So you’re a dietitian and ready to get started here in this lovely world of writing? Welcome! We need more RDs just like you to help spread accurate, evidence-based and encouraging information to the public.
A potential client asks – gulp – can I see some samples? What do you do?
Catch 22: how in the world do you create a copywriting portfolio with no experience writing?
Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. In this post, I’ll walk you through the steps to create a copywriting portfolio …even if you’ve never had a client before.
What NOT to do
First things first: a pep talk. As a registered dietitian, you are already a subject matter expert. While you may be new to writing (welcome!) you do not need to undercut your efforts in building a writing business.
You. Do. Not. Need. To. Write. For. Free.
Perhaps it is our career path that means we usually are *paying* to complete our required internship that warps our worldview, but let me be the first to tell you that you don’t need to write for free to get started.
After reading this post, you’ll know exactly how to start a portfolio of a few stellar sample pieces and land your first client. Annnd, you don’t even need to have your own website right away. Here’s how!
Write samples for Medium
Medium is a sort of public blog that looks professional and has a wide range of topics and writers. You can set up an account for free and start posting fresh new articles today!
Medium is a great place to start showcasing your work because this is far simpler than creating your own website (but that is an option, too. More on that in a moment).
You can post as often as you like on Medium. And if you get a certain level of followers, you can even develop this as a paid side hustle.
The year that I decided to become a writer ended with my first payment…a whopping one cent from Medium. But: I was officially a paid writer!
Next idea: post blogs on your own website.
Post your own blogs
As a nutrition writer, you can post blogs on your own website from two viewpoints.
- You can publish blogs that are of value to your ideal clients. As I am a copywriting mentor, this blog that you’re reading right now is of value to the exact kind of cool people I can’t wait to invite to my Blog Club.
- You can post samples of the kind of writing that your ideal client would like to hire you to write. For example, if you are interested in writing for supplement companies, post a blog that might be of interest to your dreamy, perfect client and then use it to pitch!
Posting high-quality content on your own website helps your dream clients to find you. Through the magic and science of SEO, your ideal clients will naturally find you as the answer to their business pain points. Keep on writing!
Ask a friend
Another place to start building your portfolio is to write a piece for a friend to use for their business. Even if it isn’t in your niche, a sample is a sample.
Here’s the catch: even if you’re tempted to write this for free, I’ll encourage you not to have this trade be a one-way street. If you’re not comfortable charging a friend for your writing (yet) instead ask them for feedback on your writing and an honest testimonial that you can post on your website. That way you’re still getting something to move your business forward, even if it isn’t cash.
And as soon as you get a client piece, you can start using that one. A portfolio is fluid!
Pitch guest posts
Pitching to guest post is another option to build your copywriting portfolio. You’re getting your name and writing out there while adding value to another person’s website or blog.
I recommend finding websites and blogs in your field of interest that also attract your ideal client.
For example, if you want to write for meal prep companies, look for blogs and websites in that niche and pitch.
Bonus: having links that go from other high-quality websites to your own boost your own website’s credibility online. This is called a backlink!
Write articles on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great platform to get your writing seen by people in your field, whether that be dietetics, business, or another industry.
Not only can you share articles you’ve written on other platforms, but you can also write and publish original content on LinkedIn.
Sharing your published blogs on LinkedIn not only helps with SEO (search engine optimization) but also helps your ideal audience get to know you.
And again, if you don’t have a website yet, publishing directly on LinkedIn is an easy way to get started.
Deciding to become a nutrition writer can feel bold. Even scary. Who gave you the AUDACITY to say that you’re going to write?
You don’t need my permission, but if it feels better to have it, here you go: Go get ‘em, tiger! There is so much room in this field for more amazing writers. The hardest part is getting started and sticking with it long enough to land your first few clients.
Even without experience, you can work on creating your copywriting portfolio today and move forward.
And remember: you don’t need to write for free!
Snickerdoodles, we sure didn’t learn how to write well in college. What we learned was scientific…and super boring.
If you’d like to learn easy-to-master skills to be a more effective writer, check out my course. It is made by a dietitian (me!) for dietitians (you!).