There are scads of bloggers looking for writing work, and there are lots of great writing opportunities available. Being able to react quickly and completely to these opportunities can mean the difference between landing the gig and trolling ProBlogger’s job boards for another interminable week.
Today I want to talk about how to make a clip list.
A clip list is simply a compilation of your writing samples. This clip list probably won’t appear on your formal resume. Many companies who hire freelancers don’t even ask to see a resume, but nearly all will want to see writing samples.
You might think you can just whip together a quick list every time you pursue a new opportunity. But there are important reasons why you shouldn’t approach things this way:
1. It’s inefficient to rebuild a list of writing samples every time you apply for a new job.
2. As your writing portfolio grows, it becomes more difficult to keep track of everything you’ve written, for whom, when and what about.
A clip list is a snap to prepare and having one ready to go will help you respond to freelance opportunities quickly and professionally.
Brainstorm Categories for Your Clip List
Start by jotting down a quick list of all of the subjects or categories you’ve written about: parenting, humor, tech, travel, entrepreneurship, blogging, health, crafting, food, party planning, relationships – if you’ve done, it, write it down.
Brainstorm List of Sites You’ve Written For
Scour back through your blogging and writing career and write down every site you can remember writing for. Include your own blog! If you haven’t done much freelance work yet, think of places you’ve submitted guest posts. If you’ve been syndicated at places like BlogHer or Mamapedia, be sure to include those as well. Really spend time here – it’s easy to forget all the work you’ve done. If I hadn’t spent the time doing this, I most certainly would have forgotten that I had a post published by the Microsoft Windows Experience blog, which is a great headliner clip in my technology category.
Identify Your Best Posts In Each Category
Now marry up your writing categories with the sites for which you’ve written. Come up with 3 to 5 posts in each category if you can, and try to utilize a variety of sites if possible. For example, if you’ve written about parenting for 7 different sites, try to utilize as many of those pieces as possible instead of just listing 5 posts from your personal blog. This will demonstrate that your content has wider reach.
Put It All Together
Using Microsoft Word or other word-processing software, assemble your clip list by category. Under each category, include the site on which it was published, the name of the piece, and the URL. If you’ve had work published in print publications, by all means include those as well (you won’t need to provide URL, of course) along with the date of publication.
I suggest putting the biggest site you’ve written for as your first post in a category.
Here’s a screenshot of what part of my clip list looks like. I combined my parenting and humor clips because most of my writing on parenting is humorous. Note that I’ve included links from several different sites and put Babble at the top, since that’s one of the largest sites I’ve written for.
Keep Your Clip List Updated
As you write for additional sites and gain experience, be sure to update your clip list periodically with your newest and best content. As you do this, you’ll be sure to always have a really complete list.
Now when you apply for your next freelance writing gig, you will have this at the ready. You’ll look more professional, too. Remember, it’s a competitive market out there, and looking pulled-together will give you a competitive advantage. Good luck!