Balance – Myth or Method?
How the media view women

How are you building your writer’s portfolio?

By Robbi Hess

 Today when you’re looking to score more writing gigs – or a staff writer position – and the editor asks for clips. What do you do? Are you still writing for print magazines and are they online? Can you send a link to the potential editor? Are you writing for print magazines and they aren’t online? If so, you will Picture1 likely need to scan your articles and send as a pdf to the editor. Regardless of where you have written and published, you need to being a writing platform and portfolio if you want to score more writing opportunities.

Keep in mind too, whether you want to be a generalist or a specialist. Are you looking to find work in a particular field, ie. Pet writing, small business ownership, etc. If so, you may want to target your writing in a particular market. If you are looking to expand your horizons and write about any- and everything, then seek out opportunities where you can be a generalist. Bear in mind though, that many writers feel they fare better if they specialize because they become a go-to person when an editor is seeking an article on a niche topic.

Here are five tips to build a platform or portfolio:
  1. Build your own blog or website and make certain it clearly lets visitors know a) you are a writer and b) in which areas you specialize
  2. If you don’t have your own website or blog (personally I believe this is a mistake) then blog for established websites with good traffic and in the niche in which you want to be known
  3. Find and promote your niche. Assuming you want to specialize, make certain you are writing in that niche. If you want to be a generalist, make certain you are writing and blogging on sites that show your versatility. If you can, and will, write about anything make it known.
  4. Teach or talk about  your area of expertise. Look for speaking opportunities in your community. Do you write about social media? Prepare a presentation to offer to small business organizations at which you can talk about social media.
  5. Become the online expert in various online communities. If you are a member of LinkedIn, you should be answering and participating in discussion groups and asking and answering questions. Become known as the expert in your field and you will be known as the go-to person.

There are many other ways to build a portfolio and a platform but this should get you started. Remember too, if you write it, you need to promote it on your social media sites – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. 



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Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Great points, Robbi! These are all things I talk about in my Writers and Books (Rochester, NY) class on "Develop Your Writer's Portfolio," and some of them come up in my "Writers and Their Websites" class as well.

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