How to build a writing portfolio in 5 steps

How to build a writing portfolio in 5 steps

No matter where you are in your writing career, a robust portfolio can make or break your appeal to potential clients. New writers may wonder where to begin, and more seasoned wordsmiths may worry about how to keep up with the changing demands of a highly fluid field. Developing a strong body of work is often the hardest part of launching an independent writing business, but you can do it successfully with a smart, practical strategy.

This article will serve as a guide to building a writing portfolio that will allow your independent writing career to blossom over time.

Your writing portfolio: What it is and what it should include

Writers, regardless of their expertise, ought to regard an online writing portfolio as a crucial instrument in promoting their writing dexterity to potential clients. Apart from displaying examples of their works, the portfolio should feature a concise, informative yet not excessively promotional biography and any commendations received from past clients regarding their writing finesse.

The focal point of a writer's portfolio is to highlight their singular talents and distinct contributions, thus it should only contain top-quality writing pieces that will elevate their writing profession. A common blunder that fledgling independent professionals commit while constructing their portfolio is the belief that every single piece they have written needs to be included. The portfolio should be regularly updated, showcasing only the most pertinent and excellent writing samples.

The following list highlights a few key characteristics that any solid writing portfolio should contain.

Characteristics of a strong writing portfolio

1. Diversity of writing: If you are a seasoned independent writer with multiple writing jobs under your belt, you need to ensure that your portfolio includes your strongest pieces and demonstrates the various genres, styles, and publication types you can tackle. Even if all you’ve done is blogging and serving as a copywriter here and there, think about creating pieces for the types of writing that are of interest to you professionally. As you grow your freelance business, you can shuffle pieces in and out as needed to show your best writing work continuously.

2. Professional content and tone: You should keep your portfolio professional. Even if you write for a brand that has an off-beat tone, be mindful to present the content professionally. Although one goal of your portfolio might be to showcase your range in writing for different verticals, you want to prioritize presenting this content in a polished manner.

3. Clips oriented to your target audience: Freelance writing jobs are not all the same, so wherever you choose to host your portfolio should offer the capability to feature your best work in different segments. For example, if you’re interested in serving as a ghostwriter for a lifestyle blogger, a year’s worth of formal grant applications you wrote for multiple nonprofits doesn’t show your writing skills in their best light to this audience.

4. Clips that reflect the way you present your brand and focus: Every professional writer has a distinct style and focus. Ensure your writing samples reflect yours by choosing pieces that offer insights into your writing style, versatility, or other marketable attributes.

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How to build a writing portfolio in 5 steps

1. Decide on a domain name and where you want to host your portfolio

The foremost step to establishing your online writing portfolio is to determine and purchase a domain name. A general rule of thumb is to use your name and add “.com.” If this domain is unavailable, you can broaden your options and utilize “” or something similar. You can investigate the availability of domains through websites like Regardless of what you decide on, the goal should be to have a domain name that is concise and directly related to you.

Following this, you need to decide where to build and host your online portfolio. Several portfolio websites are available that allow you to create your brand as a writer. Websites such as Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress provide user-friendly templates that enable you to construct a web presence for your freelance writer’s portfolio without starting from scratch.

To expand your client base and appeal to potential clients, you can also consider developing your online freelance presence through platforms like UpMyChain. UpMyChain continuously evolves and develops innovative ways for independent writers to showcase their work and attract paying clients. We also offer designated areas to emphasize testimonials and feedback from previous clients, as well as your rates, to make collaborating with new clients much more convenient.

2. Review all prior work for potential writing samples

After creating your writing portfolio, it's essential to fill it with pieces that will serve as a foundation. However, selecting the right samples might be a challenge. To start, you should look for well-structured pieces, that convey a professional tone and have been successful for past clients. These pieces will show your potential clients your writing style and the quality of work they can expect from you. Additionally, you may want to include a variety of samples that showcase your range as a writer, such as blog posts, articles, and marketing copy. By doing this, you'll be able to demonstrate your versatility and increase your chances of attracting new clients.

3. Seek out guest post opportunities

If you have a limited number of pieces to showcase on your writing portfolio, you can seek opportunities to increase your visibility as a freelance writer. This could involve leveraging your LinkedIn network to explore content creation for company pages or guest posting on a well-established blog run by a friend. Creating new content is an excellent way to bolster your writing portfolio and increase your chances of success as a freelance writer.

Recommended: How To Become A Freelance Travel Writer In 2023

4. Consider writing for nonprofit organizations

For new writers, nonprofits can be an excellent starting point to gain experience in copywriting. Nonprofit organizations often require support, so consider contacting organizations you admire and ask if they need a copywriter or other content creator. While you may have to work for free, the experience you gain can be invaluable.

Being associated with a nonprofit can also give your writing a sense of purpose, which can be advantageous in job interviews or when promoting yourself as a writer.

5. Revisit and update your portfolio regularly

It's important to remember that prospective clients don't just want to see your past writing samples, but also want to know that you're currently writing and available. Make sure to periodically revisit your portfolio and update it as needed. For example, if you've recently taken on a new client in a particular industry and want to showcase your expertise in that area, make sure to add those writing samples to your online portfolio.

Reach the clients you need to launch your writing career

Building your freelance writing portfolio should be an exciting and inspiring process that you can't wait to showcase to potential clients. To ensure that your portfolio stays up-to-date, it's important to decide early on what type of writing you're interested in and what samples you want to include in your portfolio. UpMyChain is an excellent platform for finding and winning writing opportunities, regardless of your area of interest or skill level.

Easy Answer

  • 1. Decide on a domain name and where you want to host your portfolio
  • 2. Review all prior work for potential writing samples
  • 3. Seek out guest post opportunities
  • 4. Consider writing for nonprofit organizations
  • 5. Revisit and update your portfolio regularly

If you found this article helpful, feel free to explore more!

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