Promote Yourself With a Portfolio Site
Most of the travel writers and travel bloggers we work with focus most, if not all, of their writing on (own) their travel blog, or the travel blogs of other individuals or blog communities.
And yet I’m guessing that most, if not all, of you are freelancers, and – like most freelance writers – are willing to write articles on a variety of topics for paying publications, even if travel writing is your passion and preference. It’s about bringing in that check and paying the bills.
Having a portfolio site to promote yourself as a freelancer-for-hire, even if you prefer to keep it focused on your travel writing, is a good idea. Every freelance writer should have one, and it should be a separate site from your travel blog.
First, lets define what a “portfolio” site is: simply put, it’s a site designed to promote you and your freelance writing service, rather than the travel niche you write about on your travel blog. Consider it an online resume, one that shines a spotlight on your education, accomplishments, and abilities.
A Portfolio site is a professional way to present your work to potential clients, editors, publishers, PR firms, sponsors, and other journalists.
It should include a complete biography (but please, leave out the personal details – keep it professional and focused on your education and work/writing experience). It should also include links to (and potentially excerpts from or samples of) your published travel articles and other pieces of work. By all means be sure to link to your travel blog.
This is the place to brag about awards you’ve won, prestigious publications your work has appeared in, books that you’ve written, courses you’ve taught or presentations you’ve given (such as being a panelist or speaker at conferences), organizations you belong to, and any other accolades.
If you have written on a variety of subjects, rather than any specific niche, play that up as a positive by emphasizing your multiple abilities. Have you traveled extensively? Brag about it. Don’t travel but are an expert on your local area? Brag about that. You should have a page dedicated to your multi-media skills as a travel photographer, videographer, or interviewer.
A Portfolio site is also a great opportunity to highlight important statistics, such as the number of monthly unique visitors to your travel blog, the number of readers on your email subscriber list, the reach of your RSS Feed, the number of social media connections you have (such as Twitter followers, Facebook friends or fans, etc.), and if applicable, things like your Google PageRank, and your Alexa and/or Technorati blog ranking.
Tips for creating a portfolio site
- Edit and proofread your writing. Before you post your writing make sure you proofread it! Have someone else proofread your work as well. Two sets of eyes are better than one! You may not catch all of the errors but another person will;
- Keep it current. Any time you have something published (except on your own travel blog), update your Porfolio site with a link to it;
- Present your work in a professional, organized manner. Put some thought into it. Don’t aimlessly post content on your site, and make sure it’s easy to navigate.
- Select a professional and tasteful theme
- Market yourself. Now that you created your portfolio site, start to market yourself. Create a schedule for yourself that includes social networking. Join forums, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Do some article marketing on sites such as Ezine Articles. Your goal is to connect with the editors, publishers, and PR firms that control the paying assignments, media trips, and sponsorships.
A portfolio site is necessary if you want to be taken seriously as a freelance travel writer.
You’ll receive exposure that will not be matched by any other marketing. Soon you’ll be reaching thousands of potential clients and finding writing jobs around the world. It’s a professional way to display your writing and market your services.
Do you have a portfolio site? Share your advice!