How To Select The Best Clips For Your Freelance Portfolio

Freelancer Porfolio

You’ll catch more clients with an online portfolio than you will without. But many freelancers—whether they’re writers or artists—have a tough time selecting the best examples of their work. Do you show off the article that won you an award, but may not be applicable to most clients? What about that long magazine story that you slaved over for five months—will any prospective client wade through thousands of words? Or do you go with the easy-breezy blog post with the linkbait-y headline—not your best work but maybe the easiest to digest?

We talked to three talented freelance writers on how to construct a great portfolio that wins you new clients and presents your best face to the world.

“I wouldn’t recommend freelancing without an online portfolio these days,” blogger Thursday Bram says. “I routinely talk with prospective clients who look over my work before they contact me.”


Pick Clips That Grab Eyeballs

Clients aren’t just looking for great content, many of them also want a writer who can attract readers, if not actual buyers, Bram says. As a blogger, Bram offers top-notch content to clients through her company Hyper Modern Writing and showcases her work through clickable pdfs on her business website.

A good place to start when selecting clips: feature pieces that drew a crowd when originally published, Bram says.

That’s one reason Bram lists “36 Secrets the Productivity Gurus Won’t Tell You” as the first clip a client sees on her sample page.

“When that article was first published, it drew hundreds of inbound links and got a ton of traffic,” she says. “Clients want you to drum up attention.”


Showcase The Kind Of Work You’re Looking For

Don’t showcase work just because it looks great or reads well, Bram says. Showcase the kind of work you want to land now.

“If you never want to write another sales brochure in your life, don’t include a sales brochure in your portfolio, no matter how well written it is,” she says. “Otherwise, you’ll constantly get requests from clients to work on projects that don’t appeal to you.”


Offer Variety

For Minnesota freelancer Wendy Erlien, who has more than 10 years of journalism experience, selecting clips is all about creating a buffet of writing samples.

“Clips tell the story of your freelancing background,” says Erlien, who uses her LinkedIn page to show off her work. “Various clips can showcase your diverse talents.”

Erlien’s portfolio includes a hard news story about a high school science accident and a feature on a philanthropic nurse, among others.


Show Off Your Connections

If a piece of your content was featured on a big-name site, show it off, Alayna Frankenberry says.

“If you scored placement on a major site, you should highlight it in your portfolio,” she says. “But don’t prioritize placement over quality of writing. Make sure you share the pieces you think are the best even if they’re placed on lower-ranked sites.”

For example, PR Daily, which is fairly well known, picked one of Frankenberry’s articles up but it didn’t fly to the top of her portfolio just because it’s on a recognizable site.


Rank And Display Your Clips

A lot of freelancers wonder how many clips should be included in their portfolio. You want enough samples to show a prospective client that you have experience, but you know they don’t have time to sift through dozens of works.

Bram puts up three samples for each service she offers to clients. Erlien has five samples online and Frankenberry has more than a dozen. No matter how many clips you decide to showcase, put the best examples at the top to ensure that potential clients read your best work and have the choice to read more.

You’ll also notice each freelancer displays her work differently. From a personal website to a souped-up LinkedIn page, how you showcase your clips is up to you, but the overall purpose is to have an array of great content in a one-stop-shop for prospective clients to click through.

About the Author: Lisa Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.

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