Caylyn Sheldon, of TeaTimeThoughts, On Her Viral TikTok, History Podcast, & More
History classes can feel tiresome. However, Caylyn Sheldon of TeaTimeThoughts brings history alive on her TikTok and podcast, making it exciting and accessible to anyone watching. Today, she shares her marketing and research process and what her most viral post has been so far.
Who is Caylyn Sheldon?
Caylyn originally grew up on the West Coast and has always been fascinated with history, literature, and culture. After earning her undergraduate degree in History, she moved to London to pursue a master’s degree in Museum and Gallery Studies.
A couple of years ago, she started her history podcast “Tea Time Thoughts,” which delves into history, arts, culture, music, literature, and more, all in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.
When asked about her signature content, Caylyn shares, “History jokes have become more of my signature, which there’s a really great community for on TikTok, and it’s been great to be able to be a part of that community.”
She explains that helping others learn while making them laugh is something that she really enjoys.
She adds, “I find that even if history isn’t something that comes to you naturally, or it’s not something that you’re normally interested in, if you are given a joke that provides some context for it, then not only do you get to have a laugh at it, but you get to learn it as well.”
@teatimethoughts Here’s my humble attempt at a Maria Romanov cosplay in honor of her birthday yesterday. I adore her. #history #cosplay #historicaldress #historicalfashion #historytok #historytiktok #romanov #romanovs #romanoff #romanoffs #costume #vintage #anqitue #anastasia #onceuponadecember #fyp #foryoupage #russia #russian #russianhistory #oldphoto ♬ Once Upon a December (from Anastasia) – Emile Pandolfi
Her history jokes were some of the first videos that got traction on her TikTok. She recalls waking up one morning to a large number of notifications after she began posting history jokes and being really surprised.
“I’ve been working on that momentum ever since, and it’s been great too because not only do I get the chance to follow some new trends and find out more about popular culture, but I get the chance to go through and continually research things that might fit well for a new video.”
Caylyn’s Research Process
Caylyn explains that many of her posts are rooted in topics she is especially passionate about, such as English history, on which she wrote her senior thesis.
However, she enjoys taking trending sounds or music and matching them with history topics that are new to her or ones that she didn’t learn much about in school.
“Sometimes there’ll be a trending sound or some sort of trending skit that will go around online, and I can dig into some more obscure topics because I’ll go through and try to research historical figures that would fit that certain skit or historical subjects that would work on that as well.”
She mentions the time she learned about The Opium Wars, which she learned about briefly in school, but later came back around for her content.
Another memorable TikTok post is one she produced that shows an edited photo of a young Joseph Stalin. Out of context, many people would consider him to be handsome.
During a history class, one of her professors showed this photo, asking the students if they found him handsome. When they agreed he was, the professor flipped to the next photo of Joseph Stalin as an adult. This “trick” is a fun moment many history professors have done on their students, inspiring Caylyn.
@teatimethoughts This might be ridiculous but oh well 😂 Anyone else caught up on the Liam Payne shenanigans? #liampayne #onedirection #liampayneedit #onedirectionvideos #history #historymeme #pirate #pirates #1D #hook #parody #fake #liampayneinterview #fyp #comedy #piratesofthecaribbean #foryoupage #xyz #xyzbca ♬ Pirates Of The Caribbean – Main Theme – He's A Pirate – Geek Music
Caylyn created her own version of this in a TikTok post. Today, it has over 1.8 million views and helped her gain a strong following.
The Tea Time Thoughts Podcast
When asked about her podcast content, Caylyn shares, “A lot of it is very history-focused, but I also sometimes branch out to other things that I enjoy. I’ll do different discussions on literature and classical music and art.”
She notes that her podcast has been on the back burner for a little bit, while she’s building her TikTok. However, she’s working on a research and planning period for the next season of her podcast. She’s also looking forward to hosting several interviews on her podcast.
Caylyn’s Marketing Strategy
“I wanted to make sure that I created content that was something original, but also something that has a commonality with trends. A lot of people tend to find success by sort of picking their niche, and since history has kind of been my thing ever since I can remember it was easy to pick that as my niche.”
In addition to originality and choosing a niche, Caylyn stresses the importance of having passion for your content. Scheduling her content at optimal times has also been helpful for her growth.
“One thing that I found really helpful was doing research on the best times to post and…how some days of the week tend to perform better than others. Sometimes, I’m in a bit of an interesting position too because I’m living in London right now… and I noticed sometimes when I traveled back to the states to visit family, I have to readjust my schedule.”
She explains that not adjusting the posting times usually results in lower views and engagement, cementing the importance of choosing optimal posting times.
Future Plans & Goals
Currently, Caylyn is working as an intern at museum collections. She also works a job where she helps with the visitor experience side of museums. In the future, she is excited to see where she can take her career.
“I actually haven’t done much content creation specifically for museums. It’s been a bit more of a side project for me, but I’ve been wanting to look into more positions where I can work with social media and marketing for museums because it’s become a really powerful tool to connect to people.”
She adds that connecting with audiences online was especially important for museums during the pandemic.
@teatimethoughts There were a ridiculous amount of student in that class that were willing to overlook his many crimes. #history #historytiktok #historytok #historytime #historybuff #historymeme #historymemes #russian #ussr #soviet #communism #maxism #socialism #politics #political #russia #realitytv #fyp #foryoupage #meme #memes ♬ Listen to Shawnee – Avrage foot enjoyer
“I’ve been helping upload museum collections to their online website so that people can interact with and see what the museums have in store. So, even if they can’t go visit, they can still get a look at the artifacts online.”
When asked about changes she’d like to see in the creator marketplace, Caylyn shares that she would love to see more diverse content.
“I hope to eventually get the chance to start some ways [for] raising money for different charities and especially things that’ll help, related to the forensic field and the research field because…different heritage sites really suffered a lot of losses during COVID and… so many different organization really struggled to come back.”
In closing, Caylyn shares that she is excited to post the season finale for season two of her podcast soon and start posting season three this autumn.