks like a chicken and egg thing, superficially, but as you can see, if you're writing on your strong subjects, you're in with a shot across your entire range, even if you've never had anything published before. Then you can market yourself as a writer anywhere.

      This is simply a fact. I'm always fascinated by how well people who aren't even writers can write on their special subjects. They tend to be more informative and a lot less verbose, too. Their quality is high, readers love it, and publishers love what the readers love.

      Elance is pretty good as a general guide to the various ups and downs of writing commercially. Another thing you'll need to look at are the commercial writing gigs as contracts. The contracts can pay extremely well, but you need to know your way around the legals and see the rates offered.

      Very important- Stick to areas of writing where you're 100% sure you can deliver top quality, particuarly when starting out so you can build a strong commercial portfolio. Your Hubs prove your ability to write well on your subjects, and the people who recognize the value of your materials will buy more. Your commercially published materials expand and articulate your range of subjects for other publishers. That's where you really start marketing professionally.

      For example, you have a range of market niches in your existing Hubs.

      I see your Hubs include professional information as a pharmacist. These are high value Hubs to the drug companies, consumer groups, support groups and related publications. The Hubs have particular value as "interpreter" information for those who need to understand these subjects. That's also best practice writing, creating structured information for readers from the ground up on a particular subject. I'd say you'd have no trouble doing basic How To materials across that very large spectrum. Just about every site in your sector wants that material.

      Hope that helps.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 

      6 years ago from USA

      I personally love to wtite, but don't have a clue about how to get into it commercially.

      This was a great article! Voted up and more!

    • pharmacist profile image

      Jason Poquette 

      6 years ago from Whitinsville, MA

      Paul,

      Great Hub - definitely has gotten me thinking. Can you comment on the best sites/resources to begin marketing yourself as a professional article writer? I am aware of Elance, but not really of any others. Voted up and sharing!

    • AnimalWrites profile image

      AnimalWrites 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Very interesting, as I too had never thought of using hubs as part of a writing portfolio. I am also aware of the 'because I can do it, it can't be worth much' syndrome, so your hub has reminded me to value what I do a bit more highly

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Thanks for this hub. It does provide food for thought. We have done some writing and photography for Tricia's Pilates business, some of which we tried out as Hubs first. There could be other subjects where we could spread our writing. I've voted this hub as Interesting.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Roderic29- I've been a writer for quite a while now. I think I do understand, at least to a point.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      You just provided the interpretation to a prayer that I received answers to. I know understand way I received it! I know you want understand but thanks you.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Just_Rodney- Yeah, Hub Pages is getting a very healthy reputation as a source for information among the commercial people, too. They consider it a very high value site, so your Eisbien really is on the top of the heap in more ways than one! You could use your Hubs as a reference to publishers for a recipe book, perhaps?

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 

      6 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Thanks for this one, my brother and his wife stopped by last weekend, a perttinant comment was made! He stated that he was making Eisbien the next weekend, so he googled for a how to cook it. He commented with a certain amount of "pride", that my recipe was on the 1st page, top four just above Jamie O's recipe.

      That is confirmation that Hubpages is The great way of getting the exposure.

      Thanks for the hub.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Very interesting! I never thought about using my HubPages account as a portfolio but more as an archiving of photos and events that others may find of interest. I should probably explore my options further. Thanks! Voted interesting and useful.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      daisynicolas- There are a lot of factors involved in creating a writing portfolio, like areas of specialization and preferred emphases on particular subjects. I didn't want to go into "how", more "why", people should use their Hubs as portfolio materials.

    • daisynicolas profile image

      daisynicolas 

      6 years ago from Alaska

      I think your hub could be of service better if you enumerate the steps to the mission you're saying.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      6 years ago

      I thank you very much for this information. I really never thought of it that way....now I will. Thanks you for sharing.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Very enlightening hub. I just read yesterday an excerpt from a book by another professional commercial writer who said basically the same thing. Not about HubPages, but about the value to companies of finding a good writer and how much of what is being produced is not up to snuff. I don't consider myself an expert in anything, really, but there are plenty of hubbers on this site who are indeed experts and could probably get work and pull in some serious dollars just by writing about what they know. Really, really good topic, and voted up.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 

      6 years ago

      What a great hub! Thank-you for the information and the "kick in the pants". I am so guilty of undervaluing my writing and your hub opened my eyes to new possibilities. I appreciate the lesson. Voted this hub up!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the encouragement to try at something else. Now to get my confidence up.

    • Cathleena Beams profile image

      Cathleena Beams 

      6 years ago from Lascassas, Tennessee

      Great points, Paul. I hadn't put much thought into the portfolio possibilities before now. I like the ease of writing on Hubpages and the set-up here for connecting with other writers in the community. We learn from each other and grow our skills and knowledge by reading other authors hubs. This is a wonderful place to write and read for the fun of it!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      This is a great hub full of useful information to me as a new online writer. I have tried to apply for online writing jobs in the past but that was before my 55 plus hubs here. Thanks for sharing this I'm gonna start building my portfolio! Voted up and useful and shared with followers! Take care, Kelley

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Shared with followers, Useful, and Interesting. Thanks for the tip re HubPages as portfolio.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      I hope that the day will come when I can finally eat muesli too!

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      I am thrilled to read this. I started hubpages because I thought I might be good at writing and wanted to give it a try. I have been enjoying writing a variety of material. Now I am considering freelance writing for income. I don't really have a portfilio aside from a few Cemetery Newsletters, handbooks, and brochures. I was wondering if I could use hubs to start a portfolio. And now I know that I can. I guess I better start working on some more hubs!

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 

      6 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Thanks, Paul. I have only been writing on hubpages or anywhere for 2 or 3 months now, honing my skills, so to speak. In the next few weeks, I plan to branch out and do some freelance writing. So, I appreciate your point and will certainly use some of my hubs in a portfolio.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I've been writing on employment issues in the US and Europe for many years. As a writer, of course, I took all the hits that freelancers get, (It took me two years to be able to eat muesli again) and I'm hoping I can save other writers as much suffering as possible.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      My hubs are my portfolio and I am still working on revising quite a few. Certainly great info and good advice.:) Voted up and shared! :)

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Cardisa- Yeah, creating the right mix for Elance definitely needs some thought and the quality of the materials is critical. It is so important to have a fairly broad spectrum, but also to have the specific materials which clients need to see. (Actually I should take my own advice and upgrade my portfolio, too, because the existing one is getting out of date. Thanks for reminding me!)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great advice! I also think of writing hubs as building my portfolio. It's so important to write good, quality hubs. Great info for new and older hubbers alive. Many votes on this one and sharing, too!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      I have used my hubs as my portfolio for my Elance account and I have been very successful in winning bids with them. I also have a portfolio on my computer and one on the Elance site so when I bid on jobs clients have the option of looking through my hubpages articles along with the saved articles that I did for other clients. I don't consider them samples since they were done and paid for by clients.

      This hub is great advice.

    • purnimamoh1982 profile image

      purnimamoh1982 

      6 years ago

      Like your hub a lot for its insights. Completely in agreement with you that hubs can make a substantial value addition to one's portfolio. voted up and followed.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I appreciate your article here, as I see how it can certainly help some people (especially those who need a little confidence).

      On the other hand there are those like me who just write for the sake of writing; for the love of writing and to share knowledge.

      "You’re potentially competing with every other writer in your field." - I am competeing with nobody. I have been here for almost three years and I still have not activated my ad-sense account ... I do not write for the pennies Hub-pages offers and with that in mind, I must say that when one writes for the sake of writing and not a check, there is less pressure and the writing seems to me more honest.

      Just some flying thoughts. Cheers! : )

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      I definitely think of my hubs as a portfolio - they are an investment of my time for future earnings.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      UnamedHarald, that really is the problem. There are quite a few people here who I thought needed to see this option and recognize their potentials. Pick your strongest subjects, where you write naturally, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the response.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for that perspective, Paul. I never thought of my hubs in that perspective-- as a portfolio that I can "stack the deck" with articles I get to choose and develop. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for the confirmations, Happyboomernurse and nybride710. I really do want to get this point across, so very much appreciated.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      My 90 hubs are useful for use as an online portfolio. I try to write on a variety of topics so I can just pull out a Hub when applying for work elsewhere.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      I have successfully used hubs as part of a portfolio and am also aware that everything I publish on HubPages can easily be found if anyone Googled my name.

      Thanks for sharing this information. Voted up, useful and interesting.

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