Why You Need to Maintain Your Freelance Writing Portfolio

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 07/06/23 •  7 min read

Have you updated your freelance writing portfolio in the last two months? If so, congratulations.

But I’m going to guess a lot of you are freelance writers, and you haven’t updated your portfolio lately. Or, worse, you haven’t been sharing it with potential clients because you’re ashamed of the way it looks.

Here’s the truth: this is one of the most overlooked and easiest things to fix when it comes to building a freelance writing career. It could be the difference between landing clients and not.

So you want to get it right.

Here are five reasons you need to get your freelance writing portfolio looking good.

And if you prefer to watch the video? Click below.

Otherwise, keep reading.

Land New Clients

Let’s say you’re doing all the right things as a freelance writer.

You’ve been personalizing your outreach. You’ve been sending 10-15 LOIs a day.

Now, I’m guessing you’re also including a link to your freelance writing portfolio. Because, chances are, one of the first things these potential clients will do is click on the link to check out your site.

If you have a nice, clean, updated site that showcases your most recent, relevant work and how you can help these clients, you’ve got a better shot of getting a response.

If you don’t?

Your email gets sent to the archives, and they’ll ignore you.

Don’t blow this opportunity, because for some potential clients, it may be the only chance you get to make a first impression.

Show Off Your Expertise

The second reason you should be maintaining your freelance writing portfolio is that it’s an opportunity to show off your expertise.

In one of my recent videos and posts about the future of freelance writing and how to survive AI, I talked about how it’s going to be even more important to niche down as we’re moving forward.

And so for someone who’s looking for a writer with any specific industry with any specific niche, if they find your website you showcase you’re an expert in the niche, it’s that much more of a no-brainer for them to reach out and want to work with you.

You can even take it a step further and write a couple of blog posts that highlight your expertise on this niche on your site. You don’t need a million words, but 4-5 really solid evergreen long-form posts, or 1-2 shorter posts a month, can pack an extra punch and show you mean business.

So even if you’re building a dedicated new site or dedicated brand, having a blog where you write about your chosen topic and your chosen expertise, makes it that much easier to prove you know what you’re talking about.

Remember, the point of an LOI is to move the conversation forward, by proving your expertise in a specific niche it’s making it that much more likely that potential client is going to want to learn more.

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Highlight Your Best Work

This is a big one if you’ve been a freelance writer or copywriter for a couple of years.

You want to update your freelance writing portfolio so it always shows your best work. Don’t send over a link to your site to a potential client as an afterthought if you haven’t updated it in five years.

What are the chances they’ll want to work with you? The writer you are now versus then is dramatically different.

And it doesn’t even have to be five years. As a newer writer, you can make huge strides in six months to a year. So I always encourage people to put a note in the calendar to update their portfolios at least once, but ideally a few times a year.

That doesn’t mean re-write all the copy (though go ahead if you need to) but making sure your best samples are on display.

That brings us to a common question: how many samples should I have on my freelance portfolio site?

There is no real ‘best’ answer. But I think a minimum of three to five if you’re new. And if you’ve been writing for a few years, try to get that number up to somewhere in the 10-20 range.

Remember, we’re not adding more links for the sake of it. This is to showcase your best and most relevant work.

So if you write for the finance and insurance niche, have 10 posts up, five each with your best stuff.

It’a also a good idea to have some diverse examples too. Just like when you’re writing your samples for the first time, if you write a bunch of different types of work, have those there.

For example, if you mostly blog, then make sure you have a list post, a how to post, and so on.

If you write whitepapers, you don’t need blog content, you may only need to show 3-4 whitepapers in your niche.

And if you’re a copywriter, try to have a couple of samples from social media posts to a few emails to a landing page or a sales page.

Stay Top of Mind with Current and Potential Clients

Every time you update your site gives you an opportunity to reach out and share it with people that you have been communicating with in the past.

Maybe it’s previous clients you’ve worked with.

Maybe it’s current clients that you want to try and get more work from.

Maybe it’s people that you would talk about potentially working together, but it wasn’t the right time.

When you update with your best content, it’s a great time to send a follow up to everyone on our outreach list to let them know. Show you’ve dug deeper into a niche or written a new type of work that you think will resonate with them.

You never know when luck is on your site and that follow up will be the thing that lands you more work.

The same is true for platforms like Contently and Skyword too. Make sure to go in and update your new links that showcase your best work on a regular basis.

Always think about how you can put your best foot forward with your freelance writing portfolio because it’s essentially your resume. So every word and link matters, especially for those clients in your niche who you think will be a good fit.

Showcase New Skills

And finally, the last reason to make sure you’re updating your freelance writing portfolio is to show off your most up-to-date skills.

For example, maybe when you first got started, you were a generalist. But now, a year down the road, you’re a freelance medical writer whose great a blog posts. Or, you’ve become a technical writer that nails internal documents.

Those are entirely new (and super valuable) skillsets that no one will know about unless you put it on your website.

So right now is a good opportunity to update your portfolio to reflect that.

Highlight all those new things you do, the more you’ve dug into your niche, and let anyone who lands on your site see that you’re a legit writer who could really help them out.

This is the time not to be bashful.

Everything you put out there is a chance to sell yourself and why potential clients shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to hire you.

Get Started…Today

So don’t think of this as an afterthought. This as one of the critical pieces to your business success.

And if you’re stuck? Ask a friend or fellow freelancer to give you some feedback.

It’s always hard to write about ourselves, I get it. But getting good feedback to help you remember what the site is all about — showing how you can help your clients solve their biggest problems.

You’ve got this!

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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