Learn tips for evaluating a freelance writing portfolio and discover elite content creators who can transform your projects with their range, adaptability, and unique voice.
The Role of a Freelance Writing Portfolio in Finding Elite Content Creators
With over 73 million Americans working as freelancers and an anticipated 86.5 million in 2027, brands have their work cut out for them regarding finding the best fit for their content creation needs. That’s where evaluating writing portfolios plays the biggest role.
A freelance writing portfolio is like a professional showcase, presenting a variety of work samples that reflect the writer’s abilities and range. It can include the following samples:
- Blog posts
- Web content
- Press releases
- Social media posts
- Technical writing
- . . . and more!
A portfolio reflects the writer’s professional journey, highlighting their growth, adaptability, and commitment to their craft. It lets you peek into their creative world, offering insights into their thought process, writing style, and the unique voice they can bring to your projects.
This understanding is invaluable as it can help ensure a match between the writer’s capabilities and your specific content needs. A well-rounded portfolio can serve as a reliable tool in the vetting process, aiding you in identifying freelance writers who can contribute meaningfully to your content goals.
Navigating the Freelance Writing Portfolio: Key Elements to Consider
Navigating a freelance writing portfolio can initially seem daunting. However, knowing the key elements to focus on can make this process significantly easier and more effective. As you sift through various samples, you’ll see how the writer can tailor their style and tone according to different content demands.
This adaptability allows writers to switch seamlessly between different projects, which benefits companies requiring varied content.
Let’s dive deeper into the five key elements:
Relevance of Writing Samples
Evaluating the relevance of samples will help you determine whether the writer’s style and expertise align with your brand’s voice and content goals. When reviewing writing samples, consider the specific content needs of the company:
- Prioritize samples demonstrating proficiency in the desired niche (e.g., technical writing for technical requirements).
- Assess the relevance of the samples regarding the target audience and their requirements.
“When I’m looking for a new writer within a particular niche or for a particular channel — writers with SEO or social media experience. For example, I do a quick search on nDash, then browse through the resulting writer profiles,” explains Nicole Bump, Fractional Content Director at Bump Inbound.
She continues, “When I find a few writers who meet my specs, I try them out on an assignment or two. In some cases, I may try multiple writers out on the same assignment to figure out who may be the best fit.”
While creative writing pieces may showcase versatility and flair, they may not directly align with the company’s content objectives. Thoroughly assessing the relevance of writing samples provides insights into the writer’s ability to:
- Produce content that matches the brand’s voice, tone, and industry-specific knowledge
- Effectively communicate complex information, where applicable
This evaluation helps you select a writer whose style and expertise align with the content requirements. Ultimately, this alignment contributes to developing:
- Cohesive and impactful content that resonates with the target audience
- Enhanced brand reputation and achievement of content objectives
While relevance is crucial, a diverse portfolio often signals a versatile writer who can adapt to various styles and content formats. Evaluating the diversity of a writer’s portfolio is crucial if you need someone capable of producing high-quality content across various platforms.
A writing portfolio should include various writing types, showcasing expertise in different areas, including the following examples:
- Case studies: Presenting real-life examples and analysis to demonstrate expertise and problem-solving abilities.
- Long-form articles or blog posts: Providing in-depth analysis and engaging storytelling.
- Short-form blog posts: Captivating readers with concise information.
- Product descriptions: Crafting compelling narratives to drive engagement and boost sales.
- Social media posts: Creating engaging and impactful content tailored for different platforms.
Quality of Writing
Assess the writing portfolio for clear, concise, and effective writing. Pay attention to the following elements:
Assess the writer’s ability to communicate ideas, arguments, or information concisely and understandably.
Look for consistent clarity that enables readers to understand the intended message without confusion or ambiguity. Clear writing demonstrates the writer’s proficiency in conveying thoughts precisely and resonating with the intended audience.
Grammar, Punctuation, and Sentence Structure
These elements reflect the writer’s commitment to producing polished work. Evaluate the writer’s command over grammar by assessing their proficiency in verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, and pronoun usage.
Pay attention to proper punctuation, such as comma placement and quotation marks, and consistency throughout the portfolio. Examine sentence structure to ensure well-formed and coherent sentences that enhance readability and comprehension. Strong writing mechanics demonstrate professionalism and attention to detail.
Making Complex Topics Accessible
A signal of high-quality writing is the writer’s ability to break down intricate concepts into easily understandable components. Look for clear explanations and the use of appropriate examples or analogies.
This skill showcases the writer’s expertise in effectively conveying information to a broad audience while maintaining accuracy. The writer should demonstrate the ability to simplify complex topics and make them accessible to readers from various backgrounds and expertise levels.
While it may not be required if you have a separate SEO team, understanding the basics of SEO is valuable for any content creator. Look for proficiency in the following:
- Incorporating relevant keywords: Strategically incorporating keywords into content is crucial for improving search engine rankings. Content creators should understand keyword research, selection, and placement to align with user search queries.
- Crafting concise meta descriptions: Crafting accurate and enticing meta descriptions is important for attracting users to click on the content. Content creators should showcase their skill in writing compelling meta descriptions that represent the content effectively.
- Implementing well-structured headers: Properly formatting headers using HTML tags (e.g., H1, H2, H3) helps organize content and enhance user and search engine readability. Content creators should exhibit proficiency in structuring headers to improve the overall user experience and SEO optimization.
- Adhering to established SEO best practices: Familiarity with established SEO best practices is essential. This includes optimizing page load speed, employing responsive design for mobile-friendliness, creating unique and valuable content, utilizing internal and external links effectively, and ensuring proper URL structure. Adhering to these practices enhances the overall SEO performance of the content.
This knowledge ensures that the content reaches and resonates with your target audience. This diversity shows a writer’s ability to handle a wide range of assignments. “We started having nDash create materials explaining who Gradient Cyber is and how we can solve client problems,” explains Annika Bergum, Gradient Cyber’s former VP of Marketing.
“After creating that foundation, we’ve moved on to having nDash freelancers handle virtually all of our content needs. That ranged from case studies and customer testimonials to blog posts, social media captions, and SEO,” she continues.
When I talk about creative writing, I don’t mean creative non-fiction. We see some elements of creativity in case studies and other anecdotal writing. We also see a writer’s ability for creative flair when they write social media copy, email streams, editorials, and the like.
Why is it important for writers to infuse their work with unique perspectives and unexpected associations? Doing so demonstrates how well they can produce original content that sets them apart.
Creativity goes beyond simply conveying facts and creates an immersive experience that resonates with readers and holds their attention. It also shows the writer can craft content that evokes emotions, sparks curiosity, and stimulates thought.
Beyond the Writing Portfolio: Additional Factors to Consider When Vetting Freelancers
While a freelance writer’s portfolio provides a valuable snapshot of their abilities and style, it’s essential to consider additional factors when vetting freelancers. These factors can give you a more comprehensive understanding of the freelancer’s work ethic, reliability, and ability to deliver impactful results.
“When I search nDash for a writer, the sheer number of people I can choose from is fantastic,” explains Monica Caraway, Content Lead at Orange Marketing.
She continues, “Unlike other platforms, where I sifted through writers with questionable skill levels and experience to find someone who might work, on nDash, it’s easy for me to find a solid writer on a particular topic.”
A freelance writer who consistently delivers high-quality content is a valuable asset. Look for consistency across different types of work in their writing portfolio, as it indicates reliability.
Proof of Results
Look for content that has led to tangible results, like increased website traffic, improved search engine rankings, or boosted user engagement. These metrics can provide a more concrete indication of the writer’s ability to create content that reads well and drives results.
Adherence to Deadlines
Timeliness is critical when working with freelancers. While not directly evident from the portfolio, you might infer this from the volume of work or any mentions of projects being completed within a given timeframe. Meeting deadlines is just as crucial as the quality of work.
Understanding of the Target Audience
It might seem like a no-brainer, but if a writer doesn’t understand your target audience, that’s a missed opportunity.
By getting to know the audience’s needs and pain points, writers can create content that resonates no how far they are through the funnel.
The Power of Testimonials in a Writing Portfolio
Testimonials are powerful indicators of a freelancer’s professionalism, work ethic, and client satisfaction. These endorsements provide a firsthand account of the freelancer’s previous engagements, offering insights extending beyond the quality of their writing.
They showcase the following:
- Responsiveness and communication
- Receptiveness to feedback
- Ability to meet deadlines
“We considered other agencies and platforms but found nDash’s communication style and interface clear-cut and simplified. It was easy for us to quickly review and understand writers’ backgrounds by viewing their profiles,” explains Michael Kaisin-Morin, the former Senior Managing Editor at Ask.
These factors are important but may not be readily apparent from the writing portfolio alone. You can find testimonials and recommendations on the writer’s LinkedIn profile, website pages, or nDash profile.
Find Elite Content Creators: Evaluating Freelance Writing Portfolios
A freelance writing portfolio is valuable for discovering exceptional content creators who can enhance your projects with their diverse range, adaptability, and unique voice. It’s a professional showcase reflecting a writer’s skills, growth, and commitment to their craft.
By evaluating the relevance, diversity, quality, SEO knowledge, and creativity displayed in their portfolio, you can ensure a strong alignment between the writer’s abilities and your specific content needs.
Additionally, considering factors such as consistency, proven results, meeting deadlines, and understanding the target audience is crucial. Testimonials further provide valuable insights into a freelancer’s professionalism and client satisfaction. By carefully considering these aspects, you can make well-informed decisions and find the perfect content creators to achieve your goals.
Work With Elite Freelance Writers on nDash Today!
Are you struggling with how to roll out your content strategy’s editorial calendar? Do you need help figuring out who is the best fit for your content creation goals? Check out our pool of freelance writers, each with a unique writing portfolio. Browse our writers and find top talent today!