Building a high-quality freelance writing portfolio is one of the best ways to showcase your skills and offerings to potential clients. It can also help clients find you and reach out, creating “inbound leads”—which is the ideal scenario! 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just aren’t sure where to start, we get it. Learning how to build a freelance writing portfolio can seem overwhelming, especially if you haven’t given it much thought or—you’re like many freelancers—you give it too much thought, making it over complicated and delaying the freelance writing portfolio development because you’re frozen with fear. 

(It’s time to get over it and dive into why you need a freelance writer portfolio.)

We’re here to help you simplify your freelance portfolio and give you some tips on the best ways to create a freelance portfolio, what to include, and how to maintain it as you grow your freelance writing business. We’ll also cover how to enhance your freelancer portfolio’s impact and how to choose the right platform to host your freelance portfolio.

Essential Elements to Address When You Build a Freelance Portfolio

Your freelance writing portfolio should capture your skills as a writer as well as make it very clear what you write about. To build your portfolio, you first need to know what you do and who you want to work with, and then choose the samples that best showcase your skills and niche.

Include clips–also called freelance writing samples—that are relevant to the type of writing you are focusing on. Examples could be blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, email sequences, ghostwriting samples, ad copy, and product copy. Here are the essential elements to include along with the sample articles:

  • Your name
  • A short bio
  • Contact info
  • Niche or focus area
  • Types of writing you do
  • Past clients’ names and/or logos

How to Build a Freelance Portfolio That Has Impact

A high-quality, well-organized portfolio can result in you getting more work from dream freelance clients. But making sure that your portfolio can do this means putting in some work on the front end and tending to some ongoing maintenance after you set the freelancer portfolio live. Here are a few ways to enhance your portfolio’s impact and showcase your abilities as a freelance writer.

Choose the Right Platform for Your Freelancer Portfolio

    There are tons of platforms out there that allow you to create a portfolio, and choosing the one that works best for your freelance writing goals can make the portfolio creation process much easier. The two main ways to create a portfolio are to use your business website or choose from one of a variety of portfolio sites. 

    • Your website: If you choose to use your business website, you can do this pretty easily depending on the platform you use. I use WordPress, so I just created a page dedicated to my portfolio and listed the articles that I want to showcase with a link to the live version. You can also do this with Squarespace or another website builder.
    • Clippings.me: The free version of this portfolio site allows you to add up to 10 articles by simply pasting the story link. The paid version is $9.99 per month and gives you unlimited clips along with a custom domain, password protected portfolio, and more.
    • Muck Rack: Muck Rack is free for writers and journalists and will automatically pull your writing clips and put them on your profile page. This is a great, low-maintenance way to maintain a portfolio, but it won’t be curated or organized. 
    • Contently: You can create a free portfolio on Contently and then use it to work with clients through their platform. Setting up a profile is pretty easy, and then you can add the URLs of your work to have it uploaded to your portfolio.
    • Journo Portfolio: This site allows you to create a free portfolio with 10 items. You can also upgrade to one of their paid packages for more features. They note on their site that If you do upgrade to a paid version (of this or any other portfolio site), make sure to track the expense as it can be a tax-deductible business expense.

      Determine How to Organize a Freelance Portfolio Well

      How you organize your freelance writing portfolio will depend on who you want to write for and how many different types of writing you do. I currently have mine organized into “Real Estate,” “Design,” “Home Improvement,” and “Other Stories.” The “Other Stories” category is at the very bottom and acts as a catch-all for stories that I’m really proud of and that show my writing style but don’t fit neatly into the other categories.

      You can organize your freelance portfolio by:

      Curate the Freelance Portfolio to Your Niche

      Your portfolio isn’t simply a place to house all of your work. Your portfolio should be curated to your target freelance niche or one of these high-paying freelance writing niches of 2024 to demonstrate your knowledge of and ability to write about the subject. That said, you can include multiple niches in your portfolio as long as they are well organized.

      Shift as Your Freelance Career Builds

      When you start freelance writing, you may end up taking any work that comes your way. (It’s how many beginner freelancers build up their freelance portfolios.) This will help you get clips that you can use to show your expertise and writing style to other potential clients. Once you have a solid set of writing examples in your portfolio, you can start to leverage them to shift focus as you go. 

      For instance, if you want to get into medical writing as a freelance medical writer, but you’re currently working with environmental topics, work on writing in areas where the environment and health intersect and then include those in your portfolio. 

      When I was starting out, I wrote for a luxury property finder client. I used these samples to get into more real estate writing, and I used my real estate writing samples to get work in the design and home improvement niches.

      You can choose to stay in the same niche if you’re enjoying it, add new skills to diversify your offerings, or do what I did and slowly move into new categories by combining topics.

      Revisit the Freelance Portfolio Regularly

      As you get more freelancer work and generate more examples of your freelance writing or freelance design work, you should revisit your freelance portfolio, switching out old work for new work samples that highlight your current skills and niches. 

      You can always keep older work in your portfolio if it clearly highlights your skills or is something that you’re particularly proud of, but if it no longer reflects the work that you’re doing, you should go ahead and remove it in favor of more recent work (*makes note to revisit my portfolio*).

       (You can also “hide” samples from public searches on some platforms–like WordPress—but then hyperlink directly to the piece if you’d like to show a particular client.)

      If you’re working on shifting into a new niche or type of writing, you can move the most relevant samples to the top or most prominent position in your portfolio. 

      How to Create a Freelance Portfolio to Showcase Your Skills

      Creating your first freelance writing portfolio can seem intimidating at first, but the best way to do it is to just do it. You can always change platforms or add different clips later if you want to pivot or find something that fits your needs better.

      Here’s a to-do list to help you if you’re creating a freelance portfolio for beginners:

      • Choose a platform like a website (WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix) or a portfolio site (Clippings.me, Journo Portfolio)
      • Write up a short bio
      • Narrow down your freelance niche or ideal client
      • Pick five to10 clips or projects that showcase your skills and what you offer clients
      • Upload them to the platform you chose
      • You can add images from free platforms like Unsplash and Pexels to add life to the samples or simply include hyperlinks directly to the sample.
      • Share the freelance portfolio on social media or send to potential clients (Many writers include a link in their email signatures so it’s easy for clients to browse.)

      When you’re starting out as a freelance writer, or even if you’ve been doing this for a while, putting your work out there can feel a little scary, but when you have a high-quality, easy-to-navigate freelance writing portfolio, you can showcase your work to highlight your skills and attract clients that you want to work with. 

      Check out these freelance portfolio examples for inspiration:

      Jennifer Goforth Gregory (a content marketing writer whose portfolio is also organized by niche or topic)

      Diana Kelly Levey’s Freelance Writing Portfolio (organized by freelance topic or freelance niche)

      Author

      Stephanie Mickelson began her freelance writing business in 2019, so she could stay home with her kids while still contributing to family financial goals. Since then, she's written for a variety of publications including Angi, Apartment Therapy, Bob Vila, US News & World Report, Hospitality Design, and more. Her writing focuses on home improvement, design, personal finance, and commerce.

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