Freelance FAQ #2: Leverage Your Existing Portfolio for New Niches


In the first episode of Freelance FAQ, I mentioned 3 tips for changing niches. In this episode, I talk about using your existing portfolio to build authority in a new niche. It’s a topic I briefly covered in Episode 1 but wanted to expand on.

It might seem silly to use writing in one niche to get work in a completely different one. Lots of writers think that they have to write brand new samples for a niche if they don’t have any existing published work in that niche. Thankfully, this isn’t the case.

That’s because what matters most isn’t always the topic. Check out the video, and stick around after for some detailed discussion, which you can find below.

That’s because what matters most isn’t always the topic. Check out the video, and stick around after for some detailed discussion, which you can find below.

Now, don’t get me wrong––it’s always beneficial to have directly related work. If you write about finance, it’s best to have published work in the finance niche.

However, there are times when that’s not possible. For example, if you’re changing niches, you won’t have any related work to show at the outset. In these cases, that’s perfectly fine.

It’s important to understand that this advice isn’t evergreen. You should only use unrelated work when you have no other option, and you shouldn’t make a habit of it. It’s always preferable to show directly related work.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to worry if you find yourself temporarily without portfolio pieces that are related to the niche you’re writing in. Use what you have, get published in the new niche, and then put that work into your portfolio.

That said, remember that editors want to see two main things: social credibility and the quality of your writing. This is why being published is so important, as it shows other people value your work. (It’s also why we don’t recommend using self-published work in your portfolio.)

Ultimately, the topics of your work don’t matter as much as the type of work. For example, if you want to get published on a blog, your portfolio should have blog articles you’ve written.

In summary:

  1. It’s best if your portfolio has work in the same niches that you’re writing in. However, if you’re temporarily without related work, use what you have.
  2. Remember that editors and clients are after social credibility and quality.

Your Turn: Have you been in this situation before? What did you do?

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