I’ve seen a lot of people starting up freelance recently. So, I thought I would make a post on how to create a writing portfolio with all the things I’ve learned about portfolios in hopes that it helps people who are just starting out. I do want to let you all know that I am not a professional and I am coming from a copywriting background, but I still think these tips should help out people who are starting a writing portfolio for the first time.
If you are wanting to get into advertising or you are just currently unpublished, I recommend doing practice content. What I did was I created a “practice” tab, full of all the work that I did for fun.
So, you’re probably thinking, “what should I practice on?” I recommend taking a topic you care about then creating something from there. For example, I did a practice post for the World Wildlife Foundation. Essentially I made a flyer for them trying to urge people to donate. This was something that the WWF has absolutely no idea I made, but I love that I made it. You also have the option that if you want to showcase your writing talent, you can write something that you care about and do a highlight about that post. For me, I did a fun long-form story about Halloween Hallmark cards.
I think that this is a fun way to flex your creative muscles. Just make sure that people who look at your portfolio know that this is unpublished work but you’re incredibly passionate about it anyway.
For any freelance writers, I highly recommend trying out blogging. Blogging is a great way to showcase your writing ability. Also, if you find freelance opportunities with companies who want blog posts it’s always good to showcase that you have your own and that you have the ability to write that type of content.
In my own portfolio, I have an entire page dedicated to my blog. On that page, I have a small reason as to why I started my blog, a link to the blog itself, and some of the social posts I’ve created for it on Instagram. For copywriting especially, I really like having my blog just from the standpoint that I do all the advertising for my blog and I have the ability to showcase that. Plus, this blog is a lot of fun and it pushes me to write more.
If you’re just starting out, you probably do not have a ton of published content. So, if you need some published posts, you could try and do some guest posts on other people’s blog or on bigger platforms such as Medium.
Keep in mind, though, that you may have published content you didn’t realize you did. In college did you contribute social posts to a club? Put that in there. Possibly edit someone’s website? Put that in there. The only thing I try to do is not put anything that I actually own in the published category. These should always be things that you’ve done for people besides yourself, that an outside force had the option to deny what you created, yet they approved it.
We’ve gone through published and practice, but did you send something to a client and they decided to go in a different direction? It happens all the time but sometimes that work is still really great so I suggest still including it in your portfolio. The hard part with this content is that if you do it for a bigger brand there is a possibility that they may still use it. With that in mind, I recommend creating a password protected page for this type of content.
“Mine, Mine, Mine”
It’s scary to put your work out into the world, so make sure your settings are configured so that no one can download your stuff without directly asking you for it. Obviously, the way you do this depends on the platform you choose but a quick Google search on how to disable right clicks should do the trick and give you the security that no one will steal your hard work.
For your portfolio website, you realistically do not need nearly as many features as you do for a blog, so you need a really simple site that’s incredibly easy to update.
For my site, I chose myportfolio, which, if you have the Adobe Creative Cloud, is completely free. I personally love it because I don’t really have to think about it and it looks good. However, if you don’t have the Adobe Creative Cloud something simple like Wix will do.
I hope this helps all of you make your own portfolio, even if you aren’t going into advertising and you’re pursuing a different type of writing. When you’re creating this make sure to have posts that vary in length, showing that you can write long-form and short-form content with ease.
Don’t Include Everything
Just remember that you don’t have to have every piece of work you’ve created. Try to look at all the stuff you have as objectively as possible and showcase the best of the best. After all, this portfolio is here to get you hired so you want to put your best foot forward.
I’ll try to update this as I hear more tips from other writers, but if you all have a tip you would like to share please comment it below! I am sure your fellow writers would be happy to hear it. Also, make sure to follow me on socials to hear all the latest and greatest. If you haven’t already, join the Readers and Writers group on Facebook, we would love to have you!
Did you know I have a bunch of tips and printables for writers? Check them out by clicking here.