You—ve done it! You—ve worked your butt off sending out pitches, LOIs, and completed articles to the point that you now have writing samples and clips to show for all your effort. You know they need to go on your portfolio on your writer’s site to draw in more clients, but how exactly should you do this? Alphabetically? Chronologically? Or the famous “in order of importance?”
In general, I’ve noticed three different organization techniques used on the writer’s sites I’ve stumbled across: organization by writing type, by topic/category, or by service. You can use one or more of these organization techniques depending on what your history and goals are as a freelance writer. Let’s break each one down and look at reasons for choosing a particular technique.
1. Organization by writing type
What it is: This organization technique puts your writing samples into different sections depending on the type of writing they are, such as feature, opinion, news, interview, etc. Newspapers and magazines do this all the time. You used to do this in school when you had to write a persuasive essay as opposed to a descriptive essay.
Pros & cons: It’s super easy for editors and employers to see your ability to write a range of different types. However, if they’re looking to see just examples of your travel writing, for example, they’re going to have to look at your article titles in each section to guess which those are.
Who should use it: Though this technique is great for magazine and newspaper writers in particular, really any freelance writer can easily use this organization technique. It showcases your skills in multiple writing types which will make you seem more attractive to potential clients.
2. Organization by topic/category
What it is: Probably the most common technique I’ve found, this method organizes your writing samples according to the topic of each piece. For example, if you write a lot about travel, food, and living frugally, you would separate your samples into each of these categories.
Pros & cons: Pretty much the flip-side of organizing by writing type – you make it very easy for editors interested in those specific topics to find your work, but those interested in your writing types (such as news vs. features vs. FOBs) will have to scan through your samples and find them on their own.
Who should use it: If you want to be known as an expert specifically in your chosen topics and categories, consider using this as your main organization technique.
3. Organization by service
What it is: This is just as it sounds – your writing samples are organized according to the services you offer. This means all samples of your blog posts go under “blogs” and all newsletter copy goes under “newsletters.”
Pros & cons: It’s an excellent way for potential clients to see your expertise within in each service and figure out what you have to offer, but it makes it difficult for them to search according to writing type or topic/category.
Who should use it: This technique is especially good for writers on the more business-related end of writing, like copywriters. You might want to steer clear of this format if you don’t have a lot of services to offer, or you don’t have many examples for each yet.
There’s no one right or wrong way to organize your samples. Many freelancers combine two or more of these techniques in an hierarchical order, or go with something entirely different, like ordering samples chronologically. For example, Carol Tice’s articles and blogs sample page shows multiple levels of organization techniques. She lists the magazines or companies she’s written for followed by the writing style, under which all those samples are posted.
The best way to figure out how to organize your writing samples and clips is to study other writer sites, and then choose a technique, try it, and see if it works. Don’t be afraid to mix things up or add more techniques if needed — you can always rearrange down the road. Now go organize your writing samples so clients can find what they need from you!
How about you: Do you find one organizing technique works best for the samples on your website, or do you use a mix? Let us know in the Comments below!
Bree Brouwer is a freelance writer, blogger, and copywriter who loves investigating culture, pursuing geek enlightenment, and shopping for deals like a true Dutchwoman. Her desire is to create, discuss, and promote content worth consuming; find her on Twitter at @BreeBrouwer and at www.breebrouwer.com.