As a freelance writer your portfolio is a valuable marketing tool. But if you’re new to freelancing you may not have professional portfolio pieces you can show off.
That’s okay! There are other ways to build samples of your work early in your career. Here are some ways to create portfolio pieces that do double duty by promoting your own business.
Look Beyond Client Work for Early Portfolio Pieces
One of my favorite portfolio-building tactics is to volunteer. No, that doesn’t mean you should work for free or next to nothing for commercial markets where you should be paid. But you can work nonprofit volunteer work into your PR strategy. For example, if you want to get involved in copywriting you might contact your favorite local nonprofit organization and offer to help them develop a new brochure or improve their Web marketing copy.
Another good option is to create portfolio pieces that promote or otherwise represent your own business. You’re going to market your services anyway, right? So why not invest some time creating specialty writing samples designed to promote your business? You get the marketing benefits and the client still gets to see a sample of your work in action.
4 Examples of Self Promotion Turned Portfolio Pieces
You don’t have to be a copywriter to create marketing pieces that can work in your portfolio. Here are four examples of self promotional writing projects that you could turn into portfolio pieces. Just pick the ones most relevant to the kind of work you’d like to do for clients.
- Web marketing copy — A good way to show prospects you can write marketing copy that sells is to use your own to successfully sell to them.
- Blog posts — If you want to work as a freelance blogger, consider launching your own to show prospects that you can build and engage an audience.
- Feature articles — Instead of launching a blog, why not launch an online magazine or journal with more traditional feature articles? This could be a good option if you want to be a print magazine writer but you want to take advantage of online promotional tactics.
- White papers — If you’re a technical writer planning to offer white paper writing services, use the format to promote your own business. You don’t need to focus on technical specs, but your market still has a problem and you offer them a solution. Frame that in a marketing white paper and strut your stuff while promoting your services.
What’s your freelance writing specialty? Can you put it to work in promoting your own business? If so, you might be able to turn your own marketing collateral into early portfolio pieces while you try to line up your first client projects. Let your writing work for you in more ways than one.
Jennifer Mattern is a business writer and professional blogger who writes about freelance writing, social media, indie publishing, and small business. She publishes e-books for freelance writers and plans to publish her first nonfiction book, The Query-Free Freelancer, next year.