Freelance writer portfolio inspiration

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June 28, 2021
5 minute read

As a freelance writer, procrastinating while building a portfolio could cost you thousands of dollars in lost work. Most potential clients will want to see the work you’ve done, and many will prioritize working with freelancers that have complete, professional-looking portfolios. A portfolio is also your opportunity to archive past work, since your clients could technically delete it at any time with no notice or opportunity to save it.

The good thing about portfolios is that they’re now easier than ever to create, whether through your own website or using a service to do it. And if you’re not sure where to start, check out this article for inspiration and tips.

What to include in a freelance writer portfolio

A good writing portfolio needs to accomplish three things:

  1. Introduce you and explain what you do.
  2. Demonstrate your capabilities.
  3. Make it easy to get in touch with you.

That’s really it. Including anything more starts to get too information-heavy and that can turn off potential clients. A simple and straight-to-the-point portfolio can help you attract new clients and build your writing business.

How to host your portfolio

As a baseline, all freelance writers need to host their portfolio digitally. Even if you write for print publications, either have the online version saved or upload a picture of the work to your portfolio with a description.

You have three options when it comes to hosting your portfolio:

  1. Host it as a page on your personal website (such as on Wordpress, Carrd, or Webflow).
  2. Create a stylized PDF file you can share via Google Drive.
  3. Use a platform like Clippings.me, Quiet.ly, or Pinterest.

The good news is that all of these options are equal—there’s no better or worse way. It comes down to your style, preferences, and what you want to demonstrate to potential clients.

Inspirational freelance writer portfolio examples

If you need some visual inspiration, check out these freelance writers’ portfolios.

Shayna Conde

Shayna Conde is a freelance writer that focuses on storytelling around diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism.

Her portfolio stands out because it’s curated. She doesn’t just throw out every article she’s ever written. Instead, she’s hand-picked the ones that encapsulate her writing style and range, so potential clients know exactly what she might produce for them.

Hank Herman

Hank Herman is a humorist writer that has written multiple books, articles, and even teaches seminars on writing.

His portfolio is a great reflection of his personality. It’s lighthearted, comprehensive, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. This gives potential clients a bit of a chuckle when they first land on the page - which is precisely what Hank can deliver for his clients.

Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi is a Nigerian creator, artist, and writer that focuses on the Black experience. Their work (and art) engages with what it means to inhabit certain identities.

Their portfolio focuses on demonstrating this balance of art and writing - meaning it shows range very well. Akwaeke has written and created multiple different works, and having an easy menu on the side of the page is a great way for potential clients to click into what they want to see, but also know that Akwaeke is capable of more.

Charlane Oliver

Charlane Oliver is a writer and designer that uses Pinterest as her portfolio base.

Using Pinterest for her portfolio, she’s able to combine the visuals from her design eye with easy click-through to read the text. This helps a lot with visual style. Despite Pinterest having a very well-known visual style, Charlane is able to make it her own and showcase the content she wants to.

Scott Broker

Scott Broker is an American writer that has won multiple awards for fiction and creative writing.

His portfolio is highly identity-focused, which is critical for Scott’s work as a fiction writer. He demonstrates not only his credibility on his landing page, but offers numerous examples of his award-winning work under the “Publications” tab of his personal site and portfolio.

Your portfolio is your freelancing foundation

A good portfolio not only shows examples of your work, but also sets up your freelancing foundation. It’s one of the first things a potential client will see, so there’s an introduction and branding opportunity as well.

While you don’t have to be techy to build a great portfolio, you have to invest the time to create a professional, visually appealing portfolio that feels authentic to you. That could mean learning the ropes of a website builder, designing a beautiful PDF to share, or making the most of a portfolio platform’s features. Regardless, focus on showcasing who you truly are, so your great work can shine through.

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