50/50 Post: Showcasing a Writing Portfolio Online

It’s been a while since I’ve done a 50/50 post, so as a reminder: This blog piece needs your input, that’s why it’s labeled a “50/50 post.” It relies on your experience, opinions and sharing. Consider it a close cousin to an open thread.

After publishing tips for writing a bio, I have finally posted my new one and renamed the page from About to Bio. My biggest goal in the revision was to focus on what I can do for customers—and keep it injected with personality. I trust you’ll let me know how I did.

My second update project is my portfolio. While I intend to keep a few favorite pieces posted, I have newer work that I want to highlight. I have a pretty solid grasp of how I am going to refresh my portfolio page and give it some pop. But I’m also still exploring ideas.

So that brings to me this. What makes a great online portfolio for writers? I’m personally focusing on my copywriting portfolio, but this question is open to everyone.

Here are a few traits I’ve found on effective copywriting portfolios:

  • Samples back up the writer’s claims of what he/ she describes as skills or specialties.
  • Examples make an impression. Whether it’s a stellar paragraph or a stunning headline, pieces that make the cut in a portfolio need to be memorable.
  • Although words are his/her talent, some of the best writing portfolios I’ve seen incorporate graphic elements (e.g., webpage screen shots, magazine covers).

Okay, this is where we start sharing.

What’s a fourth element of effective writers’ portfolios? Should we include images or stick with words? Does a list of links turn you off? If a portfolio is more than a year old, do you question what the writer has done lately? What inspired your portfolio? Please share in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “50/50 Post: Showcasing a Writing Portfolio Online

  1. My caveat would be to showcase a few top examples rather than having too much content. People don’t have a lot of time. They are looking for a writer’s ability to sell, and so a sampling of branding/slogans et cetera coupled with maybe one longer piece demonstrating creativity would be my recommendation.

    When I put up http://www.palabrasymas.bravehost.com I was faced with no web knowledge, a wizard builder and templates I didn’t like. I chose the template that was the most interesting graphically and as I had lost a lot of clips so that I didn’t even have those to scan, I wrote the copy pushing myself to correlate with the template. I think I would even revise it now– it’s three pp long, down to one page; one or two pitches, a very short bio, and why they should hire me. xj

  2. @Susan ~ You offer excellent advice regarding the quality of scans. So very true! I’ve found that prospective clients also appreciate PDFs because they can access them offline, too. Thanks for sharing your experience and guidance.

    @Courtney ~ I do like your suggestion of linking to live, published content. Somehow, that seems to be a validation for some clients or prospective clients. Thanks for sharing both of your tips!

  3. Great topic, Jesaka! I’ve spent a lot of time poking around other writers’ portfolio pages to see what works (and what doesn’t). One of the faux pas I’ve noticed is people who post poor quality scans where the text is barely legible! In general, I think PDFs are ideal, because they allow the reader to zoom in and out. And the image quality should be decent, too (I scan my clips at 300 dpi, so I can print them if needed). If that’s not an option, then using simple text is better than a grainy jpg or other format. My portfolio is very simple (a list of links), but I’ve seen much more sophisticated portfolios that work really well, too.

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