How to Put Together a Portfolio and Attract More Clients

For any inexperienced freelance writer, the road to hell is paved with unsuccessful attempts to attract a plethora of deep-pocketed clients. We get it: you’re talented. Your pen is sharp, and you have the time, energy and talent to fill hundreds of pages, give out expert writers’ tips, and help other people promote their products and grow their businesses with ease. So why isn’t your phone ringing?

Why Are You Still Struggling to Make Ends Meet?

Why are you still contemplating the idea of doing pro bono work just to make a name for yourself and get the attention of the biggest fish in your pond? Why are you still willing to accept ridiculously low amounts of money for your work against your better judgment, defying your talent, skills and everything that you stand for as a freelance writer? Maybe you settle for less than you actually deserve because you don’t know how to use the best customer bait possible to boost your revenues and expand your client database. In this case, you should start by following the best writers’ tips on creating a killer portfolio designed to showcase your most amazing accomplishments.

How to Create a Decent Portfolio as a Novice Writer

By creating and displaying a perfectly organized, overall impressive portfolio, you can build credibility and trust, and land more customers that are more likely to pay the right price for your quality writing.

4 Tips on How to Impress Your Clients with a Great Portfolio

No experience to brag about? No worries! Here are 4 simple tips that you can follow to make an awesome first impression and stun your potential clients with an awe-inspiring collection of your written masterpieces.

  1. Play the Diversity Card. If you want to attract a larger segment of high paying clients, be ready to cater to the needs of a bigger audience. Learn how to write a number of content pieces that are in high demand in the content marketing industry today, including press releases, articles, eBooks and blog posts. This way, no new client requests will ever take you by surprise, since you will be ready to accept bigger, more complex, and better paid assignments.
  2. Create Portfolio Pieces Matching Your Skills, Expertise and Interests. You know what they say: practice makes perfect. Even when you start small and only a couple of paying clients come knocking on your door you can still put together an astonishing portfolio by working on your personal brand. Via a professional looking website and/or blog, you can support your self-branding efforts. Express your personality, personal preferences, style and work-related interests through the content pieces that will go on your website; this is a great way to reveal your determination, talent and passion for quality writing. At the end of the day, based on our writers’ insight we can tell you that these articles and blog posts can serve as first-hand portfolio pieces, and may even help you identify and pursue new business opportunities.
  3. Get Ready for Face-to-Face Meetings. Online samples are great when you can send them to clients over the Internet, or invite them to analyze them on a computer screen. Nonetheless, at some point in your life, you may have to prepare yourself for a less conventional face-to-face meeting with potential clients, taking place in a gadget-less environment without internet access. In this case, a physical portfolio would definitely come in handy. Therefore, don’t limit your options. Select samples of your best writing (less than 10 pieces), print them on quality paper, make several copies, and keep all these materials in a two-pocket portfolio. While working on your samples of choice, you may want to leave out any dispensable design elements that could distract your potential clients from the real substance of your writing.
  4. Prove the Efficiency of Your Writing. While certain types of bells and whistles can enchant the eye and prove your talent as a writer, as a content creator you need more than a few stylistic adornments to create a positive impression and land a new paying client. This happens for a very simple reason: high-paying clients want results. They want to make sure that your writing will lead to increased sales and a bigger profit. Therefore, in order to attract more clients and convince prospects that you are the best candidate for their content marketing job, attach any piece of evidence showing how your writing has helped pas clients achieve their specific marketing goals. Content audit results, client reviews and testimonials are only a few elements that could easily help you separate yourself from wannabe writers, and get one step closer to the employment opportunities and rates matching your skills and expertise.

Bottom Line: Let Your Portfolio Speak for You

Landing the job of your dreams becomes an easy task when your pitch efforts are backed by an outstanding portfolio. What kind of tricks and tips do you use to turn your portfolio pieces into a magnet for potential buyers? What kind of portfolio management and upgrade strategies do you employ to stay relevant and competitive on your niche, as a freelance writer? Please let us know your thoughts in a comment below.

How to Spot a Time Wasting Client before You Break a Deal

As a professional content writer who is madly in love with his job, you hate the idea of wasting time and valuable food for thought while trying to win pitch work. Sometimes you blame yourself for your lack of success; other times, you realize that there’s nothing wrong with you or your work, and feel like you’ve been double-crossed by a potential client whose only goal in life was to drain the life out of you for no obvious reason.

Avoid the Sisyphus Effect by Ceasing Collaborations with Time-Wasting Clients

Whether you’ve had your dreams shattered by a demanding Joe who always wants more than he is willing to pay for, or have had the misfortune to stumble across an indecisive Jane who wants you to follow this path, then take a completely different road to content creation success, then change strategies a few more times until you finally set your own brain on fire and reach a predictable dead end, the truth is that all these unproductive encounters with such potential clients are going to cost you money, time, and beautiful life experiences.

We’ve all been down this road. It’s not pleasant. So what do you do avoid getting sucked into a toxic relationship with a client that will inevitably waste your time?

5 Steps to Follow to Make Sure That No Bad Client Will Waste Your Time and Energy Ever Again

Here’s what we advise you to do in this situation: pick up the pieces of your broken ego off the floor, admit your mistake, and learn how to spot a time-wasting client before actually allowing him or her to bring you down, and put your valuable resources on the line for no legitimate reason. Just to make sure you’ll never lose a wink of sleep over a dreadful prospect ever again, apply the following writer’s tips before signing with a potentially problematic client.

  1. Go Deep with Your Prospects. Start by getting to know your clients. When it comes to accepting bigger or more complex projects, always consider scheduling a face-to-face meeting that would enable you to become familiar with all potential clients, and make sure you are on the same page. When in-person meetings are not an option, make use of lifesaving communication tools (free or paid), designed to bridge the gap between service providers and clients or remote employees, such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Ring Central or Basecamp.
  2. Get in Touch with People Who Have Already Worked with/for Your Potential Client. As a professional content creator, you already know that in-depth research always pays off, no? So in this case, why not play private investigator and find out a thing or two about your potential clients before agreeing to get involved in their projects? While most prospects may be reluctant to give out information about their previous collaborators, remember that the Internet has a memory like an elephant. One simple Google search can offer you the contact information of other freelancers/agencies that have been in contact with the client seeking your help with a new project. At the end of the day, lifesaving details related to the background of a potential customer may be just one call or click away.
  3. Become Familiar with the Most Common Bad Client Typologies. In a previous post, we have presented a series of the most common (and sometimes puzzling) client personalities. Some of them are harmless, yet somewhat annoying- just imagine that you would have to answer 10,000 different questions emailed by curious George while working a million other things; or think about the fact that you would have to deal with Know-It-All Netty who has a billion awesome ideas (always so much better than yours) and could always teach you a thing or two about how to do your job. What do these clients have in common? Sometimes, all of them could make you waste time. Fortunately, there are a few writers’ tips that you can apply to avoid this scenario.
  • Make sure your business terms are compatible with the ones of your potential client
  • Discuss important aspects such as rates, project deadlines, revision policies and so on before taking on a new assignment
  • Let your prospects know when (and how) they could reach you to discuss various aspects related to their project
  • Get everything in writing to avoid any potential customer complains
  1. Go with Your Gut. Sometimes, freelance writers cannot spot warning flags because they insist on using them as blindfolds. Maybe they need the money really bad, wish to add a certain important collaboration to their resumes and portfolios, or just miss writing about a topic revolving around their passions and interests.

While all these goals may contribute to your long or short-term satisfaction, they will almost never make up for your lost time and energy, especially when dealing with clients who don’t really know what they want, keep trying to lower your asking price, or are simply shopping around for cheap, recyclable content. In this situation, we advise you to trust your gut feeling. If a certain client seems difficult to work with from the very beginning, simply walk away and preserve your inner peace, time and energy for other important upcoming projects.

  1. Become Acquainted with the Terms of a Polite Breakup. Assuming that you have already started working for a certain client whose attitude/working method/vision is totally incompatible with yours, what should you do before running for the hills? If you wish to terminate a collaboration that no longer serves you, start by becoming familiar with the particularities of a civilized breakup. Stay calm, polite and honest, and embrace the “it’s not you, it’s me” approach; by doing so, you could let time-wasting clients know they could find other content writing service providers that may be a better match for their companies.

At the end of the day, a great client is the one that pays well (and on time!), appreciates your work at its true value, and doesn’t stress you with a million pointless unnecessary questions and remarks. You can separate potential good clients from the ones who will only make your stress levels go through the roof as you waste time and dozens of amazing creative ideas, by simply researching all your prospects, and discussing your offers and expectations before drafting and signing a contract. What kind of writers’ insight would you offer to a freelancer striving to avoid time-wasting clients? Let us know in a comment below.