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In a world full of filters and social media trends, it can be intimidating to put your full self out onto the Internet. But as trends and platforms change, Michiel Perry notes that it is your personal story and authenticity that will give your content longevity.
“I would encourage everyone to tell your personal story and the things that you do, whether you're a content creator or you work for corporate America, or you run your own small business,” she shared.
In this episode of Tell the Story with R.H. Boyd, Sinclaire Sparkman Carr, proofreader and member of the R.H. Boyd editing team, sits down with Perry to answer the question: ‘How can we create content we’re passionate about?’ Together they’ll talk about how to use what makes you tick to fuel your storytelling and how to remain authentic in the process.
Six years ago, Michiel Perry was searching for lifestyle inspiration that beautifully combined Black culture with Southern culture for her upcoming wedding. Disappointed by her search, Perry decided to take matters into her own hands by creating “Black Southern Belle”, a digital lifestyle brand amplifying the voices and narratives of African American women with a Southern connection.
“I went to GoDaddy and I looked up the url ‘blacksouthernbelle’ because I know a lot of my friends called themselves that and people were using the hashtag on Instagram and it was available and I decided to start full-time from there,” said Perry.
Despite not having a concrete plan in the beginning, Perry was confident that there was an audience that existed and could resonate with her interest in Southern and Black culture.
Her brand initially began with wedding content, inspired by her own wedding planning process, then it gradually evolved into other topics such as home decor, marriage, family, and even travel. Soon, her followers began to offer their own ideas for the “Black Southern Belle” which has made the process an authentic and communal effort.
“They would send me a lot of content and say like, oh, we'd love to feature it. We'd love it if you could feature it, “ Perry shared. “So just as much as I would come up with my own content ideas, the followers would also kind of tell me what they wanted to see.”
“Content is anything to me that you're making to promote your brand, your business, your service, or even an initiative that you're a part of,” Perry explains. “It can be digital. It can be in-person, it can be traditional, but I think it's a new thing in the digital sense, but it's something that's always been going on.”
Since the emergence of the pandemic, content has shifted greatly especially in the digital space. Virtual programs have grown in popularity and short-form video content has skyrocketed thanks to platforms such as TikTok. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, Perry advises current and aspiring content creators to embrace new and old techniques.
“One funny thing I always say about content, some of the most popular things that I have featured are when I actually feature paper things like books and stationery. So as much as people like new forms of content, I think they still also like the old forms just as much.”
When creating content for an audience, it’s important to keep authenticity at the forefront. Trends come and go but people will stay because of who you are and what you stand for.
“As you make content longer and longer, the trends are always going to change, right? And it's really hard to keep up with things that are always changing, but having your viewpoint and your perspective and your authenticity is what people are coming to you for,” Perry advised.
Perry’s biggest piece of advice for those who are interested in content creation is to confidently share your personal story and the things you enjoy.
“At the end of the day, a lot of what happens in life is people connecting with you on some personal level with who you are.”