If you are a blogger, consider yourself patted on the back by Anne Holland, Content Director of MarketingSherpa. She encourages bloggers in the May 12 newsletter (see #9) thusly:

“Starting a blog is easy. Keeping the blog going for more than a few months is hard. If you are one of the relatively few, the proud, the multi-year bloggers, you should give yourself a gold medal for sustained effort above most people’s capacities.”

She goes on to give tips for improving blog results, and I found #4 interesting: “Use keyword analysis to inspire more posts.” So of course I checked my own stats, and found that some people had found their way to my site by searching “writing samples” or “how to write writing samples.” It’s true I have a category called “writing samples,” intended to show different things I have written. But I haven’t given advice on advice on choosing a sample – until now. Here goes.

Tips for showing your writing samples:

  1. Consider what you want the sample to show and be sure the sample does so. For instance, you might want to pick a complicated topic and show how you turned it into an easy read with logical flow. Or you might want it to show how you organize and express your thoughts. Make sure it gives people a feel for how you can convey ideas or details.
  2. Pick things you’ve done for different clients and different purposes. In my case, I included an employee newsletter article, a profile of a person and a case study, all pieces I enjoy writing.
  3. Don’t fall in love with your own writing, but don’t be shy to include a sample that you particularly like. I’m fond of my profile of judge Stanley Grizzle because he was such an interesting man. And lest you mispronounce his name, as I did, you should know that it makes him sizzle if you rhyme it “Grizzle.” It’s “GrizZELL.”
  4. If a client is particularly happy with a piece of writing, think about choosing it.
  5. Ask permission.
  6. Make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. If one slips through and someone tells you about it, fix it!

Any other ideas?