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Freelance Writing: Putting Together an Online Portfolio
When you're trying to land freelance writing jobs, you need to have some kind of writing portfolio in place to demonstrate your writing ability to prospective writing clients. If you're new to freelance writing though, you're probably wondering what your portfolio should look like and what kind of clips you should be including in it.
What Does My Freelance Writing Portfolio Look Like?
My own freelance writing portfolio is included on my personal website, which I like to direct prospective clients to. One page on my website is labeled "Writing Portfolio" and contains links to website features and blog posts that I've written in my main areas. (If you're interested in seeing this in action, my freelance writing website is here). That isn't to say that I simply put a link to my freelance writing website in job applications. I'll usually include links to two or three pieces that are relevant to the job that I'm applying for and then include a sentence suggesting that they go to my website if they're interested in seeing more examples of my work.
Which Clips to Include
I've personally split my portfolio into the main topics that I write on (for example, health & fitness, celebrity-based features, personal finance, sports etc.) so that prospective clients can easily see what kind of experience I've got in a specific area. This can be useful for editors who come across your website on an unsolicited basis (if you've not been responding to job adverts, for example), because they can quickly see whether I'm used to writing in the area that their publication covers. For example, if a technology editor stumbles across my website, the lack of a technology section in my online portfolio indicates that I'm not the best person to write for their publication and there's little need to contact me about any openings they may have.
If you're going for a more general portfolio, I used to include at least five articles (some of which were longer, feature-type length articles), 2-5 website pieces (to demonstrate my ability to write for the web) and 2-5 blog posts. There's also good scope for including copywriting work if that's a route that you plan to go down.
Do You Need a Website For Your Online Portfolio?
You don't necessarily need to set up a website. You could always use this very website as a means of demonstrating your writing ability. After all, your HubPages profile is a ready-made collection of some of your best and newest work. Do be aware that not all editors look on the likes of HubPages as a credible source for your portfolio, possibly because you're not paid for your work. This tends to seem unfair as there are some fantastic writers on HubPages but it's something to bear in mind if your clips only come from your hubs.
If you choose to have a website, don't feel that you need to spend a small fortune on it. My own freelance writing website is free from Moonfruit and I just pay once a year to keep my domain name active. Sure, I have to maintain the site myself and add or remove clips to keep my online portfolio relatively up-to-date or edit the information on the homepage but it doesn't take long and I'd rather do that than pay someone else to do it.