4 Writer Profile Sites Reviewed

As a freelance writer, you probably already know that it’s important to have a strong online presence.

A blog is one way to create an online presence, of course. But there are other ways as well.

In this post, I take a look at four places where writers can create an online profile that will strengthen their online presence.

I’ll review the following sites (in alphabetical order):

  • Contently
  • Ebyline
  • LinkedIn
  • Mediabistro Freelance Marketplace

I’ve gone through and created a profile at each site. I’ll evaluate each site in the following areas:

  • Cost
  • Ease of Use
  • Potential Job Opportunities

In the interest of disclosure, at the time of publication I have not received compensation from any of these sites. Although, naturally I do hope to find writing work through them. Nor are any of the links in this post affiliate links.

Except for LinkedIn (where I already had a profile), I created a new profile at each of these sites. For the sites that called for clips, I entered at least eight clips (although not necessarily exactly the same ones).

Naturally, these are my experiences with the various sites. Your experience may vary.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Contently

For quite a while, I avoided Contently. My fear was that it might be a content mill or bidding site, which is the last thing that I need to get involved in. However, this recent review from Sharon Hurley Hall changed my mind and I decided to give it a try.

Here is what I learned:

  • Cost. Contently is free of charge.
  • Ease of Use. This site was probably the easiest to use. All I needed to was to list the publications that I wrote for and Contently found the pieces that I wrote. (Although in a few instances it did make a mistake). My part was to indicate whether I wanted to add each piece to my portfolio.
  • Potential Job Opportunities. I’m unsure of the potential job opportunities available through Contently. They do have a marketplace (possibly with opportunities), but not everyone is invited. At the time of publication, I had not yet been invited into the marketplace, possibly because at least half of my writing is copywriting or technical writing. The bottom line is that I can’t tell what the opportunities are here.

Although it’s easy to create a profile on Contently, I’m still not sure if it is a good option for all freelance writers. It does create an attractive portfolio if you do a lot of bylined work. If you created the corporate training guide or if you were part of the team that wrote a software manual, you may not benefit.

One nice unique feature that Contently offers is the ability to sort your clips by the number of shares, tweets, likes, or comments. So, social proof is readily available.

Ebyline

When I first heard of Ebyline, I was also afraid that it might be a content mill or bidding site. However, Ebyline has also had some positive press, including this interview with Bill Momary by Mona Zhang on Mediabistro‘s 10,000 Words blog.

Here is what I learned:

  • Cost. Ebyline is free of charge.
  • Ease of Use. I found it relatively easy to create a profile and portfolio on Ebyline. Take note that you need to have in mind several areas that you cover. Also, Ebyline places an emphasis on recent clips. So, if your best clips are several years old, it might be a good idea to get some new clips before applying.
  • Potential Job Opportunities. Not everyone is approved by Ebyline, so I was pleased and surprised to find out about a week after I created my profile that I was approved. This gave me access to Ebyline’s impressive set of tools, which include invoicing tools and tax forms. I also got a look at the pitch board, where I was relieved to see that most projects pay $100 or more. (The lowest pay I saw was $50.00.) I also noticed the list of over 100 publishers that Ebyline works with.

There are definitely jobs here, although the pitch board didn’t have a lot of opportunities during the time period when I reviewed it. However, I look forward to checking it regularly. While you may not be able to get an “instant” assignment here, I think it’s worth creating a profile here if you have strong clips.

Again, I’m not sure how effective this would be if your writing work doesn’t allow you to take credit.

LinkedIn

I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for several years now. While you can’t create a portfolio here, in my opinion it’s an important place for freelance writers to have an online presence because nearly every organization is represented here.

Here is what I learned:

  • Cost. LinkedIn has a free version and a paid version. I have never used the paid version, so this review only covers the free version.
  • Ease of Use. While it might seem easy to fill out a LinkedIn profile, it’s important to give it a lot of thought. Pay particular attention to the keywords you use in your summary.
  • Potential Job Opportunities. LinkedIn does have job listings, which I regularly check. I was also once offered an opportunity based on my profile here.

In my opinion, one of the strongest features of LinkedIn is the recommendations feature. I actively encourage satisfied clients to leave a recommendation and I believe you should too.

Some freelance writers hesitate to create a LinkedIn profile since they are not actually employed by their clients. However, if you have long-term clients (at least six months), you can sometimes list those clients as long as you indicate that you were not an employee. I use the phrase “independent contractor,” but I’ve seen other freelancers use phrases like “consultant” or “contract position.”

Mediabistro Freelance Marketplace

I’ve been using the resources at Mediabistro for quite some time, so naturally I’ve also had my eye on the Freelance Marketplace there. A few weeks ago, I finally created a profile.

Here is what I learned:

  • Cost. This service is not free. The current cost for a monthly listing is $21.00 a month, or $15 a month if you join AvantGarde.
  • Ease of Use. This service provides room for a very detailed portfolio. It’s important to categorize your work and assign keywords. Freelancers are encouraged to share work completed within the past two years. Be sure to make your profile publicly visible or no one will be able to see it.
  • Potential Job Opportunities. You don’t need to join the Freelance Marketplace to use the job board at Mediabistro. However, since Mediabistro is a prominent site in the journalism and media industry, my hope is that having a profile here will help publications to notice me.

Because this service costs money, I’ll be paying a lot of attention in the next few months to whether or not it results in writing projects.

Your Turn

Have you used any of these writer profile sites? What was your impression? Did they help you to find work?

Have I missed any writer profile sites?

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for this comparison, Laura. I use Contently, as you know, but having read your review, I’m going to sign up for Ebyline. I’m pretty sure I have some sort of profile on MediaBistro, though I don’t pay for the service.

  2. says

    Thanks Sharon,

    I think you can have a log in to Mediabistro without paying for anything (although I’m not sure), but to get a portfolio space on the Freelance Marketplace you will probably have to pay (sometimes there is a free trial available).

    Of course, you can apply to the Mediabistro jobs without being in the Freelance Marketplace.

    Let me know if you try any of these other sites and what the results are. :)

  3. says

    Laura: Thanks for sharing this. I started Contently, but as is my bad habit, I have not taken that as far as I should. I got stalled because so much of my work is ghostwritten so I can’t use them for my bylines. I suspect I may have the same problem with Ebyline.

    I have been a long-time supporter of LinkedIn although I am not thrilled with some of the new changes (like Endorsements). The platform has brought me quite a bit of work, however.

    I had a profile in Mediabistro when I 1st started my business, but have not been back there in ages.

    Thanks again for stirring the thought processes, Laura. :-)

  4. Laura Spencer says

    Cathy Miller,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Like you, I have a lot of work that doesn’t contain my byline (including technical manuals and curriculum guides). Those types of samples don’t lend themselves very well to these types of portfolios. Still, I do have hundreds of published blog posts that do have my byline.

    Still, I was pleased to get accepted by Ebyline. I do hope that it will yield some good leads. Since the Mediabistro profile costs money, I’m not sure how long I will leave it up if I don’t see results. As for the others, it can’t hurt to be listed. :)

  5. says

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful review of these sites. I have only registered on LinkedIn. Ebyline looks promising but I haven’t apply yet. Just taking a long look at the site.

  6. Libet Chang says

    Thank you very much for writing this comparison. I’m very new to freelance writing and am in the process of looking at places where I can find quality work (and showcase the few things I’m doing). I started out working at places like oDesk and Elance and many of the jobs through there are not very good quality.

    Do you have any advice for someone who is starting out and needs to build a portfolio? More than getting clients, this is my most pressing goal right now, and it looks to me like these sites work best for people who already have work to showcase.

    Thank you again!

    • says

      Hi Libet,

      I actually wrote about how to get clients on another blog. It’s called FreelanceM.ag. Look for the post titled Where on Earth Am I Going to Find My First Clients?

      I hope that helps.

      Good luck to you!

  7. says

    I’ve only used Contently at this point and am just dabbling in freelance writing on the side. So far I have had three jobs and they’ve each paid over $200. I was on there for quite some time before I got any hits but it’s starting to pick up.

    • says

      Wow Matthew! I’m impressed with your success at Contently. I have to say that I’ve never seen any actual jobs there, although I did write a paid post for the Contently blog itself.

      If you have any success tips for Contently, I’d love to hear them. How did you get them to notice you?

      I’m glad you’re experiencing some success there, I do love their portfolio platform. Thanks for the feedback. :)

      • says

        I don’t know that I have any tips other than I have quite a bit of content on my portfolio. I’ll include the link below. I also have a very specific niche that I’m passionate about which helps I think. These three jobs I’ve gotten through Contently are the first that I’ve ever been paid for.

        https://mdavis.contently.com/

        Matthew

        • says

          Thanks Matthew,

          It looks like your niche is cars. I actually know another writer in that niche and he seems to do quite well.

          I am a little confused about something. If the gigs you got through Contently are the first you’ve been paid for, where did the others come from? Did you do a lot of volunteer work?

          • says

            I started my own blog while I was in college and then was invited to start writing for another website that’s trying to make a name for itself. Those ones were just for fun and to help build a portfolio. I also wrote content for the blog of a website of a company I worked for, so I guess I technically got paid for those.

  8. says

    Wow Matthew!

    That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

    I feel better about recommending this site to others now. (Although I LOVE the portfolio it creates for you.)

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