The world of content creators is deep and wide. There exists literally at least one creator for almost every interest or niche out there. Part of what I love about being an influence marketing strategist is discovering new, interesting, creative people who connect with audiences in fun ways. If they make sense to work with a client I’m helping, I get super excited.
In addition to the diversity of topics the world of content creation offers is the diversity of business models, sizes and scopes of a creator’s per view. What I mean by that is some creators focus on one channel or another and do the occasional brand deal to monetize their content there. That’s the standard expectation for an influencer I think.
Still others see their content creation as a business, not a hobby with an income. They may see each of their channels as a revenue stream and optimize their content and sales acumen accordingly.
Take that a step further and a content creator has the mind of a publisher. They’re a media channel and reach audiences in multiple ways. They have blogs and social networks for publishing written content. They have those social networks and YouTube to run their own television network. They have podcasts to have a radio network and so on.
Michiel Perry is one such creator. It’s no surprise she sees her Black Southern Belle channels as a media empire of sorts. She spent several years in the “real world” as a public policy communications professional. She worked for the U.S. State Department and Google, among other places. So she came into this content creator world knowing a thing or two about the business.
I wanted to talk to Michiel for a couple of reasons. I knew she was a successful content creator, but one who had expanded beyond that label to running a media company in the social-first world we live in. She’s also unique in that her social channels are very much about the community around Black Southern Bell, not just her perspective.
That’s old school social media. And I like it.
But, as I’m also want to do, I saw an opportunity to talk to her about race and its impact on her world that maybe we who don’t live in the world of the disenfranchised understand.
And as I culled back through her content to prepare for the conversation, one post caught my eye that I knew I had to talk to her about. I think you’ll appreciate that part of the conversation, too.
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Michiel Perry on Winfluence Transcript
[00:00:00] Jason: On this episode of Winfluence.
[00:00:01] Michiel: Generally I prefer projects that are multi-platform just that I think they work better and whether a brand wants it or not, a lot of times I’ll just put it on add value, cuz I’m like, I know this. Is how my audience works. They wanna see brands that are invested in them as a community. So like we had the type of audience that at our events, when we were doing them, they were like, what’s the hashtag for the sponsor, cuz we wanna support.
[00:00:26] Jason: There’s a difference between being an influencer and actually influencing. I’m Jason Falls, and in this podcast we explore the people, companies, campaigns, and stories that illustrate that difference. Welcome to Winfluence, the influence marketing podcast.
Hello again, friends. Thanks for listening to Winfluence, the influence marketing podcast. The world of content creators is deep and wide. There exists literally at least one creator for almost every interest or niche out. Part of what I love about being an influence marketing strategist is discovering new, interesting creative people who connect with audiences in fun ways.
If they make sense to work with a client I’m helping, I get super excited. In addition to the diversity of topics, the world of content creation offers is the diversity of business models, sizes, and scopes of a creator’s purview. What I mean by that is some creators focus on one channel or another, and do the occasional brand deal to monetize their content there.
That’s kind of the standard expectation for an influencer I think. Still others see their content creation as a business, not a hobby with an income. They may see each of their channels as a revenue stream and optimize their content and sales acumen accordingly. Take that a step further and a content creator has the mind of a publisher.
They’re a media channel and reach audiences in multiple ways. They have blogs and social networks for publishing written content. They have those social networks and YouTube to run their own television network. They have podcasts to have a radio network and so on. Michiel Perry is one such creator.
It’s no surprise she sees her black Southern bell channels as a media empire of sorts. She spent several years in the real world as a public policy communications professional. She worked for the us state department and Google among other places. So she came into this content creator world knowing a thing or two about the business.
I wanted to talk to Michelle for a couple of reasons. I knew she was a successful content creator, but one who had expanded beyond that label to running a media company in this social first world we live in. She’s also unique in that her social channels are very much about the community around black Southern Bell, not just her perspective, that’s old school social media, and I like it.
But as I’m also want to do, I saw an opportunity to talk to her about race and its impact on her world that maybe we, who don’t live in the world of the disenfranchised understand. And as I called back through her content to prepare for the conversation, one post in particular caught my eye that I knew I had to talk to her about.
I think you’ll appreciate that part of the conversation as well. Michelle Perry of Black Southern Bell is coming up, on Winfluence. Now, one of the ways I find great content creators like Michiel is by using Tagger. They are the presenting sponsor of this show and the influencer marketing platform I use every day to find, engage, hire, collaborate, review, and measure all of my influence marketing efforts.
I kicked out a report recently and made sure to plug in my costs per creator, you can actually put in how much you pay them or how much they charge. What that meant was the report that I sent to the client had calculations on cost per thousand impressions, cost per engagement, cost per view, and all those other metrics that the management team likes to see.
Now I could go on, but you know, I use Tagger every day. We’ve talked about it before on this show, you should check it out too. It might be right for your brand or your agency. Go to jasonfalls.co/tagger and get a free demo. That’s all I’m asking you to do. Just go take the demo. jasonfalls.co/tagger. Take the demo, see if it’s right for you, it might be. If it’s not, hey, no harm, no foul. You at least get to see cool software at play, right? jasonfalls.co/tagger. The creator who built a media brand, Michiel Perry of Black Southern Bell is next on Winfluence.
Michelle, we talked to a lot of influencers and creators on this show and I work with a lot of them in my day to day building programs and Strategies with brands, but I have to say, I don’t know that I run across many anymore that are so community driven, your, your content at Black Southern bell is rooted in this community concept where you ask people to share their content with you with the Black Southern bell hashtag, and you use a lot of their pictures and memories and such on your channel.
Tell me how that community approach to creating your channels kind of came about. Yeah.
[00:05:16] Michiel: So I started black Southern bell cuz I was planning my wedding that was in Charleston where I’m from and decorating my first home in Maryland, where I was living at the time. And I was looking for lifestyle inspiration that was Southern and black cuz I’m always Southern and I was black.
And I was going to Southern outlets and not seeing enough black content and going to black outlets and not seeing enough Southern content, especially that small town, rural content I was looking for. And so. I started, you know, searching Black Southern bell. Cause it’s like, that’s what my friends called themselves already.
So I looked up the hashtag, I looked up Google. I really couldn’t believe that someone didn’t have it already. And that’s kind of where the idea came from. And so I always knew that I could not represent every version of being a Black Southern bell. When I lived in DC, my friends are from Mississippi where my roommate was from Kentucky.
I’m from the low country of South Carolina, which is completely different, like the upstate. So I never wanted to be the face of Black Southern Bell, cuz I’m not the first, I won’t be the last, I didn’t invent it. So I always wanted to give homage to that. And I always wanted this site to be multi-generational, which is like what I think Southern lifestyles are, uh, that’s how I was raised. And so it never even made kind of cost my mind to not make it that way just because. It just never cross my mind to even think we not being a community
[00:06:30] Jason: Well, and I know it’s also a lot more than just a social presence these days. It may have started that way, but tell us about the full scope of the business. I know you are a media company per se. You’re also an agency. There’s a lot more to it than just you on social channels.
[00:06:45] Michiel: So when I actually started, I started with this site and social. and then we did an experiential event and that did really well. We did like a three city tour in Charlotte, Atlanta, Charleston.
We had sponsors, but then the digital just kind of took off and just made more money quicker. So like events, cost a lot of money. Take a lot of time. I don’t think you can ever like count the amount of hours you really spend thinking about event and actually planning and executing it from a former public affairs background.
So I was like, you know, the digital’s doing really well. I kind of fell into influencer with a financial services company reaching out to me for a six month campaign. So I’ve always kind of ended up in a lot of spaces. So that’s why we’ve always been more of a media company, but I’ve been heavily an influencer just cuz some brands were looking for my personal story.
Some brands wanted the audience and the lifestyle and the styling or whatever we were doing. And then we were just always making content, making content and then brand starter approaching us about curating content for them, for their audiences. That would resonate with their audiences. So I started working with like discovery and HTTV, and then ended up doing some video production projects with food network.
And we also started getting brands, particularly like travel, who wanted to diversify their audiences. So we kind of were taking an approach of consulting and the advertising. We have the audience. I had the public affairs background and it just made sense. So we’ve always kind of done a little bit of both because we’re oftentimes working with brands who have not done multicultural or African American targeted marketing in general.
And they really lean on us to talk to our audience, whether through the influencer side or even traditional publisher deals. So I’ve always been in all these spaces. The entire time , which kind of makes me a little, makes my head spin a little bit, but I may be working with the brand on the influencer side personally, then on the publisher side as well, and then sometimes even a production side and that may be happening all at the same time.
And I’ve even been trying to figure out what world I exist in. I’m just comfortable with being in all three. So that’s kind of, it’s a little different and I did not plan it that way at all.
[00:08:52] Jason: That’s awesome. So in your evolution to, you know, building something much larger than just the original concept or the social presence and influence through this brand, when did you reach the point and when did you know you reached the point of being able to really do this full time? Cuz you had a really nice career path in the, you know, quote unquote real world before this became a thing.
[00:09:15] Michiel: So I’m a real, crazy person. So I started this full time cuz I’m not like good . So thankfully I worked at a large company and I had stocks and I had saved and had a renter in the house. So I do not tell anyone to follow this path.
At all, uh, especially since now influenced our social and engagement and growth has just changed very drastically. And I knew a little bit about event sponsorships, which is why I also was like, lemme do an event. Cause at least I know how that kind of works. So I started full time. I did tell my husband at the time I was like, is it’s just my friends reading this site after a, I’ll go back to my boss and thank for my job.
But thankfully within a week there were people emailing. And saying like, I like this site, you know, there were friends and friends and friends, but at least it wasn’t like my five bridesmaids, uh, that I, that people kinda commenting. So that’s how I did it now again, I tell everyone, ask me this and they tried a lot of folks get advice and I’m like, don’t do that.
Unless you just personally like that kind of process. Mm-hmm I would not suggest that.
[00:10:13] Jason: Well, and you had, I mean, you said you had, you worked at a big company, you had some savings, you had some stocks, a lot of people do it and don’t have that, so.
[00:10:21] Michiel: Yeah, again, I still don’t recommend that in general, if you can, especially if you’re mostly focused on the social digital side and you can reinvest whatever money you’re making in your job into, growing and building your brand. But for me, I get very invested in a job. So if I’m at that job coming from a former public affairs side of it, it’s just like, I’m used to being on 24 7. So if I was not doing that, I would just have a site probably cause I’m just like, I, I give it to people who can do both. I’m just like not, I can do a lot of things at the same time, but I can’t do that separate in that separate. I couldn’t like in my brain at the time figure that.
[00:11:02] Jason: Gotcha. Well, you mentioned, you know, having a site and that kinda leads into my next question. You, you have a large following on Facebook. You’ve got a really nice Instagram and Pinterest presence, but you have two of my favorite content channels.
You have a blog, a website, and an email newsletter, which in this day and age with content creators, especially those coming up in the younger generations who weren’t around in the mid two thousands or whatnot, when blogs were a big thing. Let me ask this a certain way for effect. Do you have a blog and email newsletter because you’re really smart or really old school.
[00:11:34] Michiel: I think I’m just really old school. And I was taught to not build a business on rented land. Oh yes. The country. And so like you own everything so like, I think that’s like if you have a, a, you know, a country store, you own the building. So I didn’t even. Again, so I’m like a really techie and then a really country person.
So I’m just like, that’s just how I was raised. My grandfather had a hog farm and I’m just like, you just gotta have it. It’s yours.
[00:11:58] Jason: Well, I don’t know if it’s rural or if it’s Southern or if it’s country, but it’s actual it’s wisdom. And I think that it’s definitely something that I’ve tried to, you know, reinforce over and over with the today’s social media creators who have great Instagram and great TikTok.
You know, a you’re subject to an algorithm which can change, you know, by the minute B you’re also subject to their terms of service. They could just magically say one day, oh, you’re a content creator. We’re gonna charge you a thousand dollars a day to access our platform. And now where are you? And so having that owned content I think is critically important. And I love the fact that you do, and it’s obviously a great foundation for your business as well.
So, let me add a little bit of oomph to that as well. You may or may not know this, but your blog, your website ranks in the top five in search for the following terms. I did a little, a little preliminary research here to talk about this Juneteenth art, Harriet Tubman books, Black owned winery. Okay, just three terms that you happen to rank in the top five for in a Google search. Now, imagine someone is searching for those terms and I’m a, I’m talking really more to the people out there now who are listening. So imagine someone is searching for those terms. Not only are they going to discover this rich website with great content, but they click through to the page on, uh, Michiel’s site that ranks well for those terms.
And they see several paintings to purchase of Juneteenth art or let’s. And let’s say they sell for an average of 750 bucks, and Michiel gets 10% commission from the artist or they’re Michiel’s paintings. And she gets all 750 bucks. Or she has an Amazon affiliate link set up on the Harriet Tubman books page. Maybe you have. Tour packages with the winery so that people can sign up. And now you’re charging people $500 ahead to take them on a tour this winery. SEO is incredibly powerful if you know what to do with it. And I know that part of your background is from Google. So I’m thinking that this was very intentional on your part, right?
[00:13:51] Michiel: I try to be, I am definitely not the best SEO person or affiliate salesperson because of being in every single space. So early on, I ended up getting good CPM ads very early on. I was never in Google ads since. I jump to a premium ad network, even with a small audience because of the niche very quickly.
So that kind of has to happen. So we’re kind of like working backwards now. And I know those things and I have sold a lot of art for people, which is great. I love that. I love art, but I also get brand deals from it because we do cover that topic so well, so that, you know, it’s kind of worked out that way.
And sometimes I wonder because we aren’t pushing the affiliate that people are just organically doing it in the brands. I dunno. So it’s like, I definitely should do. On that front. I knew we needed good SEO and I knew there were certain topics that we could do really well in, right. I’m not the site that can take every single topic for tailgate, we do H B C U tailgate. Right? Mm-hmm we focus on historically black colleges.
For my audience, that’s the perfect audience. So we may not get all the searches of a generic tailgate page, but for the audience that we have, they’re hyperactive, like that version of tailgate, right. So I am now figuring out what the affiliate sales and what other partnerships look, brands looks like using this SEO because for good or for bad, there’s always been a lot of brand deals.
I never believe in just only doing brand deals, but we monetize in many ways. So it’s always been, you know, in my business consultant ask, I can’t believe you don’t do this this way. I was like, but I also do the publisher side of a project with the, the CVB. So like, yeah. And that’s the publisher deals, so that’s kind of, that’s like what we’re figuring out now.
So I’m like, So old school that I skipped that part. And we do have a lot of, I use a lot of the data for clicks of like learning like clicks and presenting that with our projects. So that’s been really helpful, but I do need to monetize other things.
[00:15:44] Jason: Well, and the ideas that I were throwing out there it’s actually, I don’t think that you you’re so old school that you didn’t do it right. I think you’re so old school that you actually did it in reverse, which is even more powerful because what you did was you focused on the great content that would attract the search engine. And you got it now. It’s just, okay. We have this opportunity to capitalize on it. So it it’s just that you did it a circuitous route, and now you have the opportunity, which is fantastic.
Now I also want to get into the relationship you have with brands and sponsors and content in a moment. But I, I also wanna know, where are you driving this ship? What does Black Southern Bell become in the next three to five years?
[00:16:23] Michiel: Well, I hope that we can hire more editors who take on the expertise of like the different topics, right? Like I always want more perspectives on the site. We’ve always started off with other writers, cuz like I said, I could never try to convey. Every regional and cultural nuance of being black, Southern woman. So I wanna just be able to hire more folks, which is what, you know, always encourages me to do the larger projects, which sometimes I’m get a little tired, but that’s, you know, where we’re going.
I wanna add more video, still stay independent, work on more production projects, but do what we’re doing, but just reach more people. I’m really happy with what we get to do. And to do more of it and hopefully hire more rural companies to do it. So that’s just been like, kind of, what’s driving me to grow and do more of the publisher.
We have a micro influencer network that we are activating, which we did kind of informally, I guess I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. I was like brands to come to me and I’m like, oh, can I invite these three other influencers that we like into this project? And they’re like, okay. So we were. doing it informally.
[00:17:27] Jason: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:28] Michiel: And then just like, kind of have turned it into actually formally doing it.
And that’s cuz I have a, it just natural came that way. Cuz when I was in public affairs, I did a lot of grass tops work, which is very similar to influencer work, but just in the public of affairs side.
[00:17:41] Jason: Good stuff, we’re chatting with Michiel Perry, the brilliant mind behind Black Southern Bell. When we come back on the show, I want to ask about how brands and collaborations fall into the mix on her site and channels. But then I also wanna ask about the challenges she faces in being a black content creator, because if we don’t, we miss an opportunity to collectively work against those problems. Don’t go away.
Back on Winfluence with Michiel Perry of Black Southern Bell today. Okay, Michiel, let’s talk about brands. Do you remember the first time you were approached by brand to sponsor content or Collab or whatever on social channels?
[00:18:22] Michiel: I do. I thought it was faith. I was running in between doing a lot of event stuff, so I was so focused on like the event business side of things. We were still doing the site, but I was using the site more to market for this event. So that was like very old school, right? Like you have a site, you have good followers, you make an event, you get sponsors for an event and, you know, the site can be extra marketing to the event. So I thought that’s where we were gonna go was have an annual event and a year long tour of different things.
And a brand emailed me. It was American express for a six month campaign. So that’s kind of how I ended up very early on. It’s my first influencer deal, that is not the norm. So that’s why I always told you I’m like, don’t necessarily just go full time with it, but they were doing a travel card focused campaign. And again for my audience, that made sense for them. And I just kind of went with it from there and it got very busy after that. So yeah, that again, I tell people I’m like that it’s not a normal experience. I don’t really know. I still, to this day, I, don’t not really sure how they found me. Uh, I’m sure there’s some sort of Facebook analytics that they were looking at.
[00:19:24] Jason: Well, I, I would say that it is normal. If your content really strikes a chord with people, I mean, you obviously hit on a gap in the marketplace in terms of content, community and engagement mm-hmm and American express was smart enough to notice that and say, oh, wow, look, there’s an audience here, that’s truly actively engaged in something, so. Good for you for doing that. You are right though. For the most part, American express is not gonna be the average creator’s first opportunity because they’re probably running a big campaign, but.
[00:19:53] Michiel: Yes, so that was, you know, very different, but I enjoyed it. And what I was, I will say is they, let me kind of do what made sense for my audience. And that’s generally the case because my niche is so specific that yeah, it doesn’t really make sense now.
[00:20:10] Jason: So what’s your approach to brand deals. Now, let’s say I’m a brand reaching out to you to partner. Where do you ideally want me to play in your ecosystem?
[00:20:17] Michiel: I mean, the biggest thing for me is that brands understand that we are talking about a lot of heritage and tradition in history, we don’t do like really trendy things. I don’t do any like the selfie campaigns where it’s like, just like the product in me, cuz that’s not what our audience looking for. And generally I prefer deal projects that are, multi-platform just as, I think they work better and whether a brand wants it or not, a lot of times I’ll just put it on add value cuz I’m like, I know this is how my audience works. They wanna see brands that are invested in them as a community. So like we had the type of audience that at our events, when we were doing them, they were like, what’s the hashtag for the sponsor, cuz we wanna support, right? So like, because they’re so committed to the site and this history and heritage and brand that they wanna support the brands that support the site because of them having such an affinity for this brand. I just take that really seriously. And so, and oftentimes when a brand comes to me, they’re really bought into this community and audience. I’m not a traditional influence. Like you go to my Instagram, it’s certainly not a traditional Instagram. I don’t have any specific aesthetic.
I like everything. I’m a couple years away from a crazy porch lady, uh, out of it. And I have like a very eclectic style. I like the Brighton airy Southern. I like the Southern Gothic. And like for some brands that’s just confusing to them, right. Sure. But you know, my audience is multidimensional. I believe people are mostly multidimensional and we get all sorts of people for different reasons.
And I’m okay with that. So that’s like the bigger thing of like, if I’m working with a brand I’m generally looking for brands that wanna do that storytelling them, like they’re sending me a brief and I’ll say back, Hey, this will better for my audience. And they’re like, you know what? That does make sense.
Like maybe you’re sending me a brief. You know, cleaning the house and using a cleaning product. And I’m like, I’d like to talk about preparing for hurricane season and the traditions of my goal of community and how that looks different for us. Right. And that they understand that, like it’s not the type of messaging they may normally use, but for my audience, that’s what they’re looking for.
[00:22:21] Jason: Yeah, that flexibility for on the brand side is very important because it helps the creator obviously communicate in a very genuine way with their audience and is makes for a much better, uh, engagement. All right. I wanna talk about how race factors into all this your, your brand obviously is very much race forward.
Black Southern male. My guess is. That means you get a lot of attention from brands who are very intent on partnering with diverse creators, which is awesome. But is there a difference between a brand that’s really interested in partnering with you and one that’s checking a box and hitting a quota. And how do you react to those, if there is.
[00:22:57] Michiel: So I think I get, I don’t get a lot of that actually. Because with our black content, a lot of times, some brands when they’re focused on black content, they may be focused on more urban markets, use culture. We are literally rural communities and an older audience. So oftentimes I get brands that are interested in my audience.
That’s older than me. When I say older, that’s relative, I’m a millennial, but a lot of my audience are well beyond millennial second homeowners that world. So I get kind of in like, And then I get the Southern brands that are just interested in getting the regional south. And that’s what they’re worried about or rural content, you know?
So they’re checking a box because they haven’t done it, but they know that they should, and they are looking, they were looking for the right audience for that, that talked the way they talked, but also had this diverse audience. So I admittedly because again, I’m sure there’s plenty of brands who may never wanna work for me, cuz the site is called Black Southern Bell.
And that’s okay, cuz my audience, I want them to buy things with a brand that like wants their money. Yeah, and I intentionally, you know, named it that way. So, you know, I, it does clear out a lot of that, that even if they wanna check a box, they could check a box somewhere else probably instead of me and get, you know, a larger audience and different things.
So it’s been unique because of that. And I also kind of probably attribute that to having the corporate background and the public affairs background. Sure. In saying like, Hey. We’re not gonna do a campaign about like a condo in the city, in like a millennial going to brunch in DC. DC is the South. If we wanna do that version of it, we can talk about the families that are from Southeast and have been there forever.
And their tradition of seafood and their Southern roots to North Carolina, South Carolina. Right? So like, if so that like I’m pretty, my public affairs burn always tick them. Like this is not gonna work and no audience talks back to me. So if they feel like I’m like, if they’re saying you’re doing too much of the fine dining dinner parties, we wanna see some more down home stuff.
They’ll let me know, right? So we do, you know, I don’t have that particular issue, but I also get like very unique friends. They are probably never work with a black creator or a black publisher cuz I’m on both sides. But the regional and the, you know, the cultural Southern aspect, the regional aspect, the rural aspect just fits so perfectly that we don’t have that issue.
And they’re, like I said, they’re coming to me for that expertise of like. We haven’t just talked about like black hall farmers before we’d like to target this type of audience and do it authentically, cuz we haven’t done it for years. So it’s a little different just because of having that black, rural, Southern audience, a lot of campaigns maybe focus on like New York, LA the big cities. And we’re just not that.
[00:25:39] Jason: I wanna share with you kind of, as I was kind of going through some of your content, I, I stumbled across a piece of content you posted that really made me think, and it made me think about institutional racism and how someone like me, a middle aged white guy. Not me personally, because I’ve, I’ve thought about this and had conversations about institutional racism and race relations and whatnot for many, many years now, I’ve been very purposeful in trying to educate myself and whatnot, but people like me. I came across this piece of content.
You had, uh, a posted a painting on your channels a few days ago. It was a, a very beautiful poignant family scene of two little girls doing ballet in the living room. I think it appeared to be maybe their mother playing piano maybe while the grandmother looked on and the room was in, you know, a fairly well to do Southern home grand piano, plush, carpeting, fireplace, a painting on the wall of the painting, all that good stuff.
So I was having a conversation. With my son about this painting, I showed it to him and was talking to him about it. And I said, you know, there are people out there who are white people who would look at that and have this little voice in their head that say, that says something looks outta place. Like this is a well todo African American family.
It’s a well to do house and there’s an African American family in it. And that institutional racism, I don’t think it’s an intentional racism, but that that’s what institutional racism does to your brain. You see a scene like that and you think, well, that’s not. A black family in the south doesn’t live in a house like that, right. That’s where that institutional racism comes in. Now, let me flip that around. And I was just trying to make that point to my son. Let me flip that around a little bit and tell you why I absolutely love that painting and the fact that you post it because as a middle aged white man, I see that and it reinforces the truth about the black experience.
It turns that institutional racism notion in my head away and shows me a better truth about what it might mean to be black. And that it also means a mom playing piano while the daughters practice ballet, the grandmother looks on, that’s not a black thing, that’s a human thing. And that brings us together and shows us how in common we are.
That’s an example of what I really love about your content. It can be a bridge for people like me and people who aren’t quite where I might be on the spectrum of understanding we have to be more aware of how racism enters our minds and defend ourselves against it. I think your content can show people. Who aren’t black, how similar not dissimilar the black experience is to our own. So while your content serves a black or a black Southern bell audience, I think it also has the potential to serve a broader audience in a very powerful way. I know that’s not a question, but I just, I just wanted you to hear that.
[00:28:29] Michiel: Yeah, no, no. I mean, I definitely get like, you know, we cover like a lot of veterans topics. My dad is a veteran, so we cover and like quite frankly, a lot of black women in the south joined the military. For various reasons. And we are certainly a strong portion of, you know, the community. So I get a lot of folks who like, this is a different experience for them.
Even when we did events, we had a very diverse audience for the events and I, and I definitely keenly like, understand that and I’m aware of that, but what’s interesting is like, I think my Southern audience is like the most aware of varying types of black people, because like, you can be a, like here we have historically white colleges.
When I was up north living up north, like people maybe have never heard of historically black college, but down south, that’s not the case. Right.
[00:29:13] Jason: Mm-hmm.
[00:29:14] Michiel: So some things I don’t actually have to explain. And oftentimes when I get an influencer marketing person or a brand that really loves me, whether they’re a black or white person, I find the person this Southern, right.
They’re like I’m from Georgia. I grew up in Atlanta. I know all about Morehouse bellman. I’ve gone homecomings with some friends from high school. So it’s always interesting. The assumptions that people, especially outside of the south black or white may make about, you know, what people like are like in the south.
So it’s like, I have, you know, if you live in Orangeburg, South Carolina, south home state is. The thing to go to, no matter what, you’re back, like, that’s what they do. That’s their tailgates to go to whether you’re black, white, purple, blue. So that’s what’s and I think it just reminds people and I get so many followers, black, white, and, you know, everyone who like send me in things from their small town.
So we get that connection of just like that’s small town audience. Like I really do get a lot of people have a small town heritage or rural heritage. They’re like, they live in New York now, but they’re like, I’m from Mississippi. So that’s also been kind of what I didn’t recollect was going to be the case like that.
No matter where you live, you’re still from, you know, round where my parents live in round South Carolina, which is like the funniest name to write. Oh my God. I remember we were moving. We stayed with my parents. We moved back down. My husband had to told the job to like send the mail to round us afternoon.
They’re like, how do you spell that? It’s like round space, Capital O . It’s not good. South round. All one word. Or round up two, they can’t quite decide how they wanna keep it there. So I’m not keenly aware of that. And I, you know, I like that. I think it’s like really interesting and it’s always interesting.
The, I do get the question a lot and people and people, and I’ve actually gotten the most projects from my like regional Southern agencies. So it’s always like interesting what people may assume. It almost sometimes flips when it comes to my site. So it’s interesting.
[00:31:06] Jason: Good stuff. Well, keep doing what you’re doing.
Michiel, where can people find you on the
[00:31:10] Michiel: Innerwebs on Facebook? You can find us Black Southern Bell and Instagram blacksouthernbell_BSB, Pinterest black south bell. And of course, blacksouthernbell.com. Hopefully you’ll sign up for our newsletter.
[00:31:29] Jason: I do really, really enjoy talking to content creators about their paths and how they are managing their business, and I’m always inspired and excited when I find someone like Michelle, who takes it to a new level and builds something big for her and her family and her community. So go check her out at all those channels.
Blacksouthernbell.com is a great place to start. If you have any interest whatsoever in, uh, the black community in, in the south, particularly great content, just a good education, even if you’re not black or from the south. Or not a Southern bell. So go check it out. Blacksouthernbell.com. Great stuff there.
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