Writing Portfolio Guide – Achievement In Six Steps

In this guide, we’re going to take you through the 6 steps required to construct a killer profile on line, so that you can easily have one finished for yourself in an hour or two.

This is the procedure we will observe to create your best on line writing portfolio:

  • Objectives: Be clean approximately them from the start. The work you choose to get a job goes to be very specific from the paintings you pick to land a travel writing gig.
  • Hosting: Keep it memorable and expert. If you want to create your portfolio quick, select a hosted carrier consisting of Clippings.me.
  • Portfolio Design: Keep it easy and smooth. Avoid distractions but make certain it works on cellular.
  • Samples: Add among 10 and 20 pieces of labor. Use links or PDF uploads for maximum viewability and to present a photo of what you can do, but organize things logically and do not make the person scroll.
  • Biography: Showcase your achievements. Make it as lengthy or as quick as you need and add a resume in case you’re job hunting, but ensure you are clear on what you can offer a ability corporation/commissioner.

Ready to study more? Scroll on!

Step 1


You want to make certain your writing portfolio achieves its targets – in case you’re an creator, that may be to get you a e-book deal. If you are a pupil, it’s probably educational attention and in case you’re a freelance journalist, it could be to get you a piece of writing fee.

So suppose difficult and be precise approximately what your portfolio need to tell the human beings that come across it. Doing so will make drafting your reproduction and making plans out the one of a kind sections MUCH less complicated.

Common Objectives

  • To get a job – you will be sending your portfolio to prospective employers or clients, so your main purpose is to impress in the subject you figure in.

  • To sell – you’ve got written a few amazing stuff, and now you need to sell it to an agent, publisher or commissioner.

  • To be extra seen – you want a place where people can locate you online and analyze more approximately what you do.

Once you understand what the aim is, write that down someplace. As you build your portfolio, every time you write a sentence or upload a chunk of labor, ask yourself “does this addition help my goal?”

If the solution if no, do not upload it.


Step two

Portfolio Hosting

The days of the hard portfolio are DEFINITELY over.

For 99% of portfolio customers, digital is the right manner to go, because the overdue Steve Buttry explained in this great weblog. Steve exceeded away in February 2017, but his notable blog remains online as a useful resource for journalism college students and experts and is well really worth a read.

We’re way beyond the days of finding out which half-dozen tough-copy clips to stuff into an envelope along with your résumé. Unless an organisation in particular asks for a tough-replica software, you ought to practice with the aid of electronic mail with a hyperlinked résumé. Even if the organization asks for hard-copy (and if you need to paintings for someone who needs hard replica), you want a URL (or some) at the top, guiding your destiny boss to a place to examine your paintings at length.

There are tons of options for growing portfolios available – Clippings.me is one in every of them, but you may also create your very own the use of a device like WordPress, Wix or Weebly.


In this piece, Poynter’s Kristen Hare and Ren Laforme round up the best portfolio tools for journalists in 2017:

It seems to me that the large ones for reporters are Muck Rack, Clippings.me, Contently, Pressfolios and Journo Portfolio. They all assist you to installation a little landing web page wherein you could drop your clips. Some sites restriction your clips if you’re on a unfastened account, and they all arrange them in diverse clever ways.

Another roundup by journalism.co.uk’s Sarah Marshall, took a look at various portfolio tools to be had consisting of Clippings.me, Contently, Journalisted, MuckRack and About.me.

Sarah also pointed out that it’s vital to take note of your social media channels too:

Whether applying for a job, pitching as a freelancer or showcasing your work, an online portfolio with a biography and links to your paintings can be highly treasured. Of route, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and different structures provide journalists with an internet presence, and it’s miles constantly worth listening to your bio records to be had on social networks as different people will search for you.

However, your choice of tool will in all likelihood be determined by way of the codecs which you selected to encompass to your portfolio. So spend a while thinking about your pieces of labor and the formats which you use the most usually.

What content material formats would possibly you want?

  • Writing: Plain textual content, links, PDF files, Slideshare displays, Scribd documents
  • Images: All common photo layout files, plus ‘wealthy’ media files like Flash and Shockwave. Also, cloth you’ve posted on photograph add websites inclusive of Flickr.
  • Social media: Storify curated testimonies, Twitter feeds, Facebook Post
  • Videos: YouTube motion pictures, Vimeo movies, Wistia movies, embedded newsreels
  • Audio: Podcasts (mp3, AAC or other), AudioBoom documents, SoundCloud files

Back when Clippings.me was based, it handiest allowed for the addition of links and PDF documents – however now you can embed all of the above, and most reporters take advantage of that capability. You’ll need to bear in mind this earlier than transferring onto the following step.

Finally, ensure whichever tool you operate can make use of a custom domain. This will assist you to use a link consisting of www.yourname.com, rather than a branded link like www.clippings.me/yourname. This is strongly suggested when trying to find a process, as placing your customized URL on a enterprise card or CV seems a long way greater professional and makes it less difficult to recall!

Note that you may in all likelihood ought to pay for that custom area – domains commonly run from about $12 per year for a standard .com, even though different domains is probably greater expensive.

Top Writing Portfolio Tools To Consider


Clippings.meClippings.me is the arena’s biggest writing portfolio internet site and permits the creation of writing-specific portfolios with custom URLs. It’s unfastened for as much as a certain number of clippings but users can upgrade for a vast account with several different professional capabilities which include Google Analytics integration and portfolio privacy.ContentlyContently is greater content material writers’ network than portfolio device, however we’ve seen lots of reporters create good-looking portfolios with this loose software. Getting started is a doddle and there’s a neat feature to discover clippings that you could have ignored. It lacks some customization functions of devoted portfolio companies.MuckrackMuckRack’s sturdy integration with Twitter make it an attractive portfolio option for those with a strong Twitter following. Design functions are mild, but you’ll grow to be with a stable page you could send out with delight.WriterFolioSadly, WriterFolio has no unfastened option (pricing is from $four/m), but putting in place this feature is simple and the wide choice of subject matters make it a famous option for writers.JournoPortfolioA newcomer in the space, JournoPortfolio won’t be as function-rich as some of the alternative vendors available, however it is a stable preference.Other Professional Writing Portfolio Software

Want something extra advanced? If you’re accessible with HTML and don’t mind a chunk of messing round to get the look just proper, you may additionally create the use of one of these different alternatives:


Wix offers free websites which can be easy to customize and need no coding.


WordPress is the sector’s maximum popular blogging platform. It’s greater technically hard but almost infinitely customizeable.

If you need a few extra assist selecting, googling ‘journalism portfolio gear’ is a superb vicinity to start.


Step three

Portfolio Design

Overwhelmingly, journalists developing their page the usage of Clippings.me generally tend to opt for a easy format which pulls interest to paintings with little within the manner of fancy distractions on the web site.

Our STRONG style advice might be to preserve matters as simple as viable and try to let your writing speak for itself.

Use a crisp, clean font that’s professional and legible – no MS Comic Sans in case you want to be taken severely. Also, try to hold the font size above 14pt, ideally edging in the direction of 16pt, to maximize the readability of what you’ve got. Another neat trick right here is to increase the line spacing, in an effort to supply your writing more room to breathe.

Keep colours professional – shocking pink and lime inexperienced are hardly ever seen in portfolios, and there’s probably a cause for that. If you pick out to have a history shade, ensure it is sufficiently contrasting with the text for things to be clean on the attention – the usage of two different shades of blue for history and textual content, for instance, is usually a horrific idea.


Be mindful of customers on pill and cellular (as you could see above, increasing amount are); some portfolio sites encompass a cellular alternative, however now not they all. People WILL be sorting out your portfolio on a cell or a tablet, so that you’ll want to ensure it scales effectively on extraordinary screen sizes.

For this reason, we strongly advise towards having a flash-based totally portfolio, which generally won’t paintings as designed on mobile gadgets.

Too many snap shots may additionally end up distracting out of your writing, however pics can brighten up a portfolio.

Try to make certain the pictures that you use are compelling and colorful, relate well to the phrases subsequent to them and do not take too lengthy to load.

You might also wish to test out our listing of writing portfolio examples, but here are a few different designs to check out for inspiration:


Catherine Bouris’ mobile-first portfolio is likewise well worth looking at:

Looking for more wonderful examples of writing portfolios? Check out some of the following pages:

  • Writing Portfolio Examples from Clippings.me(portfolios we love made using this website)

  • Writing portfolio roundupfrom Format.com


Step four

Adding Samples

Now the fun bit begins!

We normally advocate including among 10-20 portions of labor to an online portfolio – the overall intention right here is to offer a image of what you could do in an overview that the alternative individual could be capable to finish. Don’t sense that you need to consist of everything which you’ve ever written.

Choose a choice of writing samples that quality serves the purpose you recognized in segment 1. Generally, it is properly to apply paintings that indicates the versatility of your abilties, but this may no longer be the case to your unique needs.

As Susanna Speier recognized in a exceptional


piece on journalism portfolios:

Recruiters and HR departments simply “don’t usually have the bandwidth” to investigate a candidate on the Internet, stated Lars Schmidt, NPR’s senior director for expertise acquisition. Schmidt stated he prefers journalist portfolios which can be categorised. He also advises reporters to arrange their portfolios in line with the process they’re looking for.

Most portfolios we see are a combination of links and PDF uploads, although there may be simply no damage in using greater of one than the other. Do don’t forget, if using links, that they have got an unpleasant dependancy of transferring or converting over time, so it’s on occasion quality to host the files your self or set a agenda to come back returned and check that the whole lot’s nonetheless where it should be. Example writing portfolio sites that may support PDF encompass Clippings.me and JournoPortfolio.

Based on the codecs you diagnosed in advance, you may need to make sure you’ve got enough examples to reveal the flexibility of what you do.

Multimedia portfolios may be trickier to make however provide a higher assessment inside the long time – as The Washington Post’s Graphics Director Kat Downs Mulder explains in this

ItsAllJournalism podcast

You’ll need to pay more attention to the order of your written work, even though – make sure it is logical. Some human beings display their clippings by means of date, a few prefer to do it via section type, and either is best as long as you are steady.

Emily Ingram had some notable recommendation on her website (unfortunately now deleted) on the way to construct your very own WordPress portfolio (it applies to any portfolio, clearly):

I think an excellent rule of thumb is to preserve things easy and try to cast off any greater clicks for customers. In different words: If you may placed a terrific quantity of your clips all on one page and nonetheless make it look easy, do it. Know how stressful it is to visit a newspaper’s Web site and need to load a completely new web page for each photo in a 50-picture slideshow? It’s the identical idea.

If feasible, try and encompass subheadings as well as the item name with every writing sample which you upload – simply as with a actual article, they dramatically increase the possibilities of someone reading on. And, as already referred to, in case you’re able to use photographs, it can make a real difference:


In the case of an author portfolio rather than a journalist one, don’t forget the usage of shorter excerpts in place of full chapters. It may be overwhelming for readers to be confronted with dense chapters to navigate so offering the choice of some thing shorter is generally preferred.

If you’re building an educational portfolio, ensure that you’re assembly the requirements of whichever institution you’re making use of to. Critically, make certain which you’ve selected a sufficient kind of papers – don’t submit one with 3 or 4 with a completely comparable shape. There will also be restrictions on what number of papers you can submit from anyone route.

Step five


Most writers encompass a personal overview of their portfolio to provide context. It’s up to you to make this as long or as short as you need – I’ve visible human beings inclusive of a complete CV or only some strains of text to provide an explanation for who they’re.

What to encompass in your bio? Well, your process name and company are a terrific region to begin. Then, many writers use the bio as a space to do what they do first-rate – tell a story. If you can get a few interest by using weaving together a few bullet points that fulfill your portfolio’s targets (see step 1), this is outstanding. Can you explain a number of your pleasant creations or achievements?

For students and graduates, that is a place to mention your university, your fundamental and 12 months, your roles on campus and every other statistics to be able to provide humans a flavor of who you are. But recall – constantly – that this is a public piece of labor and if you’re asked about it later, you don’t want to squirm.


Before trying this phase, it’s worth firing up a word processor so you’ve got an idea of phrase count number. Realistically, 2 hundred words are likely the limit of what you have to pass for – readers need to get a top level view of you in ten seconds or less, so make each phrase in those first sentences be counted. No fluff, no buzzwords – just simple-spoken information approximately you.

Resume or no resume?

Back again to NPR’s Lars Schmidt inside the Poynter piece:

He urges reporters to “consist of a resume and have it up in your portfolio.” Yes, a resume. An clean-to-discover resume, Schmidt stated, continues to be the pleasant way to say, “right here’s what I can bring in your agency.”

So including a CV is considered a terrific idea, however if you pick out to accomplish that, make certain it is formatted successfully – frequently you’ll locate it appears extra professional to embed it inside your clips than to stick it in simple textual content somewhere. If you have got a portfolio service in which you could encompass it as a separate file, all of the better.

Finally, make sure you’ve got your contact details. In many tremendous portfolios, this is in the form of a name to motion – e.g. “touch me through electronic mail at [e mail covered]”, leaving the reader in no doubt as to what to do subsequent.

You’ll additionally want to consist of social media links in order that people can find you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and everywhere else you preserve a expert presence. If your Facebook page carries embarrassing snap shots, do not link to that – manifestly.

What NOT to feature

It’s high-quality not to include any of the following matters in a profile:


  • Your age – nobody desires to see this, in particular if it interprets to ‘younger and green’. If you must positioned a range of, make it approximately your experience – “I’ve been a reporter for ten years.”

  • Lack of self assurance – in wellknown, it rankles whilst writers write approximately what they someday “wish” to turn out to be. If you have not were given there yet, it is high-quality, however there is no want to draw interest to that reality. It damages a reader’s notion that you will deliver nice.

  • Grammatical mistakes – glaringly. Take a loose trial of a tool along with Grammarly to make certain your portfolio is freed from errors.

  • Condescension – it’s OK if you’re wonderful, but in case you’re that right a wordsmith, you may be in a position to tell me that without making me sense like the little guy. The trick is to make your audience sense suitable about themselves at the equal time as showcasing your talent. So no spammy header lines, no passive-aggressive replica and no cockiness. Just be sincere, open and proud.


Step 6


Make sure your friends and family recognise all approximately your portfolio. Share it on Facebook first to ask for comments (you will be surprised at what you ignored), after which solid the internet a little wider on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and your different social networks.

You need to force site visitors for your portfolio for it to be shared, so it’s an amazing idea to start losing the hyperlink across the vicinity. Put it on your e-mail signature and in the profile pages of your social networks, mainly Twitter (if you’ve were given an account!). You can also want to ensure that it’s blanketed for your weblog and your LinkedIn web page (Clippings.me users can embed their clips right into their LinkedIn pages).

There’s nothing worse than an out-of-date writing portfolio. We recommend returning to your profile multiple instances a month to check that the hyperlinks are all running and to feature new pieces of labor. This is a good thing to do because it allows you to build up a following round your portfolio, and it additionally shows the evolution of what you do, proving that you’re active within the field and a good bet in your target audience!

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