Posts in Business
How To Crush It: Working With Brands e-Course

Oh no! I got so wrapped up in sharing my travel adventures that I still need to tell you all about my current e-course, ,  that kicked off yesterday and wraps up May 22, 2017! The first lesson was a video from me for 15 minutes followed by 3 lessons. It's only a two week class so there is no long term commitment or pressure on your part, yet it's absolutely packed with EVERYTHING you need to know about how to crush it when it comes to working with companies from the smallest to the largest. We're covering everything we can in two weeks (lesson outline at the bottom of this post) from the importance of engagement on Instagram, the different campaigns you can do, what to get paid and how to ask for money, tips on how to maintain clients, sponsored blog content, how to run your business like a pro. This dynamic, interactive class is packed with ideas for working with companies on campaigns and in other creative ways too that don't involve social media.

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I am thrilled to teach this class because I have invested the past eleven years obsessing over blogging and digital marketing while also having to earn a living. I had to learn how to work with clients in a way that benefited them, myself and my readers while still maintaining a good reputation and not compromising my values. I have read and followed everything about working with brands and social media marketing in general and I've applied MOST of what I've learned... Though at times I didn't listen and I failed miserably, and had to pull myself out of that hole of pain -- but I learned anyway and pressed on. I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars not listening to some of the advice I was given by well-meaning family and friends who knew a lot more about working with brands and marketing then I once did. I have also generated a lot of revenue by applying what I've learned and from thinking of new, creative ways to work with people. I've seen all sides - the darkest nights of my business and the brightest days. All in all, I've learned a lot and I'm sharing all of my secrets and tips with you.

I've also been on both sides of marketing - for my own brand (cattledogs) and for other brands to help to promote and grow them. I've tried Facebook ads, Instagram ads, affiliate marketing, campaigns for brands, Skype consults with brands, running ads on cattledogs, hiring ad managers, being my own ad manager, teaching myself how to work with clients, flying to big cities to meet with some of the largest companies in the world to teach their teams how to use social media to extend their brand, lecturing before hundreds of bloggers on social media-related topics, retargeting, polling, newsletters, reading reading reading... If anyone can teach you about how to work with brands, it's me. But it has taken me 11 years and you don't have 11 years to learn this - so learn it all in 2 weeks from me.

Bottom line: If you want to work with brands, you have to be willing to spend $129 on this class OR be willing to take the time to teach yourself through trial and error as I have done for over a decade. Think of education as a big part of your self-care ritual because it is - it's good for your self-esteem because when you are successful at what you do, you glow from the inside out. When you speak confidently about your work, are sought after by brands, when other bloggers look up to you because they see your good work, you shine! Then, you can share that glow with others and make them feel good. Plus, learning is the only way your business can survive and thrive - you have to keep firing up your brain to make new connections, form new ideas and get yourself out of your ruts and routines that can sometimes cause you to stagnant and ultimately, stink at what you do. Don't be stinky! :)

Because this is the first and LAST time I will teach this topic, I will keep enrollment open for the next few days in case you want to get started. Class JUST began yesterday and new materials won't go live again until tomorrow, so you haven't lost time.

Full course outline below: Different Ways To Work With Brands What Brands Look For In Bloggers/Influencers/Partners How To Write a Sponsored Post How To Know The Right Brands For You How To Find Brands And Reach Out To Them (Pitch email templates will be provided) How To Post a Sponsored Instagram Photo (or IG Stories, IG Gallery, etc.) Finding Agents And Ways To Work With Them When Brands Reach Out To You: How To Handle Them Pitch Ideas For Bloggers, Instagram Users, and Influencers How To Pitch To Brands Red Flags To Watch Out For Deciding Your Rate Asking For Money What Do You Do When Brands Don't Want To Pay? Legal tips Negotiating Contracts Continuing The Relationship With Brands 30 minute live chat Q & A with your teacher and fellow students (once a week on Fridays)

Holly

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

Hello! Are you thinking a lot about plants and gardening at moment? How about fresh flowers? Well, this weekend, I'll be in Berlin for the event sponsored by , , , , ,  magazine from Burda, and , all in conjunction with the big garden show - . I can't wait to meet the many garden and home bloggers attending and to present the winning blog in the "Best Blog Design" category (see all of the finalists ).

I've been working hard behind-the-scenes as for the past several months and now it's time to go and award our winners! So ,  OR  will win in the category that I've been selected to present. I wish you three the best of luck, along with the other finalists in all of our categories.

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It will be so good to be back in Berlin for a few days, I'm taking the train Saturday morning and returning Sunday night so while it's only a quick trip, I will definitely be out and about and sharing my less than 48-hour adventure on - which by the way, I recently passed 100k followers - I am very excited about that! So if you would like to  to see what I'm seeing in Berlin, you are more than welcome to travel along. I'll include some IG Stories just for you, too!

Thank you Simone, Julia und Friederike from for including me in this wonderful and meaningful event for bloggers.

(Photos: Blumen's )

Why Blogs Are Still Important in 2017
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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.

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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 .

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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. :)

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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!

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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.

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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 )

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!!!!

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Love, Holly

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