AN INTERVIEW WITH A BRANCH OF HOLLY

Holly is a 25 year old blogging tips and advice blogger from Preston, Lancashire. She can be found at abranchofholly.com.
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging around three and a half years ago now – wow that seems like a long time ago! It was something I was instantly attracted to. A Branch of Holly kicked off on Blogger but after two years I started to take it a lot more seriously and made the switch to Squarespace along with refocusing my message and content. Since then, I’ve never looked back.
Why did you start blogging?
I always LOVE answering this question. There are so many reasons why I started blogging. I first came across the blogging world when I was looking for new workouts to try and instantly thought it was something I could do. It was nine months before I started my Masters course at university, I’d just come out of a really bad place in my life and it felt like this was all meant to be.
I wanted somewhere to document my life so I thought a blog was the perfect way to do it, alongside building up my skills. At first, I had no idea what I was doing but I just fell in love with it. Never in a million years did I think I’d be teaching people how to get a breakthrough with their OWN blog and have been shortlisted as a UK Blog Award!
How do you make your blog stand out?
Three main things: being myself, being transparent and being as valuable as possible.
I think your personality is what makes your blog your own. Your voice, your story. If you’re not honest and not totally you, people will be able to see that. Blogs started off as online journals, as a way for us to document our lives. Although the industry has changed to a very business-oriented point of view, being yourself is still what matters the most.
Being transparent is also important. I’ve found that the more I share with my readers, the more they want to share with me and the more loyal they become to the A Branch of Holly brand. Telling them how far I’ve come, how I’ve got to where I am today seems to inspire and encourage them that they can do the same.
And finally, being valuable. I want my readers to keep coming back to my blog for a reason. I want them to feel like there’s a place for them in my community. Whenever I write a blog post, I try to make sure that I cover every avenue and make it as easy as possible to digest. By providing your readers with value, you’re showing that you’re putting them first – that’s how to make a blog stand out!
What are your hobbies?
Apart from blogging? 😉 I play the piano, I’ve got two bunnies to look after and I’m a big fan of cooking, so it’s safe to say I’ve got enough to keep myself going! My fiancée and I love going on walks, exploring new places and working our way through TV shows on Netflix.
What keeps you motivated?
I’m naturally a really motivated person, it’s one of the qualities I value most in myself. What used to motivate me and what motivates me now has completely changed.
Now my motivation is this: to be able to build a career that not only suits my desire for a flexible lifestyle with my family, but one that I’m passionate about and can do in a way so I can control my destiny.
Have you got any exciting plans for 2017?
WELL! As I mentioned earlier, I’m a finalist for my category in the UK Blog Awards, which is SO surreal. I get to go the awards ceremony in April, which is going to be like a huge networking event so I’m super excited for that.
As for other plans, I’m really working hard this year to get my freelance business off the ground. I’ve started a course to guide me and I’m feeling really motivated to see where this all takes me. There’s also a few more plans for the blog in the works, but you’ll just have to wait and see…
Who is your blogging inspiration?
The blogging industry as a whole is my inspiration. I think there are so many fantastic bloggers doing amazing things at the moment and they should all be celebrated, no matter how big or small. Some of my favourites are Zoe Linda for her transparency, Sara of Me & Orla for her unique and effective Instagram tips and people like Hannah Gale and Victoria from InTheFrow, who are both true businesswomen in their own right.
What are your blogging tips and advice?
Crikey, I’d be able to fill a whole book with my tips and advice! Don’t worry though – I’ll just pick out some key pointers.
You have to be determined. You won’t know what you’re getting yourself into until you actually do it. There’ll be times when you want to give up. There’ll be nights when you come home from work and just want to cry because there’s not enough time to do everything. But you’ve got to want it and love it enough to keep going, because I promise you – the results will be endless.
Make real connections with people. Don’t just tweet a blogger every so often. Find like-minded people who have the same vision as you and who can help you reach your goals. The blogging community is huge, but all you have to do is start a conversation and you never know where it might take you.
My final tip is something I always go on about on my blog and that’s being consistent. Show up and your readers will show up to. Create a posting schedule that works for you. Write content that’s jam-packed with value. Promote yourself and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
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