Writing Samples—What They Are and Why You Need Them

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Freelance writing samples are examples of a writer’s work, typically created for clients or personal projects. These serve as tangible evidence of a writer’s capabilities and style, allowing clients to assess whether they are the person for the job they have in mind.

Clients often request writing samples to evaluate the writer’s proficiency, creativity, and ability to deliver content that aligns with their requirements. By reviewing writing samples, clients can make informed decisions when selecting freelancers, ensuring a seamless match for their content needs.

This article explains the various types of writing samples you should have available, tips to create them, how to choose the sample that best fits your needs, and how to showcase them in your freelance writing portfolio. 

Keep reading to build the sample portfolio you need for success in an ever-changing freelance world. 

What Are the Types of Writing Samples?

The types of writing samples include published articles, original samples tailored for job applications, blog posts for personal websites/portfolios, guest posts on other blogs, sample social media copy, and short marketing pieces. 

Published Articles 

Published articles showcase a freelance writer’s ability to create high-quality content for various publications. These samples typically include links to the writer’s bylines on reputable websites or publications. 

Original Samples Written for a Specific Job Application

When applying for freelance writing gigs, it is common to provide original writing samples tailored to the specific job requirements. These samples are created specifically for the application to demonstrate the writer’s ability to address the client’s needs and write in the desired style or tone.

Blog Posts for Your Freelance Website/Portfolio

Blog posts for your freelance website or portfolio showcase your writing style, expertise, and interests. They also allow you to demonstrate your knowledge on specific topics relevant to your target clients or audience.

By writing informative, engaging blog posts, you can attract visitors to your website, establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and, ultimately, attract potential clients or employers. 

Guest Posts on Other Blogs

Guest posts written for other blogs are valuable writing samples demonstrating a freelance writer’s ability to create content for different platforms and audiences. These samples showcase the writer’s ability to research and adhere to the style and tone of the host blog.

Sample Social Media Copy

Social media has become a crucial aspect of content marketing in the digital age. Providing samples of social media copy demonstrates a writer’s ability to create on-brand content for specific social media platforms.

Short Marketing Pieces 

Writing samples that include short marketing pieces, such as email copy or landing page text, highlight a freelance writer’s ability to create persuasive marketing content. These samples showcase their proficiency in crafting attention-grabbing headlines, persuasive calls to action, and concise messaging.

What Factors Should You Consider When Selecting the Appropriate Writing Samples?

When selecting the appropriate writing samples, make sure they’re relevant to the client’s niche or industry, align with the type of work the client needs, and showcase your writing versatility.

Relevance to the Client’s Niche or Industry

Ensure your writing samples are closely related to the client’s niche or industry. This demonstrates your understanding of their field and increases the likelihood of them seeing you as a suitable candidate.

For example, if you’re applying for a technology company, include writing samples that discuss relevant topics such as software development, cybersecurity, or tech trends.

Alignment with the Type of Work the Client Needs

Choose writing samples that align with the specific type of work the client is looking for. If they require blog posts, include samples of your blog writing. If they need technical documentation, provide samples of your instructional or technical writing. Tailoring your samples to match the client’s needs shows that you can deliver the kind of content they require.

Showcase Your Writing Versatility

If you have experience in multiple writing styles or formats, use your writing samples to showcase your versatility. Include samples that demonstrate your ability to write in different tones, for various audiences, or across different platforms.

For instance, if you’re proficient in both long-form articles and short-form social media copy, include samples of each to highlight your range as a writer.

What Are Some Tips for Creating Strong Writing Samples?

To create strong writing samples, you need to:

  • Select your best work, demonstrating a range of skills if possible: Ideally, include samples that showcase a range of skills, such as different writing styles, tones, genres, or formats. 
  • Edit and proofread meticulously: Ensure your writing samples are error-free and polished. Edit for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity. Proofread multiple times to catch any typos or inconsistencies. 
  • Consider formatting: If possible, provide your writing samples in a format that is easy for clients to download and access. PDFs are a popular choice as they preserve formatting and can be easily shared. Additionally, organize your samples in a clear and logical manner.
  • Tailor original samples to potential client needs: When creating original samples for specific job applications or clients, take the time to understand their requirements and choose your samples accordingly. Research the client’s industry, target audience, and preferred writing style. 

Where to Showcase Your Writing Samples

You can showcase your writing samples on your freelance writer portfolio/website, various online platforms, and social media profiles.

Freelance Writer Portfolio/Website

Create a dedicated section on your website or portfolio to showcase your writing samples. This will allow potential clients to easily access and review your work. Ensure your portfolio is well-designed and appealing.

Online Platforms 

Consider leveraging online platforms specifically designed for freelance writers to showcase their work. Websites like Contently or Journo Portfolio provide customizable templates and features that allow you to create an impressive online portfolio and display your writing samples to a wider audience.

Social Media Profiles

Share snippets or links to your writing samples on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. This will help increase your visibility and allow potential clients to easily access your work.


Freelance writing samples are more than just showcases of skill; they’re indispensable marketing tools for freelance writers. Regularly updating these samples is paramount as skills and experiences evolve. By staying current, writers not only demonstrate their adaptability but also maximize their chances of attracting clients in a competitive market.

Take control of your freelance writing career today! Update your writing samples regularly to showcase your evolving skills and expertise. Start by refreshing your portfolio and sharing your latest work with potential clients. Don’t wait—seize the opportunity to stand out and secure your next writing gig!