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Writers tips

6 Tips on How to Build Your Portfolio

You are finally ready to venture into the world of freelance writing!

Joining the world of Digital Nomads is an extremely exciting, ongoing adventure of meeting new people, writing and researching.

Even if the traveling part is not for you because of family and other obligations, a freelance writing career is especially attractive. Working from home or your local cafe, setting your working hours and managing your own time.

In other words, freedom!

This freedom does not come as easy as we hope though. We need to adjust expectations, realizing that it might take a while to get there and just get started.

The sooner you get started the sooner you will be a full-time freelancer.

But where does one start?

Do you need samples? A portfolio?

Yes, most companies and agencies will want to see previous work before agreeing to work with you.

Once in a while, they do not care about previous work, instead, they will send you an assignment to complete. If they like it they will proceed with the onboarding process.

However, having a portfolio is a plus. And since it is important to put one together, today we will share 6 tips on how to do it.

Are you ready?

1. Offer Free Services for a Month

No one will say no to free content!

In the meantime, you will be putting together your portfolio.

This is the only time you will offer your services for free, and you will be doing it to help yourself. In the future, if you want to play ‘ good samaritan’ no one is going to stop you but do not make a habit of discounting your services too much.

Again, keep in mind that it is likely that when you apply for a job, even if you have a portfolio, you might be asked to do a free sample assignment. That is ok.

Consider your ‘free period’ as the perfect time to build the best portfolio, so dive deep and research the topic as best as you can. Learn how to cite sources and write reliable content. ’

At this stage focus on quality vs quantity. Most potential agencies or clients will want to see one or two pieces, and then ask if you can do a small sample based on something that fits their needs.

2. Ask Friends and Family if They Need Free Content on Their Platforms

Possibly the fastest way to publishing your content is to work with people you already know.

The key here is to go over and above, delivering something worth talking about.

Consider your network of personal and professional relationships.

People usually dread writing, so offering to do it for them (…and for free) will be a great start to your portfolio. Look at various options:

  • Does their website need some fresh content?
  • Do they need a complete makeover?
  • Is their blog out of date?
  • Do they need a press release put together?

You can also consider writing content for blogs and platforms that accept guest posting.

To have a higher chance of getting published, look at their guidelines and stick to what they ideally want to publish about.

3. Use your Network for Free Advertising

Once you have a few samples in place you need to let people know you are available to develop content. Advertising can be expensive for such a niche area.

So how do you do it?

  • Let your friends and family know that you are now taking projects in content development
  • Update your social media to reflect that you can develop content
  • Approach local companies that you have identified as good prospects (though your network or pure observation)

While getting started it might be good to share your articles on your social media once they are published. This is a great opportunity to advertise your work, use hashtags to be discovered, and tag anyone who needs to read the article for whatever reason.

In other words, get yourself every bit of free exposure you can.

Many beginner freelance writers end up picking a few projects from their network of family and friends.

4. Choose a Website for the Price of a Single Cup of Coffee

Although it is not necessary to have a website, it will give you more credibility. You can share your bio, include some portfolio samples, connect it to your social media, and give details such as what industries you focus on as well as the type of content you work with.

Every time someone asks for a sample or send a link!

A professional looking website will cost you less than a cup of coffee per month. It will also give you the opportunity to develop a blog that you can use to promote your services.

While we are on this subject, make a point to get your professional domain email.

Instead of using, for example, yourname@gmail.com use yourname@yournamecontent.com.

5. Reach out and Show What you can do

Once everything is in place, meaning several samples, a website (if you can do that) your domain email, and all your social media, you can do a number of things to begin closing gigs:

  • Post about your services in relevant social media groups
  • Reach out to agencies looking for writers
  • Suggest updates by showing examples and samples of your work to companies

Before you reach out to potential clients do your homework. Poke around on their social media and their website and come up with relevant suggestions of how your content services will improve their performance.

When you email potential agencies and clients offer a menu of your services in the body of the email. Make it easy for them to see your value in a few seconds.

6. Continue to add Samples to Your Portfolio

Content is an extremely dynamic tool, meaning that it needs to be constantly updated and upgraded. Therefore, make an effort every couple of months to add more recent examples of your work.

If something is no longer relevant, delete it.

You want to appear active in the industry.

If someone visits your website today, and in three months they decide they need your services, it is best to look busy and fresh.

So keep adding samples.

Here is a short list of various content examples you should include in your portfolio:

  • Website copy
  • Blog article
  • Marketing material
  • Product descriptions
  • Press releases
  • Advertising material
  • Taglines
  • Social media material

Are you ready to start building that portfolio?

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