Freelance writers are in high demand. But landing new clients can be the hardest part of the job. For each project, you’re competing with dozens of potential candidates, which puts the onus on you to prove that you’re better than the competition. The solution? Post a portfolio of your best work and link to it when you send a pitch.
“Receiving a portfolio or clips is always preferred when bringing on new contributors,” says Samantha Netkin, Senior Editor at BRIDES. “As an assigning editor, reading published examples of a writer’s work allows me to get a feel for their voice and style, and it helps me to assign content that aligns with the writer’s interests.”
Why post a portfolio?
When it comes to attractive, remote work, writing has few parallels. You can work when you want; where you want; and demand for good writers is burgeoning. The reason? At a time when the entire world has been forced to work and shop remotely, the number of websites has exploded. There are roughly 400 million active websites worldwide, according to the HostingTribunal. That’s nearly double the number of active websites reported in 2019.
This explosion in digital properties is fueling a booming market for content creators, with myriad sites promising to pay writers for web copy — or connect them with clients who will.
To be sure, some of this work is not worth your time. So-called “content mills” pay pennies per word, urging writers to work for far less than minimum wage. But good jobs are available too. And for those, you need an online portfolio to highlight your writing ability and specialties.
Conveniently, the best sites to post a portfolio can also help find you writing jobs.
Best places to post a portfolio
There are literally dozens of sites that will allow writers to post a portfolio. However, four sites stand out. What makes them special? A combination of things — market reach, an active user base that seeks writers through profiles posted there, and the ability to make your profile attractive and intuitive. Importantly, all four of these sites also allow you to use their portfolio-posting tools for free.
Why: It’s easy to use, and connects you with good clients
Signing up with Contently is free and takes a matter of minutes. Complete a short ‘about me’ form, add a picture and a bio. After that, you’ll have a variety of ways to populate your portfolio. You can upload from another website, pull in a PDF or simply link. So, whatever form your articles are in, getting them on the platform should be simple.
Better yet, the platform can connect you with companies offering work. The site works with big companies that need stories and blog posts about a wide array of topics. If Contently’s editors see that you are qualified for a specific project, they will contact you with an offer. Contently projects pay reasonably well, too, usually between 30 cents and $2 per word.
Why: It’s intuitive, and Skyword protects writers when clients change direction.
Skyword also connects agencies and companies with creatives. Setting up a profile here allows you to link up with leading brand names and respond to job offers. Project pay is set by clients, but writers decide whether to accept or reject offers. If you accept a project, but the client ends up not using the finished work, Skyword is good about getting a so-called “kill fee” so the freelancer doesn’t walk away empty-handed.
The bad news is that landing clients can be slow and you need to continually check the platform for notifications about potential work.
Why? It’s mostly automatic and read by journalists worldwide
If your professional writing or journalistic work is in the public domain, you may already have a profile on Muck Rack. Muck Rack’s editors automatically create portfolios for writers using their work from newspapers, magazines, and social media pages to populate it. For instance, they may take your bio information from Twitter and display it on your page along with your recently published articles.
The free service means that you have a custom-built portfolio page that you can instantly access. The bad news is that they may be pulling in clips that you posted, but didn’t write; or that don’t reflect your best work.
The solution? Run a quick search of your name + Muck Rack to find out if you already have a profile. If you do, get in touch with their team to claim it. This process is fairly easy and will get you a login so you can edit your page and make it your own. While it’s not the most attractive page design, there’s no beating the fact that someone else started it for you.
Why? It’s used by recruiting professionals around the globe
As the best-known professional social network, LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to boost your career. You already know that it’s wise to post a biography and a resume here. But the site can also help you show off samples of your work.
The best way to do that is to pull up your profile and click on “Add Profile Section.” Hit “featured” and then add as many stories as you’d like. These pieces will then appear right below your bio in a carousel-like format. The format doesn’t lend itself to easy reading, so you’ll want to update your clips here fairly regularly, deleting older stories to highlight your latest and best work.
—Charlotte Grainger contributed to this report.