Freelance writers are in high demand. But landing new clients can be the hardest part of the job. For each project, you might be vying with dozens of other candidates, which puts the onus on you to prove that you’re better than the competition. The solution: Post a portfolio of your best work and link to it when you send a pitch.
“Receiving a portfolio or clips is always preferred when bringing on new contributors,” says Samantha Netkin, senior editor at wedding website Brides. “As an assigning editor, reading published examples of a writer’s work allows me to get a feel for their voice and style, and it helps me to assign content that aligns with the writer’s interests.”
When it comes to attractive remote gigs, writing has few parallels. You can work when you want and where you want. Myriad sites promise to pay writers for web copy — or connect them with clients who will.
Some of this work is not worth your time. So-called content mills pay pennies per word, urging writers to work for far less than minimum wage. But good jobs are available too. For those, you need an online portfolio to highlight your writing ability and specialties.
Conveniently, the best sites to post a portfolio can also help find you writing jobs.
Of the dozens of sites that allow writers to post a portfolio, four stand out. What makes them special? A combination of things: market reach, an active user base that seeks writers through profiles posted there, and the ability to make your profile attractive and intuitive. All four of these sites also let you use their portfolio-posting tools for free.
Why: It’s easy to use and connects you with good clients.
Signing up with Contently is free and takes minutes. Complete a short “about me” form, then add a picture and a bio. After that, you’ll have a variety of ways to populate your portfolio. You can upload from another website, pull in a PDF or simply link. So whatever form your articles are in, getting them on the platform should be simple.
Better yet, the platform can connect you with companies offering work. The site works with big companies that need stories and blog posts about a wide array of topics. If Contently’s editors see that you are qualified for a specific project, they will contact you with an offer. Contently projects pay reasonably well, too, usually between 30 cents and $2 per word.
Why: It’s intuitive, and it protects writers when clients change direction.
Skyword also connects agencies and companies with creatives. Setting up a profile here enables you to link up with leading brands and respond to job offers. Project pay is set by clients, but writers decide whether to accept or reject offers. If you accept a project but the client ends up not using the finished work, Skyword is good about getting the client to pay a “kill fee” so the freelancer doesn’t walk away empty-handed.
The bad news is that landing clients can be slow, and you need to continually check the platform for notifications about potential work.
Why: It’s mostly automatic and read by journalists worldwide.
If your professional writing or journalistic work is public, you may already have a profile on Muck Rack. The site automatically creates portfolios for writers, populating those portfolios with the writers’ work from newspapers, magazines and social media pages. For instance, your bio information from Twitter may be displayed on your page along with your recently published articles.
The free service means that you have a custom-built portfolio page that you can instantly access. The bad news is that it may be pulling in clips that you didn’t write or that don’t reflect your best work.
The solution: Run a quick search of your name plus the term “Muck Rack” to find out if you already have a profile. If you do, get in touch with the site’s team to claim it. This process is fairly easy and will get you a log-in so you can edit your page and make it your own. Although it doesn’t have the most attractive page design, there’s no beating the fact that someone else started it for you.
Why: It’s used by recruiting professionals around the globe.
As the best-known professional social network, LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to boost your career. You already know that it’s wise to post a biography and a resume here. But the site can also help you show off samples of your work.
The best way to do that is to pull up your profile and click on “Add Profile Section.” Hit “featured” and then add as many samples as you’d like. These pieces will then appear right below your bio in a carousel-like format. The format doesn’t lend itself to easy reading, so you’ll want to update your clips here fairly regularly, deleting older samples to highlight your latest and best work.