Building a Portfolio When You’re an Emerging Writer
July 15, 2019
You’re a new writer. Breaking
into markets is your goal. You know how to write a query letter, and you’ve
researched which targets are a good fit.
What’s the problem?
Does this sound familiar? You’ve
spent hours reading everything you can get your hands on about reaching this
point. You’re ready to begin making contacts and sending submissions.
What’s the solution? Can new
writers land clients without clips? Yes, you can. Let’s talk about how.
Your Background is Valuable
Our past work experiences help
create a platform. Use those credentials, references, and skills as a launch
pad. No, this background doesn’t provide you with clips. Yet, you’re showing
prospective clients that you’re:
Able to follow a schedule—which means
you’re detail-oriented and can meet deadlines.
Are a team player—you can take
constructive feedback when it’s time for editing and revisions.
Are dependable—which means you’ll work on
assignments as they come in, as well as those that come in last-minute.
Organized—you know how to manage workflows
and can handle it if they need you to work on many assignments.
Resumes or a curriculum vitae are
your strongest assets when you don’t have writing clips. You’ll find that, even
when you do have clips, many prospective clients still request a resume or CV.
So, be sure to keep your information up-to-date.
Let Your Skills Shine
Launching a website is an
excellent way for letting your skills shine. Optimize each page of your site.
Include detailed information about you, your services, and how to contact you.
As your business builds, you can add pages for your portfolio and testimonials.
These pages are where clients
have the first opportunity to see your writing skills. When you add a blog to
your site, they have more ways of seeing what you can do. You’re also giving
yourself links to use when sending queries.
Are you passionate about a topic?
Consider starting a lifestyle blog. I’ve written an article about this topic
Be sure to self-edit your work.
Use services including Grammarly and The Hemingway Editor. The Write Life has
an excellent article reviewing self-editing tools. It covers what they do, what
they’re for, their price, and their best features here.
Use Content Publishing Platforms
Did you know companies let you
publish content to sell to prospective clients? These platforms provide
opportunities for writers to cover topics their passionate about. Then, they
can sell these articles and develop relationships with potential clients.
Using these platforms is an
opportunity for you to add links for your high-quality content to:
A page on your website containing samples
outlining your work or that’s for selling articles.
Your social media pages where prospective
clients can read samples of your work. They may look at your LinkedIn, for
example, and see shares in your activity.
In blog posts discussing work you’re creating
outside of your website. You can post the titles, descriptions, and why you
decided to cover that topic.
My favorite content publishing
platform is nDash.
It’s easy to use, and the company’s marketing department shares the links on
their social media accounts. It’s a new platform, so I don’t have any
statistics about earnings at the moment. ContentGather is another site you
can use, but I haven’t tried it yet. I mention it, though, because I have
colleagues who have earned up to $2,000 annually from that site.
As you can see, there are many
ways to build a portfolio when you’re an emerging writer. In the beginning, you’re
going to be using your background to sell yourself. Use your website, blogs,
and content platforms to help develop a foundation for your business. As an
additional primer, you can also use Medium. Publish articles to your account,
publications, or a publication you start.