Writing portfolio essentials include a lot more than just writing samples (believe it or not).
Because when you create or update your writing portfolio, you have to keep your reader's need in mind.
And this involves showing potential clients what you're capable of.
And no, that does not involve compiling everything you've ever written!
So...what samples should you include in your writing portfolio?
When selecting samples for your writing portfolio, start by narrow down what you've written so far, to your best work.
Then carefully brainstorm what types of content you want to write more of.
And don't just say "all types of content" because you want to increase your chances of attracting clients!
Because businesses are a lot more willing to invest time in a specialist in a specific type of writing, then a writer that covers "a variety of topics."
When selecting your niche, you're balancing the demand for a content type, with what you're good at/ like to write about.
And if you don't feel like you have enough relevant samples you can always:
- Write relevant guest posts
- Volunteer your time for a cause you care about to build up more relevant writing samples
- Do a service exchange with other freelancers
So what else do you need in your portfolio? Here's a checklist of portfolio essentials to help you convert leads into clients.
1) Categories for larger portfolios
I've browsed a lot of writing portfolios.
And the average portfolio is often available in one of two ways:
- Smaller portfolios, with only a few samples, that prove that this person has written about a specific topic or for a specific audience before.
- Larger portfolios that give the reader more than one topic or type of writing to choose from
Sure, you can easily go with option two.
But if you're going to do that you need to divide the portfolio into easy to understand categories.
Because it might be a bit overwhelming for the reader if a bunch of random samples are arranged in a totally random order!
But why is the case?
Because hiring freelancers takes time, so readers need to be able to instantly decide which samples resemble the type of content they're looking for.
For example, I take a similar approach with my portfolio, because clients hire me for both website copywriting projects and blog content creation projects.
So this allows them to take a look at samples that fall under both categories.
2) An intro to what you're best at
Sometimes your portfolio will be the first thing that people see.
So you need to introduce them to what you specialize in, in the same way, that you would on places like your home page, your about page, and your services page.
And it doesn't need to be more than just a sentence or two, about who you write for and what you write.
For example, here's how I do that in my portfolio:
See what I mean? Often a sentence or two is all you need!
3) Special features that come with your services
If you want to stand out in a sea of a ton of other writers, you need to offer a lot more than just writing.
And that's exactly why you need to list special features that come with the finished product.
But what is the best possible option?
A lot depends on what you write.
Web content writers might want to consider including stuff like SEO, image design, etc to boost the value of the finished product.
And brochure writers might want to also mention that they'll take care of all the printing costs, or help businesses track down inexpensive options.
4) Direct references to clients you've worked with
When potential clients read your portfolio they want to be reassured that you'll actually do a good job.
Because anyone can set up a website, but not everyone can prove that they can produce results.
And if you can prove that you're the writer that produces results, they'll feel like investing time and money is worth it.
So how can you do this?
There's a lot of different ways to prove your credibility in your portfolio.
But I highly recommend selecting one or all of these options:
- Take screenshots of the logos of both the businesses you've worked with and the places where you've been published and create mini logo collages
- Feature at least one testimonial from a client or editor you've worked with
- Provide a bit of context about what each sample accomplished and who you worked with
5) A CTA (call to action)
What do you want readers to do, if they read the samples and they:
- Are looking for a similar type of writing?
- Want to tell their friends about you?
There a lot of different options for what you can tell readers to do after they read your writing portfolio.
And these include:
- Contacting you and/or filling out a form
- Learning more about what you have to offer
- Sharing the portfolio link on social media
- Subscribing to your newsletter
So you need to include a button, with a clear, active verb that tells them in only a few words what to do next.
And make sure that the button and the text are in a colour sticks out while putting it in a place that is easy to find on the page.
And the good news is, that once you provide readers with a clear intro to what you do, and what to do next, they'll be much more likely to read the samples that you've provided.
Because your ultimate goal is to help make it super easy to determine whether or not you're a good fit.
And once you have the user-friendliness aspect of your portfolio sorted out, your bounce rates will significantly decrease.
So... what writing portfolio choices have you made over the long-term? Did they produce any results? Feel free to share in the comments section below.