Author Archives: Philippa Willitts

British freelance writer and proofreader.

Speaking on Podcasts About Disability Issues

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In recent weeks, I have appeared on two disability-related radio shows.

Firstly, I spoke on Contact, a Canadian radio show, about an article I wrote on the weird phenomenon of non-disabled people telling disabled people we’d be better off dead.

Then, last week, I appeared on the Disability Now podcast, The Download, with four other disability rights activists. We talked about the upcoming General Election and what the parties have to offer disabled voters; we talked about accessible housing; and we talked about the representation of disabled people on TV.

I thoroughly enjoyed both of these experience. My podcast experience with A Little Bird Told Me gave me confidence, and my knowledge of disability issues and current affairs meant I felt happy talking on all the subjects that arose.

 

5 Common Mistakes This Proofreader Sees on CVs and Resumes

5 Common Mistakes This Proofreader

When applying for a job, it is vital to make a good impression. Most openings have many applicants, so you need to stand out from the crowd.

I proofread a lot of CVs, resumes and covering letters and, because I have hired staff, I also know what employers want to see. Here are some top tips to make sure your job applications stand out for the right reasons!

  1. Avoid spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. It is really hard to proofread your own work – your brain reads what it thinks you wrote, rather than what you actually wrote. Having somebody else (e.g. me!!) proofread your work can help to make sure you don’t send out your job application documents with any embarrassing typos.
  2. Think about the length of your documents and, where possible, shrink them down. Prospective employers don’t have the time or the inclination to scan eight pages of your work experience, however fascinating it may be.
  3. Make your application specific to the post. This can be difficult when you are applying for lots of jobs, but being too general can lead employers to believe that you are not specialised enough for a position. If you are applying for jobs in different industries, have two or three CVs prepared so that you can send the most suitable one in each case.
  4. Show, don’t tell. If you want to demonstrate that you have great leadership skills, talk about an occasion when you led a team successfully. Just saying ‘I have great leadership skills’ doesn’t tell the employer very much at all.
  5. Avoid big blocks of text. Breaking up the information on your CV with bullet points, headings and white space makes it much easier to digest.

Above all, be yourself, and share your best self.

If you need help with CV or job application proofreading, please get in touch. I would be happy to help.

Create a New WordPress User Account for your Freelancers

How to Add a New User in WordPress

 

When I create content for clients, I offer to provide that content to them in the way that suits them best. Sometimes, that is a Microsoft Word or Open Office file or a Google Doc, and other times I add the content directly to their website’s CMS; this is usually WordPress, but sometimes it’s Movable Type, Blogger or something else.

On WordPress in particular, it is betrer for the client to create a new user account for me than it is to just give me their login details. Specifically, this is a good practice for the client’s own security.

Recently, I was doing some work for a client who was not very confident with the tech side of things, so I made this video to demonstrate how to go about adding a new user to WordPress. This comes up a lot, so I figured it made sense to share it here, on the website, too.

This post originally appeared on my tech, SEO and social media writing site.

Escape from Content Mills: Tell Me What YOU Need to Know!

So many freelance writers feel trapped in the under-paying, soul-destroying ‘race to the bottom’ freelancing sites and content mills.

I have escaped from that depressing hole, and I want to help other writers to do the same! But to do so really effectively, I need to know what the barriers are that you face so that I can guide you to smash them and thrive with your own, private clients!

What are the obstacles that trip you up when you try to escape from the content mill trap? Do me a favour and fill out this survey. You can also use it to sign up to the email list that I have set up for this purpose, specifically. And, if you have friends or colleagues in a similar situation, please pass it on, too.

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Run, Don’t Walk, Away From Content Mills: Secret Sneak Peak!

One of the questions I get asked the most by fellow freelancers is how they can escape from writing for mass freelancing sites with low pay and a ‘race to the bottom’ mentality.

The fact is that even if all your current work is underpaid and undervalued, even if you are doing some kind of ad-based revenue share that earns you 22 cents for an article you spent three hours writing, even if you are currently producing work that you know is under par because you need to write four articles an hour to break even, and even if you have never had a private client of your own, it is possible to escape from the content mill, but it takes some focused work to get your foot in the door.

It *is* possible for freelancers to escape the content mill trap!

I have an upcoming, exciting project that will help you to drop those exploitative sites and create your own income and I don’t want you to miss out on this incredible opportunity. If you are interested in learning how to make more money as a freelancer, how to find potential clients that could be a great fit, how to approach them, and how to seal the deal, leave your first name and email address below.

I want to know how to escape low-paying freelance writing work!

* indicates required


I look forward to hearing from you!

Keyword Stuffing, Video Style

Thanks to this post from Convince and Convert, I’ve discovered a video that made me laugh like a drain.

If you ever wondered what the outdated practice of keyword stuffing would look like in video form, Mike can show you here and now.

I get the distinct impression that he buys golf clubs. Legend.

Book Recommendation: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month

Bookshelf

Bookshelf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may remember Mridu Khullar Relph who I interviewed on the podcast recently. Well, she’s written a book. And it’s really good.

Full disclosure: Mridu and I are friends and she gave me a free copy of the book. However, if I thought it was terrible I would simply have never mentioned it again. Instead, having read it and been inspired, I actually can’t recommend it highly enough.

Firstly, her credentials. Mridu has years of experience in journalism and counts the New York Times and TIME amongst her credits; this shows in her writing. The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month is packed full of tips to get more work and improve your income and these tips are not vague, they are specific, with clear instructions.

So, when Mridu recommends pitching magazine editors, she links to 21 pitch emails she has sent that resulted in a commission. When she talks of Letters of Introduction, she shares the one she uses. So much of the professional advice we see consists of gems like ‘make more connections’ or ‘raise your prices’, whereas, in this book, Mridu tells you exactly how to do the things she advises, step by step.

And all for under three quid!

The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month is aimed at freelancers with some experience who want to improve their fees or up their game, however anyone from a complete newbie to a highly experienced writer is bound to pick up numerous tips that can help them to improve their success rate and earning potential.

Tips that you can go away and do, right away.

And this is the real genius of the book – the fluff has been stripped away and what is left is pure freelancing gold.

You can get The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month by Mridu Khullar Relph on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Sometimes you just need to hear something nice

I read Show Your Work by Austin Kleon a few months ago but, despite my best intentions, I keep forgetting to actually show my work. I set up a Pinterest board for the purpose but it’s sparse, to say the least.

So today, as I was designing a flyer for my proofreading services, I remembered the concept and decided to show my work on Twitter.

I was really pleased, then, to get the following tweets from a former proofreading client in response.

I really like proofreading. I know a lot of freelance writers do it just because it’s an extra skill they can offer, but they don’t really value it much. However, I thoroughly enjoy having the opportunity to fix things and improve somebody’s chances, so it’s absolutely lovely when I hear back from clients that what I did could have made a difference.

 

Podcast Episode 79: Turn a drawback into a strength and boost your freelance career – an interview with Mridu Khullar Relph

"If you can put together two paragraphs, you can put together a pitch that sells" - Mridu Khullar RelphMany freelancers are in a situation that could work against them in the commercial or media market. Combining freelancing with caring responsibilities, living in a part of the world that has a poor reputation for the quality of its writers, or having health problems or being disabled (as I am), for example. In this episode of the podcast, I interview Mridu Khullar Relph, a freelance writer who has written for the likes of the New York Times, Time magazine, Ms magazine and more, and we discuss how you can turn something that is arguably a disadvantage into something that is undeniably a strength!

Apologies for the inconsistent sound quality in parts of this interview. However, it’s well worth tolerating it for the great content!

Show notes

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I was interviewed on the @CherishedIdeas podcast: freelancing, pricing and marketing yourself

Often, I find, my most creative thinking has to come in my work that involves the most boring topics

“Often, I find, my most creative thinking has to come in my work that involves the most boring topics” – Philippa Willitts

 

Listen to @PhilippaWrites talk to @CherishedIdeas about freelancing: 

A couple of months ago, I was really excited to get an interview request from the then-new Cherished Ideas podcast. It is a podcast for freelancers of all stripes and I chatted to Simon Knapp all about freelancing, how to make it work, how to stay up to date, and plenty more.

“Often, I find, my most creative thinking has to come in my work that involves the most boring topics”

Have a listen below, enjoy, and let me know what you think!

“Guest blogging doesn’t have to be for free. I guest blog and I get paid for it”

You can listen to other episodes of the Cherished Ideas podcast here.