Portfolio Tips: How To Show Off Your Best Work

If you’ve been freelancing for any length of time, then you have probably seen requests to send examples of your work to a prospective new client. So you do the following: You glance through your portfolio, find a few articles or reports that best exemplify your work and will fit the scope of the project, then fire off an email and hope you land the gig. That’s easy enough to do.

But what if you don’t exactly have a list of those links or articles right at your fingertips? That’s where creating a “greatest hits” page can pay dividends, as it is a curated list of your work that best shows off your writing style. It’s not a list of links to any and all content you have created; rather, it is a selection of work that can exemplify the type of skills that you will bring to the table for a potential assignment.

How To Show Off Your Best Work

In my collection of greatest hits, I have selected works that range from the fun article I wrote about a Disney collector to an article with advice on maintaining holiday health for senior citizens. My selection includes interviews, features, and expert advice, and I am so proud to show off this page of my work every time. This is the link I am likely to share when I am asked for a selection of my work for a prospective client. The best part of a greatest hits page is that it’s all in one place and I don’t need to spend any more time creating the list. It’s a win-win situation! If you’re ready to build your collection of greatest hits, then keep these portfolio tips for organizing digital content in mind.

Confirm You Can Share Your Work

Did you ghostwrite blog posts for a client or produce content that can’t be linked on your own site? Before you link away or post a PDF of an article, you should confirm that you can show off your work without breaking any confidentiality clauses in a contract you have signed with the client. This is a fussy step, but is one that you can’t skip.

Be Selective When Showing Your Work

I am proud of the work I have completed as a freelancer, but I have freelanced for the better part of a decade. I can’t list links to any and all articles that I have written! As your portfolio grows, you will find that you need to be judicious in the types of work that you include in this page. This page of your portfolio would be a great way to show off what is truly the best of the best of the type of content you have created. To help you determine which content should be linked, keep these questions in mind:

  1. Do you have an article that required a fair amount of research or a long-form article that took months of research to complete? If you’re pitching article ideas that will include investigative reporting, then links to well-researched articles will be a point in your favor.
  2. Does your content include a wide assortment of tones and style? Showing that you can easily adapt your writing tone to fit the needs of a publication can go a long way. If you’ve written product descriptions with a light and breezy style as well as article with a more sympathetic tone, then consider linking to both types of content. It’s a great way to show you’re adaptable!
  3. Do you have content that has been published in the last few years? Your latest work shows that you have been working recently; however, that doesn’t mean you should forego that amazing interview you conducted 10 years ago. Shine the spotlight on the recent stuff, but keep the older work on hand, too.
  4. Do you have a particularly successful blog post or other forms of digital content? Perhaps you wrote a post that took off on social media or generated a ton of clicks for your client’s site. If you have the stats to back up your claim — and you are allowed to share this type of information — then you’ll want to include this article in your collection of greatest hits.
  5. Do you have a piece that you just really like? Maybe your tutorial on the basics of underwater basketweaving didn’t exactly bring in readers like you expected, but it was a fun article to research and write. If you’re proud of a piece, then definitely include a link! Your enthusiasm for the article will shine through when discussing it with prospective clients.

Organize Your Work

Group your work by theme (e.g., holiday articles, travel advice, etc.), style (e.g., product descriptions or blog posts), or publication/website for readability, like I did here. Although it can be fun to create a list of your top articles displayed in a random order, visitors to your site will want to see some sort of commonality featured in the page. Grouping your articles together will also make it easier for clients to see if your writing style will match the scope of the project.

Check Links

Make it a point to check the links in your page once every few months. Sites can be rebranded and URLs may no longer be redirected, so taking a few moments to double-check links can go a long way. Showing off your list of greatest hits won’t help the cause if half of the links are broken!

Add To The List

After you have created your page, your work is complete — for now, at least. You will want this page to be dynamic and refreshed every few months. Perhaps you’ve landed a great new client and want to show off your latest assignments, you’ve branched out into a type of writing style that is new to you, or you plan to dig into the vault and show off older articles that are still relevant today. Keeping the page fresh and updated is a great way to show your progress as a writer.

With these tips in mind, you can create a greatest hits page that shows off some of your best work without much fuss. You’ll also save some time the next time a client requests a look at your portfolio.

What is your best tip for curating your online portfolio?

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