1. says

    Laura, this is a good goal – one that rarely comes true for me. For years, I have written materials that were supposed to stay behind company firewalls (sales guides, presentations for the sales force, strategic messaging documents, etc.), so not only did I not get a byline, I couldn’t show them as samples until the products or services were out on the market for a significant amount of time. I was also recently “forced” to sign an agreement with a big agency that prevents me from showing my work for them in my portfolio. Larger groups and companies are more proprietary about their materials than ever. So, the blog!

  2. says

    Claire Wagner,

    You are certainly not alone.

    I have edited, updated, and even created from scratch dozens of technical manuals and training guides–yet none appear on my portfolio despite the fact that my employers and clients were happy with my work.

    One reason for this is the confidentiality concerns, of course.

    But there’s also the fact that they just don’t make good samples. Some of these documents are quite long (and many are not online). Scanning and creating a .pdf file for a 200 page document and then uploading it isn’t very practical.

    Fortunately, even writers who specialize in areas where getting a byline is difficult can use blogging as a means to create more accessible samples.

  3. says


    Frankly, I seldom (actually, never) think about bylines. You’re got me thinking now!

    I recently wrote an article for an association magazine in my industry. The article was accepted and I’ve been paid so I moved it into the “history” file in my brain. Now I’ve decided to phone tomorrow to see if I have a byline and to get a printed copy for my portfolio if that is acceptable to them.

    At this time, my blogs, websites, marketing pieces for my own work, and articles (on are my primary writing samples, along with bylined pieces that are years old.



  4. says

    Diana Schneidman,

    You sound a lot like me. :)

    Definitely call the association magazine and see if you got a byline. (Odds are good that you did. Many association magazines that I’ve seen do give credit.)

    Even if you didn’t get a byline from them, the piece is probably okay to use in your portfolio unless you signed some sort of non-disclosure.

  5. says

    To be honest, this is something I’ve struggled with. Nearly all of my web content writing work is done on a ghostwritten basis, which I don’t usually mind – until it’s time to find new clients…

    Writing a blog of my own has helped, but I’d still like to seek out higher-profile pieces to publish in my own name to really beef up my portfolio. Guess I’ll have to bump that back to the top of my to-do list at some point :)


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