Ever wondered what publicists actually do? Leicester-based entrepreneur, Nisha Sahdev, who set up her own PR agency five years ago, uncovers the myths of the industry and tells us it’s not all about sipping cocktails and rubbing shoulders with the stars on the red carpet. In fact, working in the world of Asian entertainment can be rather tricky!
How did you get into PR?
I was working as a journalist for the BBC for five years, producing live radio shows and music events and then went on to work for Aljazeera News. But it was my good friend Surj from RDB who requested my help on their Sing is Kinng Collaboration with Snoop Dogg. He wanted me to push it out and create some awareness around it, so I wrote a press release and sent it out to all my contacts. The response was amazing! The song went no1 all over the world and the press response was so great that I decided to take on more freelance PR projects. Word got around and artists started calling me for my PR services. I worked freelance for about one year until I decided to set up the business (Sahdev Media) and take it on full time. Five years on and the rest is history!
What does your job actually involve?
We connect the artists to the press and media, which is then transmitted in every household all over the world. We manage music releases, film releases, personal PR, beauty and fashion etc. The work varies from client to client but we work on publicising and maximising awareness for our clients. We handle the marketing, Television and radio interviews to enhance their product/services.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I usually start my day at 7am. We work across various regions from India and Canada to Dubai and USA, so we have to be awake in their time zone to provide them with the correct news to go out on a specific time and date. I’ll begin my day with my overnight emails and clear all pending enquires. I’ll get to my office for 10am where my team and I will then go through all the latest news to see what’s being said about our clients. Photo and video shoots usually begin from midday onwards which means depending on our workload projects, me and my team will generally be at shoots, photo shoots and press days with our clients. The hours are long but I enjoy every minute of it!
Can you tell us about some of the project’s/artists you’ve been involved with?
We have worked with various national and international clients from Bollywood music producers RDB to representing Pakistani model and actress Veena Malik on an international level and represented her through her FHM scandal in 2012. I have been honoured to work with reputable Bollywood production houses and beauty and fashion brands, representing and promoting their businesses to household names.
You recently moved to Leicester, what was the reason behind this move?
I needed one base! I was born and raised in Leicester I moved to London for work five years ago. I set up the business and found myself living on the M1. I now live in Leicester and travel as and when required. I love Leicester it’s definitely changed and I see a lot more development in the city.
Was it difficult setting up your own business? How did you go about it?
I don’t think it was hard setting up the business that was the exciting part, the difficult part has been keeping it running for five years. When I decided I was going to set up the business I wracked my brains thinking of a business name, it took me forever but I opted for my surname. I then went on to getting a logo developed and business cards printed. These were the first few steps, but after that I started to network and spread the word around about the business. I would advise newbies to get a good accountant on their side from day one; they will guide you through the write paperwork and legislations. This could save you from trouble in the future and lastly get a good team! Teamwork makes the dream work!
What’s the best thing about your job?
I meet people from all walks of life from celebrities, bloggers and journalists all around the world. I am blessed that I get to travel the world with my job and meet lovely people along the way. Some have become good friends and some I continue to work with. I guess my second favourite thing is developing music acts and celebrities. The transition from a boy/girl next door to a superstar is a lot of hard work and involves plenty of training, interviews, and PR work.
How are you looking to develop your services/company in the future?
I will be launching my record label by mid 2013. It’s something I have been working on for a few years and now the time is right. It’s exciting, but this way Sahdev Media will not only offer PR services, but will also have the platform to release music. We will be looking for new artists so watch this space!
Do you have any advice for other people who want to get into PR?
Know your field. I have too many people coming to me saying they want to get in to PR but it’s not that simple. Learn your field, network, you won’t become a brilliant publicist overnight, it will take time, effort and patience. It’s taken me 10 years to get to this point in my career. So expect to work hard, be good to everyone and never cheat in business. I think the younger generation nowadays think PR is just glamorous and you get to meet all the stars. There’s a lot more to it and I’d recommend everyone to at least work as an intern to get the hang of it before making a decision.