Welcome to 2021! In our first post this year, we share some thoughts regarding our evolution as content creators and why we want 2021 to be a different kind of year in our journey.

Our creative journey as HDYTI began in 2015. Since then, our evolution as digital content creators has been closely linked to our own personal growth as individuals and as a couple.

Greater self-awareness, a greater understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and a series of defining opportunities have shaped our progression as writers, videographers, photographers and storytellers. Simply put, our creativity thrives when we thrive.

Then, once upon a time in human history, most of the planet was forced to pause and re-evaluate everything!

In 2020, like most of the world, our best-laid plans (including our proposed sailing retreat in southwestern Turkey) fell apart, clients, contacts and contracts disappeared like the morning mist. Industries we relied on experienced unprecedented (an overused word in 2020) change.

These global, as well as personal travails, called for an evaluation of our own priorities and goals for HDYTI. The previous year gave us more than enough time to reflect on our past work, our successes and failures and how we envision our future as digital content creators.

We’re not about to make any major announcements if that’s what you’re expecting to hear. We STILL enjoy expressing our creativity, sharing our personal stories, promoting brands whose values align with ours and engaging with our communities of interest.

However, looking back to 2015, the world looks very different in 2021. This demands that we approach our craft with a renewed sense of optimism and commitment and greater self-awareness.

So, perhaps you can consider this article as a restatement of our core values, and of our mission and our vision for our work as content creators. 

Even though 2021 is currently looking very much like 2020 (*&!!%! OR insert your own descriptive word here), we know, nay…we NEED to make this year count, creatively speaking. So what does that look like?

Remaining authentic and true to our values

Our audience constantly tells us that they love how down-to-earth and believable we are. We hope that our individual personalities and our bond as a couple continue to be reflected in the content that we put out into the world. 

Trust is something we’ve worked hard to build with our audience since we began. In 2021 and beyond, we plan to maintain that trust by remaining authentic and staying true to our values.

We will only always have the best intentions when we share any content on our digital platforms. If it doesn’t pass the filter of our personal values, you’ll most likely not find us promoting it. We may not always get it right, but we will try.

Staying conscious is not a choice. It is a call to action

As black people living in a multi-racial society and travelling in a world where, on occasion, we might be treated differently, vigilance is both a reality and responsibility for us. 

It is impossible to forget the events that occurred in May 2020 and ignited a cry that was heard around the world, including London.

That watershed moment deeply resonated with us and reminded us that we do not have the luxury of treating the calls for social justice as ‘flavour of the month’ topics, social media trends or a minor inconvenience.

The imbalances towards black people and ethnic minorities that exist in the spaces and places we occupy present a reality that we live out on a daily basis. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to tell our truth and create from a place of personal experience.

Through our content, we will seek to invite our audience into our reality, to start conversations and to keep alive our collective desire to see lasting change happen in our society. In 2021, you’ll see more of us.

Read: So You Want To Be An Ally To Black People? Let’s Talk About It!

Maintaining relevance in a time of uncertainty

While conducting a recent social media audit, it was no surprise to see that a lot of the accounts we follow in the travel, leisure and hospitality industries have fallen dormant. We’ve seen friends lose jobs and businesses as a result of recent events.

When 2020 began to decimate our pipeline of work as content creators, we were forced to restrategize and refocus our skills as best as we could. Stripped of the constraints of client deliverables, we rediscovered the joy of simple storytelling.

We were reminded that our creativity can find expression beyond the industries we’d traditionally depended upon. 

As we create content in 2021, we are listening to our audience. What we hear clearly is that their needs have changed within the past year. We can no longer dance with abandon in the fields where we used to play. 

In 2021, more than ever before, we need to create content that is timely, useful and relevant as we all try to navigate a period of global uncertainty. Therefore, our content (informational, inspirational, educational, entertainment or promotional) will try to find the right balance.

Focusing on value and long term relationships

For the brands and clients we represent and those we hope to work with, we make a renewed commitment to delivering value.

Influencer marketing as an integral part of what we do and how we pay the bills as creators. Efforts to recover, refocus and rebuild brands and businesses in 2021 will see many organisations demanding real value from the digital content creators they choose to work with.

We are keen to ensure that we are a good fit for our clients. We want to come alongside them as partners, helping them clarify their needs and positioning our (hopefully longer-term) relationship with them for mutual success from the very beginning.

Building community means that together we rise

Our communities of interest, those we’ve grown and those we are part of, remain among our most cherished assets. Our story as digital content creators is incomplete without acknowledging those who have supported us, invested in us and challenged us through the years.

Why stop now when we’re having such a good time? We take pleasure in seeing how we’ve inspired other content creators. We’re grateful for the platforms given to us by TBEX, Traverse, The Photography Show, Audacity Digi, Women in Travel and so many more.

We will continue to give voice to innovators in food, wine, technology and travel, to aspiring authors, other creators and social causes.

More importantly, we are invested in being a source of inspiration to YOU our readers and followers. Building community is a collaborative effort. A rising tide lifts all boats. So, please stick around and let’s rise together.

So how has 2020 influenced your plans for 2021? Leave a comment below.

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).