Posts in Business
Why Blogs Are Still Important in 2017
tinyimage.jpg

Hello everyone! I'm so happy it's the weekend because on Monday, I'm driving to Milan for the Salone del Mobile and to attend other design-related events, cocktail parties, and installations. Not a bad job. This will be my first time visiting Italy so I'm very excited. Before I hit the road though, I've been thinking a lot about blogging and the way content creators are reaching all of you, the loyal audience. I've been considering how we work with brands, what we do to get our work out there to expand, or at least become better at what we do. I've been thinking about whether blogs are still important.

images-interior-design-900x600-.jpg

This post is sponsored by

I'm asked frequently how I see the future of blogging and if having a blog is relevant with all of the micro blogging platforms and visual content creators out there using platforms like Instagram to grow their brand.

ARE BLOGS STILL IMPORTANT?

Yes.

Here's why. Blogging has evolved but it has a future just as much as a website and email account both have a future, despite being around forever.

REMEMBER YOUR FIRST EMAIL ACCOUNT?

I created my first email account at Northeastern University in a lab there in 1995 during a marketing class. (Back when marketing classes didn't even use words like Social Media because none of that existed.)

Do we still use and need email so many years later? Of course. As much? Well, maybe not as much because we can Whatsapp, Snapchat, SMS, or Tweet without sending an email, sure. But email is primarily how we conduct a bulk of our business, especially professionals who have more to say than what can fit into a text message.

That email account was my entry point to the world and I'll never forget it. When I started blogging in 2006, it was my next big entry point into the online world. It was when I wasn't just talking to people in email or on forums, but was opening myself up to everyone who potentially visited my site and read my words. It was both exhilarating and terrifying.

Blogging is NO different than having email or a website. It may not be the ONLY way that we can transfer our ideas and opinions to the world, but it's still how we can present our work in the most personalized and creative way. And the best part is, it's our own content and we run the show.

A car isn't the only way we move from point to point. Neither is a train, a boat, bike, a plane or a skateboard. They are all ways to transport ourselves. We had to expect that communicating online would evolve, yet some things don't need to be reinvented. Like a blog and back to my earlier example, let's think about the car. It has, and still will continue, to evolve but it doesn't need to be replaced with a totally new way to move around on land.

Blogs are the same. They are evolving and certainly becoming much more robust, beautiful, user-friendly and savvy but they do not need to be replaced by something totally new because blogs, as a communication channel, work.

YOUR BASE

To me, a blog is the foundation to everything else that you're doing virtually. You can have Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. but your blog -- well that's YOUR base. Everything links from it. You can be found on search engines. You can use it to showcase your work, tell a story, share videos, podcasts and all sorts of media... It's robust. You can be super creative with it, from how you format your posts to how you lay out your images, write, or design your blog in general.

Blogging combines your visual content with your voice. It's where you can communicate with your readers for years and content is archived and can be found again (unlike Facebook content, where you have a great conversation going and a month later, can never find it again).

YOU CAN CREATE A SUBSCRIBER LIST

Also, people enjoy getting emails from brands and people whom they trust, and your blog is where you can still have a subscriber list. These mailing lists are so important because you can reach out personally to people who are asking you to. There are no strange algorithms where only a few people can see your content or worse, it shows up in the wrong order. When you send an email to your mailing list, it reaches your subscribers, period. That is invaluable. By the way, sharing how to grow your mailing list that is just brilliant.

REVENUE SOURCE

A blog is also a great space to create content that you can sell. Whether it's a sponsored or underwritten post, a sponsored video series, e-books you've created, other downloadable content for sale, products, services... It's a terrific space to get it out there and to reach your readers. You can also have your blog link from your website where your portfolio or shop is. It's better for a reader to get lost on your website than to get lost on Instagram or Facebook, because there, you just lose them to the millions of distractions in their feed.

Your blog is the best way to generate revenue YOUR WAY, because you have total control over how you will present it. You set all of the rules.

LONG FORM CONTENT

Blogs give us the ability to write long form content, like this piece, and I love it! Everything is so quick and fast-paced elsewhere, you don't really read anymore as a result. We scan. I've noticed when I read less, I don't write as well and I stop learning. Even how I speak changes. My sentences are choppy and short. I'm so busy swiping on my iPhone all day that I sometimes forget how to express myself verbally, how to present clearly how I feel.

Thing is, seeing and scanning content all day isn't necessarily making us smarter, more emotionally intelligent or creating genuine intimacy or connection between people. Reading does that. Your blog is where you can educate, share, connect and produce more longer form content that reaches others in meaningful ways.

While a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, I can't really say the content I see on largely visual social platforms of buddha bowls and cute shoes so moving emotionally as a thousand words might be. Let's face it, a lot of the content we absorb in a day isn't the stuff made of a thousand words.

Of course, you can find and follow the true photographers creating visual poetry out there and get enormously inspired. However, in all honesty, most of what I'm seeing in my various feeds contain a lot heavily edited glimpses into people's lives and on sites like Facebook where photos and brief thoughts are posted together, they usually center on the negative - political views and all of the horrible things happening in the world from pollution to crime and racism, and it overwhelms me. I am unfriending or hiding feeds more and more than engaging in meaningful conversations.

I love Instagram and use it multiple times a day in addition to my blog, but "in addition to". I want the best of both worlds, so I keep my blog while also focusing on my Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and my latest obsession, my LinkedIn account.

When it comes to longer form content, a lot of what is shared on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest is linked back to the longer form content on a blog anyway (or a website). Have you noticed this? These sites are linked back somewhere and usually it's to a website or blog. If you have a blog, you are part of that content still and that is GOOD.

TRUSTWORTHY CONTENT SOURCE

Now more than ever, people are looking for trusted new sources of information. Content providers, through their blogs, have the chance to really meet that need and deliver content in a truthful, trustworthy way that is also fun and can make an impact.

When it comes to a blog, since so many content creators are also using platforms where visual content is king, let's make blogs the space where educational and inspirational content lives. The space that touches hearts and where hope and guidance can sit. Real discussions on blogs may not take place in the same way as they did before, but on a blog you are still the author. You can write what matters to you. Many people are dying to read something heartfelt from you, I'm sure.

The writers, educators and those looking to go deeper with their audience will stay on board with blogs. Those who want to work more visually, or only visually, will move on to the other platforms suitable to the type of content they want to build. Some use a car, others a bicycle, walk or skateboard to work. In the end, we use what suits us best. The beauty of the internet is that there is something for everyone.

I'm a writer at heart and so using my blog regularly is a form of exercise for me. It helps me to become better at expressing myself. My blog gives me freedom and space to be uniquely me. I can express myself openly and no one can remove a post or edit my work. While other platforms make me better at creating stronger visual content, and I love and use those platforms daily, blogging is THE space where a writer goes to write stuff. That's ultimately why blogging works for me and will for many years to come. This is why I think blogging is still important: If what you have to say matters, so does your blog, use it and say those things.

What are your thoughts on this topic? I'd love to hear what you think below.

xo

Holly

This post was sponsored by , a platform for building beautiful blogs and websites. You can try Squarespace free for 14 days! Subscribe today and use code for 10% off your first purchase.

Meet Me In Paris On March 24th: Décors de Fêtes

Hello dear readers and friends! The book and I wrote, , will soon have its official launch party in Paris! I am over the moon to announce this special event on March 24th from 7-9 pm where I will be making a special appearance in Paris at the beautiful shop of to celebrate  published by .

SC_coneanddressblogpost.jpg

If you would like to attend the book party, and RSVPing since the party is after store hours and we need a headcount for drinks and snacks. Or, you can email your name to [email protected] Also, if you attend the party, the first 10 people to buy the book will get two very special gifts from me. :)

cover_decorsdefetes.jpg

I am very excited because I've never been to France to meet fellow bloggers and friends of cattledogs there at an official party. I can't believe it, especially since I've been to Paris so many times in my life! This is why I decided to take this trip and go there to just see who shows up to say hello. I want to meet friends and fans and see some of my blogging peers, too.

It's the same week of my birthday, so I've decided to make a special weekend out of it so I'm staying in a nice hotel and treating myself to a spa treatment there too. A book party, a nice hotel, walking around Paris with my camera in the Spring, it's not such a bad idea! In fact, if you have ANY inspiring suggestions on what I should do on March 25th for the day (or evening) or the morning of Sunday March 26th, please list them in the comments section below because I'll be roaming the city on the look out for inspiring things to do and see in addition to  and e of course!

SC_candypattern_blogpost.jpg
SC_garlandclosup_blogpost.jpg
SC_candykebabs_blogpost.jpg

By the way, if you missed our book trailer, here it is... This is for the English version, , but the content is the same as the French edition.

[embed]https://vimeo.com/180285070[/embed]

Video Credits: Videographer + Director: Koen Folkerts,  // Creative Direction + Styling: Holly Becker // Location: , Hannover, Germany Models: Emma Pedersen, Nora Hartmann, Nanna Eriksen // Music: By Film Composer - Isle (Licensed through )

backimage_decorsdefetes.jpg

See you March 24th, Paris!!!!!

Love, Holly x

(Photos: Leslie Shewring for Decorate For a Party)

DIY Website in 6 Steps With Squarespace

I've been collaborating with for years, in fact I remember when they were in beta and we spoke about their exciting new website in 2006. Here I am, 11 years later, and I'm still a fan of their site and what they do. But what exactly DO they do, you may wonder? Well, it's simple. If you don't have thousands to spend on a website but you want it to look expensive and gorgeous, you can shop Squarespace for everything from a domain name to a website template and even a logo for your site. It's easy to pull your entire website together in a day (maybe more if you are a perfectionist like I am). BUT you COULD DIY your own website in 6-8 hours. Today dear readers, I'm going to walk you through how to create a Squarespace website in 6 Easy Steps. Ready?

1. DOMAIN. Visit and if you don't already have a domain name, search for one to see if what you want is available. You can search at the top of the main page on the site. Need to learn more about domains? Then . If the domain you want is not available, they will suggest a list of alternatives. If you don't need a custom domain name and just want to use the preassigned name from Squarespace or you ALREADY have a domain name and want to use that, no problem because Squarespace now offers . Move to the next step.

squarespaceUrbanCowboy.jpg

2. TEMPLATE. From the main page click on the button far right that says GET STARTED which will bring you to the . There are many categories along the left sidebar for you to peruse. This step will be where you will spend the most time, because there are many to browse and I'm guessing you will have a few that you won't be able to decide on in the end. This is where you need to call in a friend OR just close your eyes and pick. Don't try too hard to have the perfect template right now, as Squarespace puts it, "Pick your template based on how close it is to your ideal website, but don't worry about an exact match. Your pages, content, fonts, colors, and more can be changed after you sign up." You may want to write that down so you know what you're looking for. Big photos, page, about page, portfolio, shop, or something else? List it and then look.

templatespagess.jpg

3. SIGN UP AND START CREATING. After you find the template (for instance I love the and this is one I want to work with for my new website) click on the button in the upper right hand corner when you are viewing the template that says, "Start With This Design". Then complete the short form and click on "Sign Up + Create Site". Next you will be asked some questions like, "What is your site for?", "What is the website about?", "What are your goals for this site?", and then you are prompted to fill in the site title.

steps.jpg

4. PERSONALIZE. Next, your "new" site will open and this is where you can personalize everything for your own custom website. Along the bottom of the site, you will see a black bar alerting you that you have a free 14 day trial. If you want to actually go beyond that and purchase a package, you can use code DECOR8 for 10% off your first purchase. Okay, so now it's time to get to work. This is the other step in this 6 step process that will take you the longest but if you are clear as to what you want and work quickly, it may be quite quick. I know what I want so I'm willing to guess this will be a fast step for me. Fast as in, 8 hours max. Trust me, to build and launch a website, that's lightening speed.

cattledogspageinprocess.jpg

5. ADD LOGO + IMAGES. Upload or create , add your own to the "gallery" on your site, customize and tweak until you have exactly what you need and like. It's best to have a folder on your computer that you title "Squarespace" or something so you can drop ALL of the files you put on your Squarespace site in that folder first and then drag and drop. I really like to be organized when working on projects so I have folders for everything.

6. SPELLCHECK, EDIT, GO LIVE. With the design in place and ready to go, edit all of your text, check for spelling errors, and go through the site, page by page, to tweak as needed. Then go live and ask your friends what they think and even share the new site screenshot on your social sites like Instagram. If you do, use hashtag #squarespace so we can see your new site!

SMILE, you did it! Next month, I'll post again to show you the part two with my shiny new website. Stay tuned! If you want to build your own website or shop, go for it, and use coupon ‘DECOR8’ for 10% off your first purchase.

squarespace-logo-horizontal-black.jpg

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Squarespace but all words and opinions are my own.

Take Your Blog & Business to the Next Level e-course

I'm excited to announce an e-course like no other that you simply cannot miss... So in case you haven't enrolled yet, the Blogging Your Way is a must-take! It's all about taking your blog & business to the next level (or how to start it right if you are brand new). From March 3-20 I'm going to help a small group of you online to build the blog (or Instagram or business) of your dreams, and then how to use it once it has grown... So tell me... Are you in?

Ambientefilmcrew_hollybecker.jpg

This class will teach you everything you need to know about profitable BOLD blogging and social media that slays. I've been supporting myself financially on my blog since I started in 2006. Yes, that's ELEVEN YEARS. Talk about business sustainability - I will show you exactly how I did it and how I stay relevant in this ever-changing marketplace year after year. NO SECRETS. Come, learn from me.

Have a blog? Want to start a blog? Have a business you want to promote? Do you need help figuring out how to do something with all of the great fans you've amassed? Do you feel stale and in need of inspiration and brand new ways to work online?

This class WILL be a game changer for you.

I will solely teach this class and I will dedicate all of my time and attention for three weeks to ONLY you. This means that you will have direct access daily to talk to me online (except on the weekends) to answer your questions. You can even chat live once weekly with me in our mentor chat and ask any question you'd like and I'll answer it. One or ten, I'll answer them all.

This class will be like none before it because we are keeping it small and I'm not scheduling any other work or projects for the full duration so this class is the ONLY thing on my mind which frees me up to shoot above and beyond for my students.

It's also for all levels but if you are a beginner, please note that we will not teach you HOW to set up a blog. So it’s a good idea to set one up first and then we will teach you what you need to know to get rolling with your blog. And for those of you already blogging, it’s time to up your game!

For more information, because I'm only allowing 50 more students into the class and then that's it - I'm closing registration. I won't be doing another class like this until late Fall/early winter this year, so if you want it, come and get it!!!!

2017BootCamp.jpg

Love, Holly

(Top photo: Toni Vinther, bottom row all by Holly Becker except 2nd from left, by n)

5 Eye-Catching Black + White Party Ideas

Hello friends, I had a most lovely book party in Hannover before Christmas when I launched (or in German, the book is called ) in the city where I live with my friends and family whom I love so much. A bonus was that my little boy Aidan Benjamin, who turns 3 tomorrow, was there with me watching mama talk about my book and showing how to create a beautiful party scene using only black and white. There I am below with my little one looking on...

hollybecker_aidan1-1.jpg

I love my son so much and to be "working" with him like this and to have him share in the festivities of my book party gave me no greater joy - in fact, this was such a special time for me to have him there. When I was styling the black and white gift giving party in my book, he was running around the room with me and Holly Marder (the photographer) along with Pamuk and Tinna, and he was so much younger! That was back in September 2014 when he was 19 months old. In this photo above he is already out of the toddler years and is a genuine little boy. The thing is, as he grows and works alongside of me as I produce my books and then, do book parties, I observe his growth and his maturity, how he went from not talking on the photoshoot to now, never being quiet and speaking in two languages fluently!

I've launched 4 books and have been to over 40 locations in North America and Europe since my first book came out years back... But never with him until now. He loved the cake pops and enjoyed meeting everyone and in the end, he did great being in a shop with nearly 100% ceramics and glass -he didn't break a single thing. Good boy! I was so proud and I'm happy I got to finally have a book party in Hannover with him with me -  this is something I'll never, ever forget.

hollybecker_party.jpg

I was so honored to take Decorate For a Party to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Zurich, and even the imm in Cologne where it was proudly on display in my stand. And Leslie launched the book in Victoria, British Columbia. This weekend, I'll bring the book to Frankfurt to share at the Ambiente Fair in a video that they'll put on their Facebook page. Book #4 gave me some great adventures and now I'm finalizing the concept for book 5, which I will write as the sole author, and it will release end of 2018 or Spring 2019. It's going to be something very different from what you'd imagine and I'm breaking the "Decorate" series now so no more "Decorate..." books for the time being. I have decided to take a risk and try something very new. Let's see what you will think!

hollybecker_aidan2.jpg
kukka4.jpg

taking a photo for Instagram

kukka1.jpg

I'm very happy here to receive flowers styled by local florist .

kukka9.jpg

Now I'll give you 5 black and white party styling ideas, particularly for the winter months (like RIGHT NOW!). Ready for some tips?

  1. PATTERN MIX. Black and white can go super clinical or super minimalist and modern - not so much playful or fun, right? But if you mix and match patterns you can definitely insert the fun factor. I've chosen linens and ceramics from and made hostess gift boxes for each plate which double as a place card since everyone has their name on a box. The boxes were simple white boxes but I used black washi tape to create a "ribbon" and black dot stickers from the stationery aisle in the local drug store to add a pattern.
  2. NO TABLECLOTH. I like the way a table can look without a table cloth, especially if you have a beautiful wood or simple white table. For a black and white party, especially if you have a white table, use a patterned runner to warm up the table with fabric and leave the rest bare for a more modern Scandinavian look.
  3. CHINESE TAKE AWAY BOXES. I love these boxes, you can get them everywhere it seems lately and the solid white without any writing are the ones I go for. I like to fill them with nuts, candy and crackers. You can embellish with black washi tape or just leave them plain.
  4. SPRIGS OF GREEN. Every black and white party needs a natural element to warm it up. Because it's from nature, the color of it doesn't disrupt the flow of your monochromatic scheme. Add sprigs of pine to clear glasses vases (or in this case Finnish champagne glasses) or add other greens like Eucalyptus or potted plants. The key is to use only one type of green down the table center so that it creates interest without becoming a focal point or cheap looking.
  5. NO PLACEMATS. I like placemats but honestly, it's refreshing to drop them every once in awhile. Use large patterned napkins or solid black to give your plate something to rest against until guests take their seats.
kukka8.jpg
kukki2.jpg

Here I am receiving so much warmth and love from my dear friend .

kukka10.jpg

I had to create a place setting for my little boy!

kukka3.jpg
kukka7.jpg
kukka5.jpg

I made Finnish himmeli and hung them in the shop window using birch-patterned straws. The DIY project is in the book!

kukka6.jpg

Thank you to beautiful Eghlima Kiaei from for your bright and energetic spirit and your delicious cakes and cake pops - we love what you do and appreciate so much all you did to make this party so nice for us! Also many, many thanks to Hannover-based Photographer for these lovely photographs and your happy nature and big smile. With special thanks to Imke Isermann at for allowing us to use this beautiful space for the afternoon. Finally, thank you to our German publishers, Random House/DVA, for giving to German-speaking Europe!

Oh and of course, thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us (Anke, Gabi, Kerstin, Esra, Annette, Claudia, Kristina, Sean, Guru, Dietlind, Gundi, Anna, Sonja, Mary, Tinna, Sara, Emma, Jan + Wiebke, Berit + Heiko) and so many others for making this event so meaningful to me.

Love,

Holly

Live Trends from Ambiente: February 11 + 12

I am thrilled to announce my newest partnership with one of the most important trade shows in the world, , where I will be reporting to you live on Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12. I'll tell you more in a moment, but first, how are you? It's Friyay and I hope that you have some nice plans for the upcoming weekend. If you don't, try to make some because it will make you feel better if you have something to look forward too. So...

ambiente3.jpg

Reporting and trend scouting are double passions of mine and fairs give me a great way to do that, it's always so special to meet those whom I admire behind some of my favorite interiors and lifestyle brands. Working with Ambiente will be the perfect partnership because I can share two days of live coverage on Instagram through IG Stories, flash interviews and photos with all of you and later, a full report on my blog. You don't have to leave the house, just follow me on and you're going on a blog tour with me from your sofa.

I've already put together a company list charting my adventures into interiorsland and am looking forward to tuning you in on all day Saturday and Sunday, so mark your calendars for 11 and 12 February for the latest and greatest collections because if you are into interiors like I am, this show is one that you can't miss, and it's also so important for you to follow what's new so you can pass your inspirations to your own clients, fans, readers, etc. You can count on me to find everything that is worth your attention, trust me, because I'll sniff out the best of the best and provide you with links and photos on Instagram during those two days so that you can find new companies and be in the know at the same time that I am.

Ambeinte1.jpg
Ambiente2.jpg

I wish you a lovely weekend, I'll be back on Monday to talk about more partnerships and fun things that I've been up to and also to tell you about a big project that you may be able to actually be a part of (I would love that).

2017BootCamp.jpg

Oh and don't miss this.... We are now enrolling for the always inspiring Blogging Your Way e-course which begins in just FOUR WEEKS from now so you have to register before spaces sell out. I have so much to share with you that will go beyond the curriculum, so brace yourself for a great class!!!

Love,

Holly

(Fair photos from 2016 by and , all others are my own.)