Blog Trends + Exclusive Content

May 3, 2013

It’s time for another Blog Tip post, this time I want to talk about the importance of sharing, linking, pinning, reblogging (no, it’s not a cop out if you do it right) or whatever else you’d like to call it, the point is we have to keep the conversations going for blogs to survive and thrive! Caroline from 91 Magazine recently sent over a bunch of questions for me to answer regarding craft trends and only a tiny bit of it was published since she didn’t have a lot of room and I wrote a ton about it (hey, it’s a subject I’m passionate for) in their Spring/Summer issue. I thought I’d share a revised copy with you today (below) because I a lot of this will really spark ideas for bloggers but most importantly, encourage you while also helping you to see why I think certain things are important about how we blog and why we blog – I get really opinionated in this piece but I felt like some of this really needs to be said.

Blog Trends + Exclusive Content

This is a really long post, so bear with me!

A growing concern to trend forecasters, whether they be individuals, companies, magazines, etc. is to lose their “edge” to those online, like bloggers, who can quickly spot and write about trends and feed that information to thousands of people instantly. There are people who are hired to start and to predict trends and they do so by detecting patterns in thinking, spotting the beginning stages of a movement, noticing a shift in mindset or opinion, etc. Noticing what people value both more, and less, plays into this. Those who have been trained as trend forecasters use an array of techniques to understand emerging and current trends – including psychology, scenario planning, etc. Their investigative research is highly valuable to companies who lack time and resources to watch for these things on their own. You even have companies like Pantone who dictate color trends – and their color forecasts influence entire markets, particularly fashion and interiors.

One additional point worth mentioning is that a trend isn’t always a product or something tangible, like a color palette. It can be a trend in thinking, emotional trends, spiritual trends (yoga is trending in western societies), food trends (juicing and green smoothies are popular), etc.  Many trends in thinking and in lifestyle ultimately dictate the products that are being sold. A trend in yoga means more companies manufacturing yoga mats and a green smoothie trend will definitely result in a higher volume of sales for juicers as well as more manufacturers stepping up with new and improved models.

Are bloggers trendspotters? Since so many bloggers are constantly on the look out for the latest thing, it’s not uncommon for them to be considered early adopters of what could become a trend. Their predications are largely based on observation – bloggers see and hear it all – we are the fly on the wall. Bloggers and anyone online spotting patterns are definitely helping, in some cases to spread and develop trends and in other cases, to kick-start new ones. Blogging itself can be called a trend; but to me, it’s more of a movement because it has become “the” way to connect online for thousands of people globally. Blogging ties all of us together. I’ve spotted many things first on blogs and a year later, every magazine was showing those things like they were brand new – but my blogger pals were showing them first. The thing is, until a magazine editor says It’s A Trend, it may not become part of the mainstream.

Can one blogger alone start a trend? Few bloggers have the ability to influence mainstream trends singlehandedly – maybe a handful could, but very few and honestly, I’ve not seen this happen and I’ve been blogging for nearly 8 years. For instance, if I blog about plants being hot decorative accessories in the home, the entire world isn’t going to run out and start buying plants and it won’t automatically become a trend. BUT. This doesn’t mean my opinion doesn’t have weight, reach or influence. A few top editors may read my opinion, then a few large companies, and they may think that I’m onto something because they know I am very in tune with what people are thinking, doing, talking about online… Later, when they see more bloggers talking about plants because they are reblogging or pinning what I wrote or simply thinking more about plants now too, they may decide to pay more attention to plants – so perhaps in their magazine they write a piece about plants in the home. In most cases though, unless an influential magazine or trendsetter or trend show clearly states that plants are the new black, my post won’t like cause the idea to go mainstream on its own. Alone few of us have power. If no one bought Apple products, Apple would have no value, no power. We are not islands, we all need one another, we are all part of the big picture. I think we forget that there is no such thing as independence in blogging because in this arena, it’s all about interdependence.

Who can quickly start a trend? In many cases, the people with the big power are those at the time, the Anna Wintour’s of the world, and the celebs. The moment a “name” wears a designer bag, it’s suddenly trending and everyone everywhere WANTS. THAT. BAG. Until then, bloggers may have been talking about the same bag for 10 months, but the second that celeb wore it and was photographed, that celeb singlehandedly had the power to turn it into a trend overnight. Funny thing is, she may have discovered the bag on her favorite blogs but we’ll never know… The point is, unless you are a blogger with a certain celeb status, you most likely cannot influence mainstream trends BUT together, oh together my friends, we are a mighty, mighty bunch. Ka-pow! Let me explain why.

Do bloggers have influence? YES! Those on the “outside” who recognize our influence pay attention and tap in to what we are doing continuously. I personally know magazines that pay their staff to surf Pinterest all day and read blogs to find story ideas. Big, major magazines. I know trend forecasters who comb Pinterest for ideas for upcoming collections – which, let’s face it, most likely was pinned from a blog. I know craft authors who use Pinterest to find projects for their books. Blogs are influencing a lot of what we see in mainstream culture – trust me – our opinions matter because we are ultimately the consumers and so naturally companies want to tap into us because we are their customers.

Why ALL bloggers MATTER: All of this (and more) is why I feel so strongly that bloggers should really take their role seriously – so many downplay their blog posts like their opinion doesn’t really matter because they’re not part of the “big” blog posse out there. Not true! Just because you’re not [insert pro blogger name here], doesn’t give you a free pass to not care about your blog content or to complain that your blog content doesn’t matter because you only have 500 readers. You rock with 1,000 followers or 100,000 –  trust me, there is strength in numbers when it comes to what becomes popular online (or not). While one blog may not be able to launch a trend alone, if lots of others in the blogging community re–blog that post with their own opinions, talk about it on Twitter, Facebook, etc, share it on Pinterest, then together we have influence and that can cause real change to occur – yes, even in the mainstream.

Why does sharing matter so much? I’ve long been a champion of sharing and not so much in support of this new idea that every blogger must only blog custom content with projects and photos produced by them. Some blogs only accept exclusive content. Other blogs won’t share what another blogger posted no matter how much they loved it because they are scared to upset someone or appear like a copycat. I’ve been teaching blogging classes online and workshops for over 4 years and most of my students are terrified to blog about something if another blogger already covered it. This can ultimately lead to the death of blogs as influencers and early adopters. Really gang. While I’m all for columns, exclusive stuff, taking your own photos, etc. I think balance and caution is needed.

How can we influence something or adopt it if we fear writing about it because another blogger already covered it?  How can we discuss trends if no one has images to share supporting those discussions unless they take these images themselves – and because they don’t have the images they clam up? While it’s important to get permission from photographers and to link back, credit sources, etc. These discussions need to take place and should be taking place for the sake of our community. Many voices combined can start a wave of change; launch a new idea, etc. To be innovators, we have to share our ideas with our tribe and our tribe, in turn, must share with their tribe, and so on.  This is how popular trends are kick–started.

What made us strong should be embraced still: This is why blogging became popular in the first place. We talked, we shared, we made noise. If we all become fearful or run our blogs like they are magazines where only exclusive content is featured and we refuse to share something another blogger covered, what will that mean for blogging?

We aren’t magazines. We don’t need to be. We are in our own class and that is how it should be because we can spontaneously share and create a very specific energy that can only be shared spontaneously. Planning out every post, organizing shoot days and complicated videos for every single post, and constantly stressing over “exclusive content” and “columns” can really hold lots of bloggers back. If you can do it, great – I am aiming for sharing 30-40% decor8 content and the rest from the products and people I review here. If you can blog 100% exclusive content photographed and written by only you and your contributors, great – but let’s not force others into thinking that our standard should be the only way to blog because there are so many types of bloggers and levels and topics, there is no ONE way to do it. I’d say that in the end, we should strive to share in a way that is considerate and fair to others while also opening up the way for conversations can take place. Link back, credit photographers, credit the source if you know it, shoot your own photos if you can but use others with permission when you can’t, talk about topics others may be talking about. SHARE! I hope bloggers really think about this more and value not only their contribution online, but also value sharing what others are blogging about too – we have a pretty responsible position when you think about it.

In fact, SHARE this post – I’m happy for you to talk about this on your blogs and leave your links below in the comments section.

You can also join the conversation here on the Patchwork Harmony blog, too. I WELCOME your thoughts and opinions below, so please leave them, okay? No one will bite ya!

So what do you guys think about all of this?

(image: 91 magazine)


  • Reply Julia Di Sano, Owner/Artist of Ebi Emporium May 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I absolutely agree! I think it’s important to recognize how trends begin, are followed through and lose popularity to other trends – and to note that this process isn’t simply a matter of something showing up in magazines, but that those magazine features often stem from bloggers around the world who have taken notice months or even YEARS beforehand. Sometimes it takes a while for a trend to become a mainstream captial-T “Trend,” but individual bloggers and style-enthusiasts definitely play their role. It’s a vital role, regardless of the immediate visible impact, for sure! So, regardless of blog size and number of followers, I agree…BLOG ON, you Awesome Bloggers! Get your voice and opinions heard, and MAKE trends happen :D

  • Reply Jeanne May 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Amen, Holly. Well said!

  • Reply Nyla May 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I really love this post and all you’ve touched on. My blog has grown in many ways since I started it, it’s become an organic process and I’ve let go of many “this is how you do it” type processes and just let things evolve. I definitely strive to share original content with my work and projects, but lately have embraced sharing other images, blogs, links etc. It just feels better this way. I love blogging, reading blogs and the whole community. Let’s keep supporting each other in any way we can!

  • Reply Boo May 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Wow -loads to think about here – it will definitely need a re read to take in and think about all the points that you’ve made. However, Share – I utterly believe in that -it’s a one word mantra we should all make our own. x

  • Reply Gina @ Oaxacaborn May 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Holly, thank you so much for posting these thoughts. Lately, I’ve realized that I’m pulling back from blogging as many inspiration-related posts as my heart really wants to, because I don’t want to be perceived as a copy-cat. But the photos and themes (and trends!) I’ve not been posting are things I truly do love — my loving them has nothing to do with the fact they may have appeared on someone else’s blog — so why should I let that hold me back? Thank you for freeing from the misplaced pressure to create 100% original content. Thanks for freeing me to once again enjoy the work of others and share whatever I wish, no matter where it has appeared before. This was such an encouraging post!

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      @Gina at Oaxacaborn – Oh good, no pressure, breath in breath out! :) :)

  • Reply Anna May 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Holly:

    Love your blog. I have been so inspired by your blog but I am commenting for the first time.

    It is amazing how you are talking about something I was just thinking about since yesterday. You wrote about how we are afraid to cover something because someone has already done it. It is so true. Sometimes for me, an idea is percolating in my head and while I think about it endlessly and take my own sweet time to get the supplies I need to do it, I see someone else do it and then after that I don’t feel okay doing it.

    The second scenario is when I see something in another blog and I want the same thing because it is so pretty but I cannot afford it because it is so expensive, is it okay to make it for my home and then blog about it? Usually, when I make something for my home after seeing it in another lady’s blog, even though I am trying to get a similar look, usually, I always end up putting my own spin on it and the end product is different from the original one. For example, if I see a white pillow with yellow paisley pattern on it, made by a person who has a fabric line which has white with yellow paisley, but if I cannot afford to buy that fabric, is it okay to make a pillow with less expensive fabric and either block print or embroider myself yellow paisley fabric on it and then blog about it? I struggle with this a lot? I wonder should I ask permission before I make / embroider a yellow paisley on a white fabric?
    I totally love to give credit but I am often scared if it is wrong in some way.

    Love to know your thoughts.

    Have a great day!

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      @Anna – Thank you for commenting – comment more often okay because you have a lot of interesting things to say, I can tell. I really enjoyed your comment. You asked me, “The second scenario is when I see something in another blog and I want the same thing because it is so pretty but I cannot afford it because it is so expensive, is it okay to make it for my home and then blog about it?” I think this can be harmful in some ways to the person who made the item and is selling it. It can hurt a business if you show how to make a cheaper version and in some cases, if the companies have a legal time and money to back them up, you can potentially deal with a lawsuit. So it’s best that if you recreate a product, just do it at home for yourself and put your own spin on it but leave it off of your blog so you are not showing people how to knock something off. That can really have a negative impact on your character too, so I’d avoid that altogether.

  • Reply Andi May 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Great advice like always! Thank you for reminding me that sharing other people’s work builds a better blogging community!

  • Reply Katharina May 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    That’s really something to think about twice…
    I’m really a little bit afraid of sharing to much content because – like you wrote – I could be seen as copycat.
    Do you think that the mentality of bloggers is different in Germany regarding this topic “sharing/copying”?

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      @Katharina – Yes, definitely. Bloggers in Germany are such nice girls but they tend to make it really “hard” for themselves (and others). It doesn’t have to be so difficult to blog, hop online and share stuff. It’s all about sharing, having opinions and a good angle, sharing some more and caring about the community and wanting to be a part of it – not swimming against the tide but swimming along with it.

  • Reply Patti Friday May 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I began blogging (and fell in love with it) in 2007. I try very hard not to self-censor myself. I wake up each day and create a post based on what is inside my mind, heart or gut.

    This topic could be discussed from many different angles, but in the end, one must blog because they adore it – they enjoy reading blogs, being inspired and learning from other Bloggers. I do believe that Bloggers have become competitive in some circles – I see it, I sense it…I read it between the lines.

    Big time, big paid Editors and Photo Journos are watching and enjoying the massive amounts of creative power. They are harvesting from us! This is a compliment. (*perhaps the cash could be shared as well for the harvest)

    I would encourage everyone to be authentic, natural and relaxed. We are so important to the world! Each of us has a ‘Blogger DNA’ so no matter how hard you try you can’t be someone else and vice versa, they can’t become you!

    Loving your blog, always have. Keep it coming. PFXO

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      @Patti Friday – You said, “Big time, big paid Editors and Photo Journos are watching and enjoying the massive amounts of creative power. They are harvesting from us! This is a compliment.”
      Yes, it sure is – you’re right!

  • Reply Heather B May 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I agree completely.

    I think that another very important point is that indie business owners rely on bloggers to share products and services that they’re excited about. It would be truly terrible if we stymied a fledgling business that we love because we wouldn’t talk about it after another blogger had. It’s not just trends that we help create, it’s also livelihoods.

    As long as you’re talking about something from YOUR perspective, who cares if someone else has posted about it?

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      @Heather B – This is really powerful, what you said, “indie business owners rely on bloggers to share products and services that they’re excited about. It would be truly terrible if we stymied a fledgling business that we love because we wouldn’t talk about it after another blogger had. It’s not just trends that we help create, it’s also livelihoods.”

      I have heard lots of my etsy friends talk about this and how it has really affected their revenue now that bloggers are sharing less and feel scared to share because someone else already covered it, etc. I agree with you, this can hurt small business.

  • Reply Diana Baur May 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Holly, you are right on the money here. Bloggers serve a very important purpose in today’s market place. They bring content into the discussion that magazines can’t or won’t focus on. Bloggers can afford, by their nature, to go off on tangents and reel in all kinds of new perspectives – and then be on to the next idea in the next post. It makes for a richer field of content for everyone.

    Bloggers are free – in a way that a magazine cannot be. Bloggers, while having a responsibility to their readers and followers, can seed ideas of their own. Magazines are constrained by so many publication factors – time, demographics and the publisher itself.

    Whatever our niche, if we blog good, thoughtful content, we will never know how we can effect someone, or even who we can effect. It might just be the day for that person who is reading to make a decision about a room, a job interview, a friendship, a career direction. And they read a post from someone who has written good and inspired and meaningful content and it can change EVERYTHING for that person.

    Well done, Holly — it’s posts like this that make you stand out even more in your own genre (where you are already stellar) . Everyone of us who blogs matters. Every single one.


    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      @Diana – I think magazines are in their own class and blogs, in their own class. Magazines are top tier with experts behind the wheel driving their mission and often, earning a lot of money and clout in the process. They are respected and “known”. They have authority. Bloggers are just different. Some may or may not have authority but together, we create a “one voice”, right? And that one voice does have authority. I love this conversation, I really enjoyed seeing these great comments – thank you for leaving yours too. And by the way, I used your dishes as tealight holders (perfect width) for my bathtub. :) Love them, thank you for that.

  • Reply laurie May 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    It’s a conversation! And the essence is that we “listen” and then comment on what we hear… and then also bring up our own ideas for others to enjoy/consider and then share and repeat, share and repeat. It’s ALL of the above.

    It’s the spontaneity that I love about blogs. And the connections made. But don’t get me wrong, I’m a “slow” movement kinda gal. But it can be both and all. Hey, we were given a blank slate with the internet and essentially told “what can you create with this?” Look how far it’s come! I think it’s possible for much to coexist in the realm of it. Don’t you?

    Trend spotters, designers, etc… have always gone to the “street” for inspiration and information. The internet (blogs, Pinterest, etc.) is the new Street.

    I love this post, Holly. Not only is your blog about pretty but it’s about smart too. Pretty smart! Thanks!

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      @Laurie – I love what you said, “Trend spotters, designers, etc… have always gone to the “street” for inspiration and information. The internet (blogs, Pinterest, etc.) is the new Street.”
      Yes Yes Yes! We ARE the street!

  • Reply TJ May 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Holly I hope I can take a blogging course from you someday even if it means coming back to Germany to do it! After I relocated to the US, I stopped my blog because I could no longer maintain it. Thank you for this post that inspires me as I work my way back to a pace I can handle and enjoy. I admire that you are not only an amazing decorator but a smart and empowering business woman too.

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      @TJ – I teach them online ( and in person, and I also do one-on-one consulting via skype and in person, so I’m always here if you need me – near or far!

  • Reply Cathy May 3, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    What a fantastic, well thought out article! I keep hearing the doomsday attitude that blogs are no longer important/relevant due to the likes of pinterest and instagram, but if it weren’t for blogs how would people see all of the creativity out there? I agree that sharing is where it’s at, otherwise we wouldn’t know what unique ideas and talent exist. Many thanks to the likes of people like you for sharing what the “little guys” are up to…. and for inspiring us to keep creating!

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      @Cathy – You said, “I keep hearing the doomsday attitude that blogs are no longer important/relevant due to the likes of pinterest and instagram” – I hear that too but then when I click on nearly EVERY SINGLE PINTEREST PIN I am linked back to a blog and I just sit here and smile and think, WE STILL ROCK. If blogs didn’t exist, Pinterest would be doomed. It’s the other way around so we all work together.

  • Reply Mallory May 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    As I’m new to blogging for myself, I’ve been struggling with a lot of the questions you covered. Do you delete a post mid-stream because you someone else just published one with similar content/products?

    It’s encouraging to hear that with the right parameters (giving credit where it is due), sharing is really what it’s all about whether it’s exclusive or not.

    Just the motivation I needed to finish today’s post!

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      @Mallory: You asked, “Do you delete a post mid-stream because you someone else just published one with similar content/products?”
      I say NO way! Keep writing and sharing YOUR unique point-of-view! Give credit, link back, share, share, share your opinion. We need a lot of different opinions to make informed decisions.

  • Reply Isabelle May 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Dear Holly,

    wow, what a lot you give us to think about for the weekend!

    And I think you’re absolutely right, blogging is all about sharing. It’s a community-thing, without communicating blogging would be nothing, just boring. I really think that good and genuine content is very important for a blog, but I also like to e.g. share a recipe with my favourite new chocolate or whatever even though some other bloggers have written about it or posted pics on Facebook, Instagram or wherever.

    As long as everybody has his own unique twist, his own voice it’s not a big deal, isn’t it? I think it’s good to take oneself not too important, we won’t invent the wheel for a second time. But we can keep it turning.



    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      @Isabelle – Yes, I agree and I like what you said, “I think it’s good to take oneself not too important, we won’t invent the wheel for a second time. But we can keep it turning.”
      VERY good point!

  • Reply Brenda Kula-Pruitt May 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Totally agree. And I have to say I think you have the stuff to be considered a trend setter! Pottery Barn seems to follow the bloggers, in my opinion. Or do we follow PB? The chicken or the egg? Not until blogging did so many women (and men) make such a difference because they were not heard or seen. That is all different now. Who could have conceived of this fifteen years ago? Great post!

    • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      @Brenda Kula-Pruitt – Thank you very much, that is very sweet to say!

  • Reply decor8 May 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    @Julia Di Sano, Owner/Artist of Ebi Emporium: Thanks Julia!

  • Reply Kreetta May 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Holly!
    After reading your writings on the Patchwork Harmony blog, I had to think for a while and then I wrote my post about trends on last monday. It was great writing as also is this post.

    I like the idea of blogs sharing, linking, reblogging etc. in that way I hope we could be strong in making trends that matters. and be more connected. I love to see what other poeple has invented or done or what about they are writing now.

    I produce quite a lot of my own blog posts but I love to share some precious links to talented people’s work, ideas, thoughts etc. There are so many interesting things happening in the internet and everywhere! that almost only that could be enough to make your posts and not make your own at all…but I’m the one of those makers who loves to do! and also talk things that moves me. Great post Holly!

  • Reply Bridie Hall May 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you so much for quite plainly spelling it out.
    As a creative director and creator, I am always looking for stuff, new stuff, exciting stuff all sorts of stuff, inspiration. I do find once I’m on the track for something, a trend, theme, an idea. I feel like I’ve seen it so much everyone else must of as well. So the last thing I want to do is share.
    You have opened my eyes to a new community and I am very grateful!

  • Reply Jessica Nichols May 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Okay I’m talking about my views on this topic as a content creator. I see three factors at work here (at least, these are the three I chose to discuss today). Thank you for starting the conversation, here’s the link to my post.

  • Reply Jessica Nichols May 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    @decor8: I agree but I think this part is very important as well: “perhaps the cash could be shared as well for the harvest.” I think fairness and compensation, vulnerability and trust are at the heart of these issues. I really do.

    • Reply decor8 May 4, 2013 at 1:28 am

      @Jessica – I think the moment you upload a photo OR type words onto a blog, you have to accept that some people will steal your work, copy your work or use it in some unfair way or even present it as their own work. BUT you have to also trust that there are potentially thousands of people who won’t and who will love and praise your work. Each blogger must personally decide whether they want to stress out over the one person stealing or reap the rewards of having thousands of people love their work. We all make a choice whether through the photos we share, our ideas that we type onto our blogs, whatever – the moment we TYPE we are creating content. Someone could read my post and think, “Wow that is a great idea for my magazine column for XYZ magazine, I think I will pitch this story to my editor”. They pitch it, the editor accepts, and they take my post and copy my thoughts and even restructure some of my own sentences, submitting it as their own. Their editor loves the story and pays them $800 to write it. I never ever know about it. But I would rather share my ideas and thoughts publicly here then keep them inside. I’m willing to take the risk to get my thoughts out there. I notice the more confidence a blogger has, the less concerned they are over being ripped off. These days, I have an attorney. If anyone does anything like rip off my brand name, or something major, I ask my attorney to handle it for me. I have to pay her, and it stings to pay the bill trust me, but it is how one must protect themselves online and off if they are running a legitimate business. It’s life. Some things I just blow off because I don’t care to bother, it’s not worth my energy. Other things I pursue to protect my company. But again, we all have to make decisions when we create content, whether words, videos, images, etc. and put them online. I decided early on to just share and to review people and products to share and promote their work, too (not just my own projects). I love writing reviews and those I write about are always really happy to be featured here and as a result, they see traffic and often, direct sales and this makes them happy. Lots of people tell me they get more traffic and sales from being featured on blogs than any other marketing they try, so this encourages me to keep doing it. However, I also love to share my own work and I recently started to take my photography more seriously and invested in new equipment, so I’m showing more of my own photography here too and I hire people to write for decor8 as well so they are compensated for their posts here. I personally think sharing online CAN work but it has to start with us and our own attitude – what are we in it for?

  • Reply Molly Watson May 3, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I really love the message here! As a relatively new blogger in this big ol’ blogging world, I take comfort knowing more seasoned bloggers like yourself actually are ok with link backs! For awhile I thought it to be taboo, though I always thought it was respectful to point out great content to others they may otherwise never find themselves. In fact, Holly, when I started my Facebook blog for Mollykid Studios over a year ago, you were one of my first “shares” because I really like your colorful, cheerful and fun style and thought my friends would, too!
    Anyway, thanks for putting this message out there. Though my Blogger site is only a few months old, you remind me that its a-ok to share content I like from others and give them credit for the cool things they are doing, too!
    Have a wonderful weekend~Molly from Mollykid Studios

  • Reply Eva May 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I agree with you. I started blogging just 2 months ago and before I didn’t even know that there was such a world… World of people sharing ideas, sharing photos, sharing tips and tricks… It is what appealed to me and encouraged me to write also. The wonderful thing about blogs is that you go jumping from one blog to another and you really get to know and learn so many different things!!

  • Reply Gina @ Oaxacaborn May 4, 2013 at 1:01 am

    @decor8: And like you said, it shouldn’t be so hard to blog, right? It’s all about sharing! Thank you again for this refreshing perspective.

  • Reply Mary@athomeonthebay May 4, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Holly, this was a refreshing and inspiring post. I will definitely be rereading and pinning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  • Reply Jessica Nichols May 4, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Holly, I have seen both sides: I have had so many wonderful experiences and small-scale and large scale infringement from sharing my work online. We definitely have to choose which battles to fight and when to involve our attorneys. I don’t worry about pinners and bloggers now that I have dealt with major companies making products with my work without my permission or payment. It’s a totally different level of concern. I have never let it stop me from sharing, I’ve been blogging for six or seven years now. I was only wanting to add to your conversation and I stand by my belief that some content creators feel un-compensated and un-valued for their work online. Maybe that’s not a popular view or an easy thing to talk about it, but that doesn’t mean not to talk about it. I very much appreciate that you pay your contributors, share with credit, and bring so much good to blogging. If only everyone were as ethical as you, that’s all I’m trying to say. :)

    • Reply decor8 May 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      @Jessica – Yes well said! I’ve dealt with every type of situation imaginable too – even seeing my photos on products for sale on eBay with the seller based in Thailand – I nearly died! Thankfully, eBay came to my rescue there. But yeah, it’s definitely a big topic but it’s good to just discuss it and see if it gets us all any closer to finding our balance. I struggle with this as a big blogger, everyone assumes I am rich because I have a few ads on my blog, which is NOT the case. I have to do a lot of different things to make it financially so I teach, write for magazines, am a consultant for large and mid-size companies, write books, work as a stylist and am learning to shoot well so I can style and shoot stories for mags here in Germany and beyond.

      If I relied solely on my few blog ads, I would have to restructure everything and go with a huge ad network, work with sponsors, do ‘in kind’ advertising, etc. but I actually enjoy the other things I’m doing right now so haven’t given a lot of thought to blog revenue. I just want to do stuff that makes me happy first, money comes somehow, someway, especially if you are doing lots of small things – it all adds up. This month alone, I did a consulting job here in Europe, sold photos to a German magazine and wrote two magazine articles for two publications based in the states. That earned me enough revenue to not even have to think about earning money from blog ads. I like it this way, it keeps me less dependent on the blog for earning money and more dependent on what I can do to go out and find work (though honestly I rarely have to go out and find work these days, I am approached often, so my blog helps me in that respect so having a blog brings me jobs) – so I stay busy.

      I think bloggers have to think about alternatives, not always stressing over sponsors and ads, but look at other ways to work doing what they enjoy but that isn’t directly attached to their blogs. What do you think?

  • Reply Patchwork Harmony May 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Hi Holly!

    Thanks so much for this post & really expanding on the feature. I was totally intrigued about the idea of bloggers influencing trends and love how you have encouraged bloggers here to remember that we do matter in the big scheme of things. I also recently had the same issue with my blog where I started to worry about original content and while I have tried to do this more you realise it’s an incredible amount of pressure to put on youself esp when many bloggers do this in their spare time! As long as u put ur own personal touch to ur blog posts, then ur work is original. Also it was kinda what I hoped when I put that feature together with lovely stylist Sally Cullen – to see if our indy magazine craft trend ideas will continue to spread amongst the blog community & eventually hit mainstream! A bit of an experiment I guess! Thanks again for encouraging this conversation!

    Caroline x

  • Reply Jana Schlichtenberg May 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I love this topic as it really appeals to my own thoughts perfectly. I just joined your last BYW course and the lesson about creating unique content kept me thinking about how much room is there for really new ideas. Of course occasionally we come up with a cool DIY or upcycling idea but as same as in the fashion world every thing had be out there in the past already. Realizing this, one could stop blogging since everything has been said. But we don’t. We keep blogging and I certainly enjoy my blog. I experienced a similar process during my studies to become an architect. We all started out to become famous but had to realize that somebody else already had this or that glorious idea. In order not to become frustrated and to overcome the desperate wish to give up, we all had to look with an different angle at a given topic. I still believe that adding your personal thought to a product or an idea creates unique content and kick’s off trends. I just started this wonderful discussion at my blog too, since I am so much interested in continuing this discussion.

    Thanks for inspiring and encouraging me again.

  • Reply Angela - designhaus no.9 May 4, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Since I am blogging I had to solve many questions. And currently I am thinking about this topic, because I find so many wonderful things and ideas on other blogs and I would like to share. But, like Katharina mentioned, nobody would like to be seen as a copycat. And I also recognize a different way to handle this topic in Germany. In other countries bloggers have no problems sharing content. Your post comes at the right time. I will find my way to share amazing ideas and posts.

  • Reply Jayne May 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Very interesting topic, I must reread and think about this. Thank you!

  • Reply TidyMom May 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    This is such a great post/reminder of why I started blogging, and how things have changed.

    I struggle SO much with seeing something great on another blog, but then sit there upset that I feel like I have nothing original to write about. I tell my self I can’t do XYZ because ABC already did it. THANK YOU for turning on that light bulb and giving me that “aha moment” as to why I should not let that stop me from doing something that was inspired by another blogger.

    On the flip side, I think we all need to remember that is why we blog —to share, and to not freak out when we see others sharing our ideas.

    • Reply decor8 May 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      @TidyMom – Imagine if musicians, writers, poets, artists and filmmakers held back because someone else already wrote a similar song, film, poem, etc.? There are a million action films and love songs but people still continue to put new stuff out there. The world needs variety and many voices. There is no difference when it comes to blogging – so think about this when you begin feeling like, “Someone already covered this topic”. Who cares, cover it anyway with your own spin and have fun! Creativity should be fun, not something that upsets you.

  • Reply Leanne Ambrogio May 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for this post Holly – I needed to read it today! As you know I have done all of your BYW courses but I still keep wondering who is out there reading my blog and if anyone cares about what I have to say. I went through a stage where I was determined to have 100% my own content and only my own photographs but I have realised that I need to be realistic and if I am going to have a blog that lasts a long time I need to mix it up for my own sanity and sharing does bring people to your blog if you do it the right way! For me now the tricky part is that my blog helped me to create a business but because of the business I now find it harder to find time to blog – you mentioned here in a recent comment Holly that you had a number of other things you did this month to bring in your income which is fabulous but how do you still keep up with the fantastic and consistent content you bring us on your blog when you have other work you need to do as well – blogging is so full time – how do you find it best to juggle it all and keep your sanity? Leanne

  • Reply Linda Leyble May 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you so much Holly for writing this post! It’s just what I needed. I have taken your online class twice and your blog class in NYC last year and I have to say that you helped me so much. I have been so busy with my design business lately – involved in projects that are huge and taking so long to complete – and I have stopped blogging for awhile because I don’t have “after” pictures yet. But, in the meantime, I have been perusing Pinterest and blogs like yours for ideas that are helping me with my projects. I have to share these ideas and images and why they have influenced me in my work.

    In your blog class in NYC, I learned so much, but THE most important thing I took away from the class was that your blogposts should be a story – telling why you did what you did, what and who inspired you…give the background of the post.

    So, even though I did not take your last Blog Boss class, I only have to connect with you on Facebook or head over to your blog to get re-inspired!

    Thanks so much! I’ll be blogging today!!


  • Reply Ria May 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Dear Holly, dear blogger ladies and guys,

    I´m very pleased with this post. You Holly, were my teacher at Blog Boss and this class “kick-started” my blog. Yesterday I shared a link to a blogging artist in berlin, which I met in Justina Blakeneys Interior Styling Class last month. She was so pleased and happy about my question, if I could share her link to a wonderful download on my blog. My readers were very pleased too, because my numbers of visits increased to heaven, only with this one post. I have made the experience that the people are very pleased and feel a kind of honoured, if you ask. If someone doesn´t like to share something, okay you have to except it. I am very pleased too, that you link the last posts of your readers here in the comments, Holly. No idea, how it works, but I love it, because some of your readers visit my blog, after reading my comments. Thanks, so much for it! I always mention that the internet is a great community which embraces the whole world and so we have the chance to enroll a better society by sharing our thoughts and likes to the internet community. I never met a blogger yet, who shared “bad” toughts or writing that he/she have seen this and that at a blog and it looks horrible and that blogger could do it better. So, I hope that the blogger community is not only splitted in German Bloggers and others. Bloggers rules the world not only one country, don´t forget that power and responsibility you have. So blog and be happy. Greetings, Ria (I couldn´t forget the lession about the blogger etiquette by Thorsten ;-))

  • Reply Anja May 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    You have totally matched my current blogging issues with this post. Thank You! I am in my 3rd year of blogging and sometimes I wonder if this is what I want to do, if this is how my blog should run, how I should talk about things, I keep wondering and I look at all the blogs that I am following and I feel so small, so not worthy. I think your post gave me some confidence again. I don’t have a million readers, but I got very nice, warm and wonderful readers. I have heard about all those people starting to give mean comments on some blogs. I never ever have had this issue in all my time writing my little blog. I am so thankful for that and need to appreciate this more and myself as well. I love blogging, because it’s my outlet, my hobby and it is fun. I don’t want to be a professional blogger, I just want to share MY opinion. The people that want to read about it will eventually find me :)
    Thank you for sharing this and giving some great advice, Holly!

  • Reply The Primlani Kitchen May 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Absolutely Concur….eloquently written. Thank you!

  • Reply Andreia May 5, 2013 at 2:59 am

    This is a very interesting topic. I wrote about this with links to this post:

    Thank you Holly!

  • Reply Kate @ Songs Kate Sang May 5, 2013 at 8:04 am

    First of all, I adore you! You inspire me every day!

    There is so much to absorb and think about here… but I will one thing is true. I will just keep on putting one foot in front of the other!

  • Reply geraldine tan May 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

    A wonderful article Holly, all taken on board. x

  • Reply Laura Gaskill May 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    *Big sigh* Thank you so much for this timely post, Holly! I’ve been struggling internally with these issues a lot lately. I wish I had more time to plan and prepare photo shoots, make short videos, etc., and while I am working that as a goal, for now my reality is I have a toddler at home, I am balancing paid writing gigs with my (virtually) unpaid blogging, and I just need to give myself permission to get back to the basics of blogging. After all, when I started out, I didn’t worry about this stuff one bit!

    On the one hand, I think it’s great that the conversation among blogs/bloggers has begun to focus on issues of giving credit where credit is due, copyright, and all the rest. BUT I agree with you 100% that this has gone a bit too far and is unnecessarily scaring people off (myself included). We certainly all shouldn’t become like little magazines – that’s why blogs became popular, because we have the power to be different from the mainstream publications!

    Oh and one other pet peeve of mine: All of this talk of “original” content actually really bothers me. As a writer, I know that my WORDS are also original content, and even though I may be sharing (of course giving credit for) another person’s photos/work, the discussion of it, or what I choose to add to it is still MINE. This shouldn’t be discounted! If people are interested in images alone, they can browse Pinterest. When they want a bit more meat, they come to blogs.

    Okay, I’ll stop blabbing now, and go write a blog post…probably a reblog! ;) xo Laura

  • Reply Suzie | PalazzoPizzo May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    That reminds me of a habit that bloggers used to have about five years ago: at the end of the week or the month they would share their favorite reads or recommend other blogs they have discovered. I liked to check out their links and found interesting blogs, I am still connected. Desire to inspire used to have some good lists. But that was years ago.
    The blog roll itself is a bit static. Holly, you are right, we should start sharing more to make blog reading different from reading magazines.

  • Reply Chelsey | Pure Draft May 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Wow, thank you for the abundance of brilliance! It’s great to be able to talk with so many others that are going through the same thing and to push each other to keep going – don’t give up!

  • Reply Jutta May 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    This really struck a chord with me. I read your interview on Patchwork Harmony and now re-read your thoughts here and all the comments because it gave me so much to think. In Finland bloggers mostly post original content and that has made me hesitant to share what I’ve seen on other blogs. It’s something I’ve struggled with. Especially the point someone made about supporting indie businesses. I hadn’t realized it effected them so much, but of course it does!

  • Reply laurie May 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    @decor8: @decor8:

    Yes we are! But the old street still exists and there is room for both. I would have loved to have had what is available today when I worked as a stylist and visual merchandiser in the long ago now pre-internet days. I spent a bunch of time in different cities specifically “shopping” for inspiration. And I had stacks and stacks of magazines that I flipped through incessantly. My first quick trip to Paris was spent devoted to just sitting in cafes and people watching. (Though I did get to wander some really lovely flower shops…)
    I still think getting out in the world is equally as good and incredibly important as pulling form the internet. It’s all about keeping your eyes open everywhere you go – you never know where you’ll see the next great thing.

  • Reply Rosane Tardin May 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I agree with every point. I blog from developing countries which means quadruple every effort to break prejudices, updating concepts, forming the market and feel pleasure in my work. Miss having a tribe to which belong and I love your aggregator work. Yes, I ask for permissions, Yes use-but always give my opinion and build my post. Yes, it is the function of our character, and I love it.
    Thank you for your work. I love this.
    Amem, Holly!!

  • Reply Jessica Nichols May 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    @decor8: “I think bloggers have to think about alternatives, not always stressing over sponsors and ads, but look at other ways to work doing what they enjoy but that isn’t directly attached to their blogs. What do you think?”

    Holly, I totally agree. I think this idea is at the heart of the “new economy” — independent entrepreneurs having multiple revenue streams instead of relying on any one stream of income. It’s more work to create these streams at the start, but then the effort pays off because then you are not as vulnerable if one fails. I am working very hard this year to shift away from Etsy as my primary stream to having multiple income streams, just as you have set yourself up not to rely totally on blog ad revenue. I expect it will take the better part of 2013 to set all this up, so I’m looking forward to 2014.

    Not to mention, variety is the spice of life, right? Part of the fun of working for ourselves is not making ourselves minions to our own “corporation” wherein we sit at our desks all day doing repetitive things or only one thing. Last year, I created a list of values for my future employees and then realized this year I wasn’t really following them. I am my only “employee” and I’m determined to set a good example for myself. I’m already enjoying my work day much more. However, now I’m on an entirely different topic!

    It’s been wonderful chatting about all of this with you. :)

  • Reply Amy May 7, 2013 at 9:56 am

    thanks for this very important post holly!

    for some of us indie designers – we have a very small budget to advertise with and very small margins with which to find our way.

    personally i haven’t started a new blog (sad) and haven’t reached out to blogs for my etsy shop in ages (also sad) b/c i know that blogs had started to really cut back on blogging about indie shops/or items that others have blogged.

    it’s taken away from the magic that was really flowing online a few years back. the indie/design blogosphere doesn’t seem like the friendly free flowing place of opportunity it was just a couple years back :(

    there’s something to be said for supporting indie design – kind of like how you support local retailers (tough to do but also beautiful and world changing)!

  • Reply iris May 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Hi Holly,

    THX for sharing your vision about blogging, trends, content and so on.

    I just was teaching a class in the Netherlands : International Lifestyle Studies about trends and blogging, so this topic really speaks to me. Nice to read about it here and also all the comments.

    Many greetings, Iris | C-More

  • Reply tess0910 May 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Holly, first time ive commented, as I’m new to blogging and just starting to figure it all out. Posts like these are really useful and encouraging, it can be a little intimidating at first to dip your toes into a new online world where your not sure if your voice will be heard by anyone! It totally makes sense to share as much as we can, I feel this will help me get the ball rolling with my blog if I ever get a bit stuck, as there are so many talented creative people out there I discover all the time. Thanks very much!

  • Reply Kate May 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Really fascinating. Just planning a new blog so this has been so useful in helping me to think about the purpose of my blog and so on. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Janine Freudiger May 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Holly!

    Thank you soooo much for talking about this topic!

    I read your blog for several month’s now and today I felt the urge to leave a comment as sharing/copying seems to be a hot theme in the blogger community.

    As a very beginner in blogging I often strugle with certain “rules” that seem to exist in this community..I fear to do a “no go” and being punished for it. And that really blocks me and my creativity.

    So after reading your post and all the lovely comment’s I think I wont be afraid of sharing no more. I’d never copy someones Idea 1:1, but sometimes inspiration only comes from existing things. So I’d refer to the source of the idea and give the project my fingerprint.

    I really believe that the whole community could profit from a lively sharing!! Only the imagination of my blog being shared as a resource of an idea makes me smile:-) I’d be sooo happy to share all I have as well as I’d love to link to other blogs that inspire me. .!

    So thank you again for SHARING your thoughts!!

    Best Wishes from Switzerland, Janine

  • Reply Victoria May 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    @Gina @ Oaxacaborn: I couldn’t agree more!!!

  • Reply Allyson May 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks again Holly for another insightful and inspiring post. Sharing, collaborating, encouraging, inspiring are all things that, when initiated, return so many positive results. Just one “share” from you on twitter and I received more visits that day than I had for the previous three weeks (thanks for that)!! Staying true to your voice and vision and maintaining a strong focus is key to building a successful blog and business. Thanks for the continued reminders.


  • Reply Agata May 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Yes, yes, yes – fantastic post ( I just tweet it!) For a long time I did’t read something so inspiring. Thank you so much.
    You just answered so many questions going into my head. Yes, SHERE – beautiful things we like, without worrying if someone else did it too. We spread the good / talented spirit and create great community!
    I started blogging 2 years ago about children design. I love many things so I’m happy to post about it, and show other people good work. When a year ago I started my own design of children beds, it was amazing how it was welcome in the blogging world! so spontaneously people share it. After blogs, I started to get e-mails from magazines like Milk & Scandinavian Deco etc. about my design. They are watching that’s for sure! ;-) Blogging open my door to success in my own business.

    There is many beautiful blogs which post only they own pictures, ideas , but I find it this very difficult. ( maybe I’m not so much talented for that) but running my own business together with a blog its hard some time. I like your idea of doing many things , blogging and writhing, styling, this keep you very creative and inspiring. Thank you so much for all the positive energy! Greetings, Agata

  • Reply lei May 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Amazing post! Makes me miss blogging now! :) Very well said!!!

  • Reply Julia May 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Holy, your post was truly inspiring and made me thonk why I blog. I ended uo writing a post about this (it will bem ready tomorrow – i portuguese). My blog is nor my work, it´s something I do in my free time, but ir gives me lots of pleasure. Even thoug it´s not a “big hit”, the people with whom I connect through it are worth it!

  • Reply Ursula May 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

    What a wonderful post. Yes, each voice is important – no matter how big or small.

  • Reply bellaMUMMA May 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Totally inspiring – the reassurance I needed! : )

  • Reply gonnabe40 May 13, 2013 at 7:07 am

    i so agree with you.
    i do have my own original stuff on my blog but i enjoy sharing other’s beautiful stuff that i find and my readers may not know. i think that’s the whole purpous of it, as long as you give full credit and link to the original. i thing there’s no room for fear in our blogs. just a place to discover great things and inspire. i feel for me that blogging and reading other blogs is my private daily dose of happiness.

  • Reply Marta May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Very good advice!

    Funny I read this post today, after doing my own “Bloggs I follow”:

    Thank you!

  • Reply Desiree June 3, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Think there should be a balance between sharing and adding original content or self made pictures to our blog … Funny fact last week was Diane Keeron pinning from my (and some others) Pinterest boards… That same evening she was at Ellen’s show showing her book ! Ellen asked her where do you find your inspiration from? And she said laughimg: I just find it online

  • Reply Ann Dim February 4, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    I so agree with this! I tend to think my own opinion on trending topics is also an original content especially when I make connection with other topics or interiors, so this post finally makes me feel more like I am on the right path. And I usually don’t have enough time or people to help so I can make my own exclusive content based on interiors. Thank you!

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