Friday 18 October 2013

2Inspire Inspirational Women in Business Profile: Shiloh PR

In this inspirational interview we meet Evadney Campbell MBE, co-founder of Shiloh PR and learn about her journey to business success.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
There’s no real ‘typical’ day as I work from home but, once I’ve returned from the Gym at around 12pm, I generally log onto my laptop and go through all the emails. I will then deal with the ones, which I may have seen but, not responded to yet and, check all new correspondences.

I’ll go into the kitchen between 2:00 – 2:30pm and make myself lunch which I will eat while checking our social media sites, Facebook and twitter. I’ll schedule tweets, check connections and respond to any conversations, which have included us as well as identify opportunities for our company to get involved with, like this one.  I’ll do both my personal sites as well as Shiloh PR’s.

I’ll work on proposals for new businesses, schedule meetings with potential clients or networking.  I have no specific time to finish work and will normally be on and off my laptop until I go to bed, which is around 12:00am.  I wouldn’t recommend this way of working but for me it still does not feel like ‘Work’!

What made you start the business and how did you get started? 
My business partner and I have both worked in the broadcast industry, for BBC for decades.  I presented a music programme with specialism in black music, while she worked as a producer on specialist music shows for BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra.  For several years, we were being constantly asked to help music event promoters with getting media coverage for their events. 

In 2004 we were asked, by Authentic Real Music whether we would carry out public relations for a music tour he was planning in Europe with some major reggae artists from the UK and Jamaica. We enjoyed the process so much that we decided that we would like to do more.  Over the coming years, we did several similar projects culminating in our most major project, - acting as the European Public Relations company for the relaunch of one of Jamaica’s largest music festival, Reggae Sunsplash.

Finally, in 2010 we decided to take things much more seriously so, after indulging in our ‘hobby’ we formerly launched Shiloh PR.  In December, I decided to fully commit to building Shiloh PR into the major entity we believe it can be, by giving up my job with the BBC to work full-time running the company.

We’ve been fortunate to date, to have been able to finance the company from our own personal finances and through the work it generates itself.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Shiloh PR has achieved a level of success many more established companies would be thrilled to experience.  This is mainly due to the professionalism of the founders.  To date, all our work has been awarded through repeat businesses, word of mouth and recommendations. 

We are however particularly proud of our work with the One Love Peace Festival:

Shiloh PR was responsible for specialist media publicity in addition to media accreditation for the One Love Peace Festival.
The sold-out event, held at Wembley Arena, featured performances from Busta Rhymes, Shaggy, Sean Paul, John Holt, Levi Roots and many more.
Shiloh PR scheduled over 70 interviews, organized press accreditation for over 100 media personnel, wrote artist biographies for the official website, and provided editorial features for international magazines, newspapers and online sites.

Although we are proud of all the work we’ve done, the most impressive was being chosen to carry out European PR for Reggae Sunsplash, which was one of the biggest music festivals in Jamaica.  This was awarded to us primarily as a result of recommendation of a Artist’s manager with whom we had worked in the UK the previous year.  He thought we were the most professional PR outfit he had worked with and recommended us to the organisers of Sunsplash.

Re-launching the company as Shiloh PR and Media Training Agency in June this year at the Jamaican Embassy was also something we could not have foreseen when we decided to start our own company.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
 We’ve been very fortunate to have, secured work solely from recommendations during the period we ran the company on a part-time basis. Our biggest challenge now, is securing new business and introducing additional areas to our portfolio.

There is an increase in the number of companies who are now offering similar products to Shiloh and targeting the BME communities.  Shiloh PR however recognises that keeping up to date with the media and in particular social media will keep them constantly ahead of the competition. 

What are your future plans for the business?
We’ve set ourselves a major challenge – “Shiloh PR will be the No. 1 Black owned specialist PR company in the UK within five years”.  To achieve this, our key strategy is developing strong brand awareness and building trust in the Shiloh PR brand to achieve results. We would like to be the go-to PR company for those wishing to reach BME audiences through the media.

The company also recognises that working in partnership with others is also desirable for long-term success.  To this end, we are developing a group of affiliates with whom we can work.  This will enable us to pitch for major projects, which would otherwise be too large for Shiloh PR.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Start the business years ago.  I would ensure we were better financially secured for the initial period whilst the business is getting established.  I would also have thought broader about my target group perhaps concentrating on potential corporate clients from the outset.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It is important to encourage people, particularly women to follow their dreams because, many of us get caught up in our daily lives and, stay in jobs which do not make us happy but, which we believe we need so we can live.  Following ones dreams allows you to do something you are passionate about and as someone once said, means “you no longer have to work a another day in your life”.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Go for it.  It is fulfilling and rewarding when you make a living from your passion and the thing you love doing the most.

There are lots and lots of Public Relations companies operating in this country so, you have to find your own USP and whilst it’s important you’re aware of your competitors, try to find your own niche.

Go for it but do your research.  Try to have some finances available for some months and be aware that clients do not always pay on time.  It’s all about your contacts database and relationship with the media. 

What or who inspires you in business and why?
Oprah Winfrey. I’m inspired by the fact that she is self-made and has become this phenomenal person despite her difficult beginnings.  I’m also impressed with her philanthropic ethics.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

To contact Shiloh PR:
Tweet: @Shilohpr
Evadney Campbell, MBE, 07716 289 171
Karen Campbell, 07811 472 007

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