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Chapter
6

Showcase your bylines to boost credibility

Adding your by-line to your pitch is quite straightforward. But making that by-line powerful is less so.

Remember to always link to your portfolio in your pitch letter. Go to your pitch and write something along the lines of: 

To learn more about me or my work, you can check out my portfolio here [Link to your online portfolio here].

Optimizing your credibility as a freelance writer takes time and effort, but it can pay off through increased opportunities and better pay. Start boosting your credibility immediately. It’s not something you can put on the back burner if you want to score big as a freelancer.

Credibility booster #1: An online portfolio

One of the best ways of boosting your credibility is to have a portfolio that you can showcase to editors and business managers.

Having a website is the standard way of showcasing your portfolio. You can either showcase your published work on the homepage of your website or a subpage you can link to from your homepage.

The good news is that several options are available to help you create a website quickly and without breaking the bank. 

  • WordPress is one of the easiest ways freelancers can create their sites quickly and affordably. With WordPress, you can access hundreds of free themes, plugins, and features that make customizing your site easy. Plus, you can further add to its functionality with the help of plugins like Jetpack, Akismet, and Yoast SEO

  • Other popular services for creating websites include Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. These services offer a variety of user-friendly drag-and-drop tools which make setting up a website even easier than WordPress. They also provide users with customizable templates that allow freelancers to create an attractive site in no time. 

  • There are other no-code platforms you can use, including Substack.

  • Another option is to use a website builder specifically designed for writers, such as Contently or Clippings.me, which includes features and tools tailored to the needs of writers and authors. 

  • You can also hire a web designer to create a custom website, but this may be more expensive than using a website builder platform. You can find affordable website designers from marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.

No matter what route you choose, online presence is critical for freelance writers looking to attract new clients and build their credibility.

Here is an example of how British writer Josephine Moulds boosts her credibility by showcasing her published work in various publications on the home page of her website. Note how she organized the homepage to show the title of the story, the publication name, and the date.

Note how on the left column, she has several tabs with links to subpages that make it easier for prospects to get to know her and reach out to her, including her bio and a contact page.

Credibility booster #2: a certification or accreditation 

Another way of boosting your credibility is to get certified or accredited.

Writers can obtain various certifications and accreditations to demonstrate their expertise and professionalism. For example, the American Medical Writers Association offers a Certified Medical Writer credential, and the American Writers and Artists Inc. offers a Certified Professional Writer credential.

Again, remember to mention your accreditation in your pitch letter, especially if your accreditation is related to the story idea you’re pitching. So, if you pitch to a medical publication, for example, you can mention in the introduction that you’re a Certified Medical Writer.

The chicken or egg situation

Beginner freelancers sometimes find themselves in an egg or chicken situation. 

How can I build a portfolio when I don’t have published work, and how can I get published when I don’t have a portfolio?

Starting from zero is never easy, but it’s doable. Here are some things you can consider if you’re a beginner:

  • Start writing and publishing on your blog on your website.

  • Publish on free public platforms such as Medium.

  • Guest blog on popular sites.

  • Publish on local websites like a local real estate company or start writing in publications that accept work from new writers like Thrive Global and Vocal Media.

Build those credibility foundations

  1. Identify a platform you’ll use to showcase your published work. If you already have one, move on to the next step.

  2. Write down a sentence you’ll use in your pitch letter to show your credibility in the designated section of the worksheet.

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