Earlier this week, sister blog 10,000 Words wrote about a brand-new site that allows journalists to easily gather their clips in one place without any fuss, without having to know the first thing about coding, and without any design knowledge.
I got an invite code to check Pressfolios out (it’s currently in closed beta, but co-founder Marc Samson tells me that people aren’t having to wait too long to get their invite codes).
Here’s how it works (with help from Pressfolios’ own Tumblr).
After signing up, you can add stories simply by pasting their URLs into the site.
The site automatically determines the headline, news outlet, and image associated with the story. Ok, sometimes it gets the news outlet wrong. But it takes about five seconds to manually edit it. It also seemed to get the wrong photo or no photo for most of the stories I uploaded. But changing the photo is surprisingly easy–I did it in about three clicks without leaving the site. (I imagined I’d have to click on the article, download the image to my hard drive, and re-upload it to Pressfolios. Luckily, this isn’t the case.)
The site doesn’t yet get the date from the story, which is unfortunate, because it has to be manually entered each time. I assume this is on Pressfolio’s punch list of things to fix before the site goes into open beta.
Once you’ve added a few stories you can arrange them:
And you can tag them, which will create separate tabs on your main Portfolio page. You can also create an About page (which is also showing its beta-ness in that some of the fields that you can fill in on your profile don’t actually display anywhere on the public-facing site).
Here’s what it looks like when you’re done:
If you’re logged in, you can also download a PDF of each clip from your Dashboard, a handy option.
So here’s what the site can’t do yet. It can’t batch-import clips. Freelance marketplace Contently, believe it or not, will find what it thinks are all of your clips from a given site in one go. (Contently’s mission is not to provide journalist portfolios–that’s just a side benefit of membership there–so it may not be surprising that for now, the visual appeal of Contently’s portfolios is a bit lacking.)
You also can’t change the layout of the portfolio. Everyone’s looks the same: square images, white background, etc. It doesn’t hurt that this is an attractive look, but design is one of the improvements Samson notes his company is working on. I’d like to see an array of pre-designed templates for users to choose from, as well as the option to change the colors of said templates. Best might be something that presented more text–though humans are a visual species, I suspect editors really do want to read a prospective journalist’s clips, not just look at how pretty they are.
So, okay, Pressfolios is clearly still a beta product.
BUT. With all that said. The old way of making a portfolio site sucked. Either you just pasted text links, as do most of my freelance colleagues, or you had to manually cut and paste headlines, blurbs, links, and possibly images. I’m not gonna lie. It didn’t take forever, even if you knew no HTML. But it wasn’t fun either.
If Pressfolios rockets out of beta with these minor issues fixed, it might not change the world. But it will make a lot of journalists’ lives easier. And isn’t that good enough?
Pressfolios is currently free; once out of beta, the core features will remain free, Samson says. Go sign up for an invite code and try it out for yourself.