At some point in every freelance
writer’s career, a potential client is going to ask for clips. What does a ghostwriter
do in this situation? If they’ve signed a non-disclosure, this means they can’t
share the work with anyone. That includes in the form of a clip.
There are situations where
ghostwriters have permission to use ghostwritten pieces in their portfolios.
However, when they’re not, what do they do when they need to provide samples?
Are Clips Important for Freelance Writers?
New writers aside, ghostwriters
face a different set of circumstances. Unless they receive expressed consent
from their client, it’s not possible to use any of the work they’ve completed
for them. When they’re querying or cold-pitching potential targets, the need
for clips is evident.
Here are some strategies for resolving
Strategy #1: Approach a Non-profit
Is there a non-profit or another
organization you admire? If so, approach them and ask if you can complete some pro
bono work. Their website may need blog posts, or the advertising team may need
articles for their newsletter. These pieces of content make excellent additions
to your portfolio from a credible source.
Strategy #2: Visit Local Businesses with an Introductory Offer
Check out the websites for local
businesses in your area. Are their blogs up-to-date? Do they look like they
need help with content marketing? Do the pages on their website lack
information or need a refresh? Make a note of what services these businesses
need, and offer your services at a discounted rate. Working for discounted
rates gives you the opportunity to:
Break into a new local market.
Shake hands with a potential client.
Use those services in your portfolio.
Develop a relationship with a business that
could turn into a referral.
Strategy #3: Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
Even though you’re used to
ghostwriting, it may be time to break out of your comfort zone. Consider querying
and cold-pitching markets that will supply you with a byline. Use your resume
and background as a ghostwriter to support why you’re the right candidate.
Then, include links to blog posts from your website or links to Medium articles
you’ve written as samples.
Strategy #4: Write a Personal Essay
One of the best ways to obtain clips
is by writing personal essays. Not only are you providing an example of your
writing style, but you don’t need to show a track record when submitting. The only
one who can write a personal essay is you. The Write Life is sharing
nineteen websites and magazines that are accepting and publishing personal
Your Pitches and Queries are Selling Your SKills
Yes, clips are part of the
overall package. However, how you write the pitch or query is the real hook. You’ll
lose your target if it’s full of grammar and spelling errors. When you’re
writing, make sure your story idea is clear and to the point. You’re offering
the potential client or editor a window into your writing. Before reading your
clips, they’ll receive an impression of your writing skills from your pitch or query.
Include information about how you’ve
read their submission guidelines or content brief. Don’t forget to include that
you fact-check all copy before turning it in. It’s also a good idea to mention
that you’re willing to work with tight deadlines. Editors like hearing these
qualities most often.
There are several ways of
obtaining freelance writing clips when you’re a ghostwriter. Remember, when you’ve
signed a non-disclosure, that means you can’t use any of the work you’ve
completed for a client as a writing clip. Therefore, you’ll need to find
alternatives when you’re pitching or querying targets that require freelance
writing clips. The strategies outlined above will help you resolve that issue.