As a freelance journalist, an online presence is essential. There's no use calling or emailing a commissioning editor with earth-shattering feature ideas if they've never heard of you and have no proof you can deliver on your promises. Having a solid portfolio online will also help your application for a staff job, as any prospect editor will want to see your work before even considering replying to you.
Social media is a great place to start. Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram are all great for personal brand-building, but there are many others out there that you might not have heard of – that might suit your needs better.
With that in mind, why not give these sites a go:
You get your own Clippings.me URL as standard and can link to your work with some nice big pictures to make it stand out, divided into different topics if necessary. There's an option to upload PDFs as well, or embed various forms of multimedia from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Audioboom and others.
Add your social media links and some personal information and you're set. Journalist Katie Gatens and Clippings.me founder Nicholas Holmes, a freelancer himself, have some tips for general portfolio building if you want some more help.
A basic profile with 10 'clippings' is free, but there are extra options – custom domains, spam-protected email, Google analytics integration – with the intermediate ($8/£6 per month) or advanced ($12/£9 per month) packages.
About.me isn't as journalism-focused as some of the other sites here but is just as useful in being a quick, one-page home for personal and professional information.
Add a great background image, some personal info, social media links and article links to create a simple profile. A pro version for $8/£6 a month allows you to have your own domain name, capture visitors’ email addresses, get image gallery or video embed, and remove about.me branding.
Founder Marc Samson told Journalism.co.uk that Pressfolios serves three functions: "The first function is as a website builder, the second function is the personal repository and lastly the PDF uploader."
It sits somewhere between Clippings.me and About.me in its presentation, starting with a cover picture and quick bio when you land before a selection of article links or PDFs and an 'about' section at the bottom of the page that also includes a list of skills and links to social media profiles. You can add categories, such as writing, photography, or marketing, that allow the user to sieve through your portfolio.
After a free 14-day trial, you’ll need to pay $10/£7.50 a month to save up to 250 stories, or $15/£11.20 for unlimited stories, custom domain name, analytics and other options.
MuckRack was created as a professional directory for the media industry, but it serves the portfolio function just as well.
You can connect your different social media accounts, upload or link stories directly. "Our system will pull in links from any URL a journalist publishes to," Gregory Galant, MuckRack founder and CEO, told journalism.co.uk. "A lot of freelancers love MuckRack for that."
An alert also notifies you when your stories are picked up or tweeted.
Although it doesn't have the same slick presentation as other sites here, it is a great option for networking, connections and ease of use for slightly more established media professionals. The platform is free for journalists.
A cross between a website builder and the one-page option available on some other sites, Journo Portfolio looks great on desktop as well as on mobile, and is intuitive in adding articles. You can also add your CV and allow people to comment on your articles to get feedback or start discussions.
With JournoPortfolio, you can switch the layout between vertical and horizontal, choose different themes, and add extra pages to your portfolio to make it as simple or extensive as necessary.
The free option gives you 10 articles and social media integration. For $5/£3.75 a month, you get unlimited articles and pages, and the Pro version for $10/£7.50 a month comes with a custom domain, article backups and HTTPS certificate. Students get a portfolio for free.
More of a website builder than a portfolio site in itself, Wix.com focuses on the big images and tidy layout so de rigeur of modern websites.
You can edit hundreds of existing templates or create an original website, with more options and add-ons than you could possibly ever need. One of the best features is the possibility to add any number of pages and link them to the main menu that you can place pretty much anywhere on your website, allowing for creative design.
The free option comes with 500MB storage but includes Wix adverts. To get an ads-free website and a personalised domain, you need to upgrade to one of the paid-for plans (between $6.70/£5 a month and $20/£15.50 a month) that also come with a host of handy functions.
If you want to be more serious about site building then WordPress is another choice you can go for.
There are thousands of themes available to customise, but even with this head-start WordPress can become quite complex in getting what you want. However, there is plenty of online support available to help you navigate website building.
Building your site on WordPress can be very useful in terms of using and practising HTML and CSS code, which is a skill increasingly in demand across the media sector. The options are limitless when you know what you're doing. A personal plan costs $4/£3 a month and Premium, which is recommended for freelancers, $9/£7 a month if billed yearly.
Medium takes the hassle out of publishing by just letting you get on with adding the text and images you want.
The website has a simple, clear and attractive layout for publishing with big, full-window images and notes (comments) left alongside the text by authors and readers. This portfolio can also earn you some pennies, as Medium funds authors and publishers whose content is read by the website’s members, especially if they ‘clap’ for you.
In the same vein as Wix and WordPress, Squarespace is a simple drag-and-drop website builder that prioritises sleek visual experience over gimmicks. Although it offers far fewer templates than other website builders, there are still plenty of options to choose from – great place to start if you want to build a customised website minus the headache. Some $13.40/£10 a month will get you unlimited pages, galleries, blogs and storage, and even a free custom domain if you commit for a year.
This Pinterest-style tool essentially allows you to collect articles, videos, pictures or tweets from all around the web and organise them nicely into collections that you can re-order at any time. Probably the best option for those who don’t want to spend time putting together a portfolio website but still want to showcase their online work on one easily accessible page. Best of all, it’s free.
Feel free to tweet us with any other suggestions for portfolio or publishing platforms for journalists.
Note: This story is an updated version of an article originally published on 19 November 2014 by Alastair Reid.
Do you want to become a successful freelancer? Learn new skills and get a certificate in freelance feature writing, pitching, copywriting, sub-editing and more. Click here for more information
Free daily newsletter
- How journalists can sensitively report on eating disorders
- Slack group for freelancers grows into a social enterprise to seek financial sustainability
- Virtual work experience scheme that pairs students with freelancers is back
- How to track down case studies for your next article
- How to kick-start your freelancing career during the pandemic