New Year’s Resolutions – Milestones to Reach in the Spanish Language

New Year Resolution to improve Spanish Language
Fireworksflickr photo shared by bayasaa under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

It’s that time of year and if you’re looking to reach new heights in your efforts to perfect the Spanish language a New Year’s Resolution could be the perfect way to reach your goals. Below, I’ll outline some important considerations and suggestions for making your New Year’s Resolution.

Choose a Measureable Goal to Achieve While You Study Spanish

New Year’s Resolutions should be somewhat monumental and challenging, but also reasonable. You’ll need to make a resolution that you can break into smaller measureable chunks so that you can track your progress and keep motivated throughout the year. Some examples of great measureable goals would be:

  • Overall Resolution: Improve Spanish conversation skills
    • Chunks:
      • Find a conversation partner
      • Practice 30 minutes every week
      • Choose a new verb tense or topic each week
    • Overall Resolution: Increase Spanish vocabulary
      • Chunks:
        • Choose 3 words every Monday to learn
        • Place the words in post-it notes on your mirror
        • Use each word in 5 written sentences throughout the week

These resolutions seem broad and challenging – but by breaking each goal into chunks or steps, the goals become measureable and achievable. You’ll be able to see if you’re on track to reaching your goal because it’s easy to know if you’ve kept your promise or not. Either you conversed 30 minutes in a week or you didn’t. You chose 3 words on Monday or you didn’t. These help keep you accountable and also give you a great feeling of accomplishment when you can check off the task.

Extra Tip: Grab a buddy

One reason New Year’s Resolutions sometimes are left unfulfilled is a lack of accountability. If you don’t tell anyone about your goal, all you’ve got is your own willpower in order to succeed. However, if you spread the word or better yet, get someone to team up and do your resolution with you, you’ll be more likely to succeed. Just having someone who asks you about your progress can be helpful. However, getting someone to walk alongside you and complete each step with you is even better as you’ll both become more invested in reaching the goal.

Extra Tip: Give Yourself Some Incentive to Study Spanish

Consider adding some incentive for yourself when you reach your goal by planning a trip or big Spanish party to finish off 2016. You could host a Spanish language party complete with Spanish music or movies and food. Or you could plan a trip to a Spanish speaking country! Either of these ideas would give you a great way to practice your Spanish skills obtained throughout the year. By having something to look forward to and plan for towards the end of the year, you’ll increase your motivation to reach your Spanish language goals.

The possibilities for reaching new goals in Spanish as a New Year’s Resolution are endless. Perfect your use of the tenses, read novels in Spanish, write your own autobiography in Spanish using the imperfect and preterit tenses, watch and understand the news in Spanish; all of these are great ideas to give your Spanish language skills a push this year.

What is your Spanish New Year’s Resolution?

 

Inbound Marketing- what is it?

Throughout time, particularly with the immense technology development, business holders have changed their traditional marketing tactics. What used to be TV advertising, e-mail subscribing or phone marketing, is now online marketing with the purpose of creating quality content that naturally attracts people to your company or product. That way, inbound refers to the creation of content and sharing it with the world. By creating relevant and wise, inbound attracts people to your business, and even makes them coming back for more, converting them into your lasting customers. Overall, it is about creating something that your customers will love, thus creating customers from strangers that will later on develop into your business promoters. To be successful, inbound companies or individuals must take four actions: attract, convert, close, delight.

Inbound marketing steps:

1. Attract. Think about your target group. Who do you want to attract and why them? Make your customers your buyer personas, that encompass the goals and challenges, as well as personal information shared between them. This, attracting is about making yourself visible and worthy. Blogging, social media marketing, company websites, SEO are some of the most important tools to get the right customers.

2. Convert. Having previously attracted your customers, converting them into leads is the next step. This is done by gathering their contact information that they would want to give willingly. To do so, you provide them with information interesting for them. Once you get their attention, you need a simple form they would fill in, calls-to-action, webpages that the previous calls-to-action lead, and finally maintenance of all that incoming information.

3. Close. Until now, you’ve turned your visitors into leads. Now, it’s time to convert them into customers. Some certain specific tools proven to be successful include CRM, e-mail and marketing automation. Customer Relationship Management is about managing the contact information thus obtaining the right information they want to have. E-mails are mainly used for the visitors who have become leads but it takes time to attract them and convert them into customers. Show them you care about them, contact them and make them ready to buy. And marketing automation is about making interested candidates even more interested, by sending them more content of their interest or leading them into different interests.

4. Delight. This is the final step where you make your customers your promoters. Don’t forget your existing customers in your search for others. Delight them and give them a good reason to buy again. This is mainly done by reflecting their experience and needs. Make a survey, and get them thinking about what they want, present them with a tailored content just for them, do social monitoring and answer their questions, clear their doubts and keep contact with them.

Thus, inbound marketing empowers visitors to become not only customers, but promoters of your business. It is not a particular tool or action, it is a long-lasting and never-ending process that happens with experience. It is about content and context. By having the right content published at the right place and time, marketing will become something your visitors will love and look for more.

Professional Development While Working at Home

Professional Development While Working at Home
Studying flickr photo shared by mer chau under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

While working at home can have its advantages such as flexibility and no commuting, it also means that you won’t have easy access to professional development resources and workshops that may be offered at some companies. In any case, professional development is an important part of any career, and finding a way to incorporate training into your schedule while working at home is a wise idea. There are many ways to do this. Although some things you can do on the fly while trying out a new type of work, you can also learn new skills more intentionally. This will help you keep ahead in your industry and be competitive.

Here are some great ways to keep up to date in your professional development while working at home:

Online Courses: One of the great resources in this day and age is the internet. You can learn just about anything online. The only problem is this often involves sifting through scams and not so trustworthy sources of information. Coursera is a great site that can help you avoid the task of sifting through the chaff. This site offers FREE online courses through universities across the globe. Courses are offered in a wide array of subject matter and even in different languages. Coursera is a gem – offering knowledge and a wonderful resource in a learning community. The courses do require time, so be ready to make an investment when you sign up in order to reap the benefits offered by completing the course.

Research: An alternative to taking an actual online course is to keep up to date with trends in your industry on your own. Following reputable blogs and industry leaders’ websites can help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date. For writers, following sites such as dictionary.com provide interesting information that will keep your writing tip-top. The site offers a word of the day and blogs that clarify common grammar mistakes and word mix-ups. Finding a site like this to keep you on your toes for the industry you work in will ensure that you are continually learning and improving as a professional.

Nearby Universities: Of course for those of us who work at home, it may get monotonous to include our professional development online as most work at home is also done on the computer and online. If you’re looking for an inspiring break, interaction with others and professional development all wrapped up in one, consider looking into nearby universities and local training services. There are often community courses available as well. Depending on where you are, prices may be quite reasonable. If money is an issue, consider asking the professor leading the course if you can simply “sit” the course, meaning that you will complete assignments and attend lectures, but not receive official accreditation for completing the course. Depending on your professional goals, this can be a very reasonable alternative that will give you all the knowledge, but keep your finances in order.

Remember, just because you work at home doesn’t mean that you can sit back and relax as the work flows in and out. Continue to develop yourself professionally and try to improve your knowledge base and skills every day.

Do you have any other tips?

Writing a Report in Spanish and giving it a title

Do you need to write a report in Spanish? What is first the report or the title?

Choosing a title of your Spanish report may sound as one’s funeral, but do not worry. This post is meant to help you, with specific guidelines, do the right choice and do not feel the pain. Thus, practicing, asking questions of relevance, presenting your own idea of a certain topic, and sticking to writing rules are key factors in the process of choosing the title of your Spanish report.

Primarily, to get skilled at academic writing, you should first practice it. And, believe it or not, free writing helps a lot. Take a pen and paper and start writing for 2 minutes without stopping. You might not have a topic, a flow of thoughts, or even an opinion, but writing without stopping will teach you in time, how to stick to a thought and effectively work with word choice. After you have mastered this, you can decide to write just a paragraph about a certain topic, then a page etc, moving on to a report.

An essential clue is, ask yourself questions. Think thoroughly about the audience, as they are determiners of the success of both your title and the content. Who is reading your report? Do they have some previous knowledge on the topic? Do they want to be entertained or rather acquire specific scientific knowledge? How do you want them to feel when reading your report? One certain thing is that your audience will be Spanish-speaking, so you would have to make sure that your writing is correct and in accordance to the Spanish grammatical system.

To make this clearer and less general, let’s say your Spanish professor asks you to write a report on the left-wing political party in Spain, PODEMOS, and that is the only instruction you have. These instructions, of course, are too general and a title as The Political Party PODEMOS in Spain will only make you fail the course. Thus, let’s narrow it down. The more specific you get, the more successful it would be. Who is your audience? Your professor. Does he have some knowledge about the topic? Well, we hope so, otherwise he would not have suggested it. Therefore, in your report, you should not spend too many precious words of explaining what PODEMOS is. It is essential, but make it short. Does your professor want to be entertained or get a scientific knowledge about it? Well, it is obvious that he/she wants a scientific knowledge, but who doesn’t want to be entertained either?

In order to continue with questions and answers, you need to investigate the topic and find something of your interest. If it is boring for you, it cannot result in an interesting report. Next, during your research, you found out that PODEMOS issued a collaboratively written program for the European Elections 2014. You are getting more specific. But not enough. The program for the European Elections 2014 by PODEMOS is still not a good title. Investigate the policies, pick one and bingo! You are getting really specific. Let’s say that maintaining abortion rights caught your attention. Now, we are almost done. How did you feel when investigating on this? Are you defending it or against it? It is essential that you include your idea, your own opinion about a specific topic. But, a title as “Abortion is a murder”, as suggested in policy no.12 in the Program for the European Elections 2104 by PODEMOS tends to be quite a good title in terms of detail, but bad in terms of politically correct wording and attitude. Even if you are passionate about a topic, keep it to yourself. An academic report means that you will argumentatively introduce your idea on something, without emotional exaggerations. You want your professor to feel that he/she is discovering new way of thinking that might even influence his/hers. Therefore, think about your idea and make it sound good. Euphemisms are a good way to do that. Avoiding to use emotionally colored words as “kill” is also a good way. Try to use numbers, clues, citations, facts, reliable websources as suggested in the previous post etc.

Lastly, you may have a strong opinion about abortion in this case, but, throughout your research, you may find strong arguments against is as well. You might even change fully your opinion. Reports are dangerous, they make you read thoroughly, they will get you into thinking, and they might change what you have always thought to be your opinion. Therefore, be ready that the title is the most relative and most modified aspect of your report, it will fully be defined only after you have finished writing.

Last but not least, after you have finished with the semantic side of your report, make sure you introduce linking words in Spanish, that you have structured it well, and that it makes you happy at the end. The best advice I have got over choosing a title and writing a report is “Sleep it over. Write a paragraph, go cycling, take a shower, write the introduction of the second paragraph and leave it. Next day, you might find your writing non-argumentative, you might correct it all, or make it more profound. Then go out for a coffee”. So, what title did YOU come up with of the previously elaborated topic?

And of course, once you have it finished you can hire a native Spanish speaker to proofread it.

 

Why you should hire a Spanish freelance writer

need a Spanish text? dont ask your friend respect the language
Wedding Favor – Jose and Roxanne flickr photo shared by Jose and Roxanne under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

It’s tempting. You need some Spanish content written for a brochure, advertisement or even a quick article. So you think, “Why not ask my colleague, José, to do it? He’s from Spain” Or even worse, “Maybe Steve could do it; he spent a semester in Barcelona”. They’re right there in the office, easy to ask and easy to wrap into helping you out. However, you’d be much better off hiring a Spanish freelance writer.

Why hiring a Spanish freelance copywriter is better idea than using your in house Spanish speaker

Expertise writing in Spanish:

Hiring a reputable Spanish freelance copywriter will save you headaches. A Spanish freelance writer has experience writing professionally and may have also completed studies related to writing. In addition:

  • They dominate the Spanish language You won’t run into grammar or spelling mistakes that could make the content you’d like written seem unprofessional. They’ll create original content that is readable and fluent. So many websites and Spanish resources are bad translations of content that was originally written in English. By hiring a skilled Spanish writer, you’ll avoid this problem. It’s unlikely that you’ll get this level of expertise from your colleagues. Beware especially of the non-native Spanish speaker. Although they might have near-native levels, they are likely to make some small mistakes that your native-speaking audience will definitely pick up on.
  • Your freelancer will also be able to assist you in areas such as use of keywords for improved search engine optimization. This is now standard for most freelance writers and essential for assuring your content is seen by your intended audience. With their expertise, a freelancer can also help with additional tasks such as suggesting topics for blogs and articles, providing images (or help you find someone who can) or proofreading work.
  • All of these characteristics add up to a professional, meaning you’ll have much more support than you would from your colleagues. This is not to say that your colleagues couldn’t do it – it’s just that in most cases, their forte is not writing content in Spanish. Hiring someone experienced in writing will give you high-quality, interesting content.

Convenience:

Although your nearby Spanish-speaking colleague is hard to beat for convenience; with the internet, you won’t even have to leave your desk to hire a Spanish-speaking freelancer. Through websites such as Upwork, Writtent, etc., freelancers are easier to find than ever before. Many sites even help you sort through your prospective Spanish freelance writers by providing quality ratings. This will give you assurance that your freelance writer produces excellent work.

Dedication:

Your colleague may do the job in interest of maintaining a pleasant working relationship – but with pressure to complete day to day responsibilities, it’s unlikely he’ll give it the priority and dedication the project deserves. A Spanish freelance writer is highly motivated to treat your project carefully. This means he/she will even help you with a revision or two when necessary and turn in quality work so as to ensure that you will consider hiring him/her again.

 

How to use the “Four Ps” approach for copy writing

In order to not only attract by advertising, but also call your potential clients to action, writing is the core tool. If that is done without structure and coherence, there would be no understanding. The purpose of advertising is to sell a product or service. As there are numerous products and services offered nowadays, one needs a powerful and compelling copy in order to advertise successfully. For that reason, there are several written communication frameworks. One of the most popular has proven to be the Four Ps approach.

The four Ps of copywriting, stand for promise, picture, proof and push.

  1. Promise

The role of the promise is to catch attention the right way. How many times have we seen and ignored advertisements? That is because of either clichés, unnecessary information or failed attempts to promote the right thing the right way. A beneficial promise is made with a headline, the most important part, as if you do not attract your reader with your headline, you lost them already. Tell them you’re your product is going to do for them and how it will improve their lives in a few words. Quite demanding, isn’t it?

  1. Picture

As the name suggests, you have the role of a painter painting a picture for your client. The picture should be as specific as possible, and your point is to get your reader on an emotional level. Use descriptive language and storytelling, and make them dream about enjoying the benefit of what you are suggesting or promoting. All of us decide to buy based on emotion, and picture is all about catching the right emotion and lead it to the path of acceptance.

  1. Proof

Now it’s time for serious action. You got your reader’s attention, you communicated their emotion, and now you need to back up your promise with proof. Statistics, graphs, testimonials, case studies and other compelling data that will demonstrate that the promised benefits will be truly delivered. Now the focus is not just the emotional level, but is shifting to the rational, and that is the reason why the readers should reach full acceptance of your message.

  1. Push

This is the final element that makes action more likely, delivering an exceptional offer. Push is about the realization of your reader of the sense of your idea and their decision to act and buy. Now you are connecting the beneficial promise and the picture to acceptance and a particular action. Explain once again and in more detail, why your reader should do what you are asking. Your target should be fully understood and make sure that you also understand that your readers have understood. If you are still not completely sure, use bonuses, discounts and special offers as your last chance.

Having all the information they need, your readers are now motivated to take action. They have understood your message and have accepted your offer for a high-quality product. Many times people need to be presented to understand, to be educated in a friendly way by a compelling structure in order to see the things you see in your offer.