Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Making a living from media consultancy

Media consultancy is a relatively new business in Nigeria. Of recent, some mass communication professionals have been making a living from offering media consultancy services to corporate organisations and individuals.

This line of business, many say, has resulted in people hiring media consultants, who package important events, among other things.

The clients of media consultants include individuals, who prefer to contract out the planning of social events.

The Chief Executive Officer, TOPCOMM, Mr. Tem-Tope Ogbeni-Awe, says media consultants are people with special skills in event packaging and management.

They are experts at managing logistics, which is not so visible, but a very important aspect of great events.

"The fact that many of them come from mass media background is an advantage," he says.

But apart from organising events on behalf of clients, he says media consultancy saves time and reduces the stress for clients.

"Media consultancy can translate into real wealth if properly managed," Ogbeni-Awe asserts.

He recalls starting the business in 2000, having practised journalism for over 15 years, in addition to venturing into publishing.

He notes that depending on the scope of the proposed firm, a prospective investor needs about N1m or more as start-up capital, although, he explains that his initial capital was less than N20,000.

According to him, a media consultancy business can be located where thriving businesses are located, such as in metropolitan cities and state capitals.

Like any other business, he says one needs to build strong contacts in the private and public sectors to win contracts.

Ogbeni-Awe submits that having viable relationship with the print and electronic media will be of tremendous help, adding, "One needs to go out there and tell the world what he does in terms of publicity, individual and corporate image projection as well as event packaging."

The success of any organisation depends on the quality of personnel it recruits, thus, he says media consultants must be educated in relevant disciplines.

Ogbeni-Awe adds that persons wishing to join this line of business must be proficient in spoken English, in addition to having exceptional writing skills and exposure to information technology.

"We are in the computer age, and media consultants generate and disseminate information regularly and this is passed on to the outside world via ICT devices.

"Therefore, getting exposed to information technology is not negotiable for media consultants," he stresses.

He says recruitment for consultancy firms can be done through direct advertisement, referrals and sometimes, through established recruitment agencies.

To excel in media consultancy, the practitioner must be innovative and willing to adapt to current trends, he says.

"You must deliver prompt services to your clients, be trustworthy and determined. You also need to attend seminars organised by other people to develop your capacity for innovation," he admonishes.

The Chief Executive Officer, NET Communications, Mr. Raphael Omoh, says he started his firm with an initial capital of N150,000 some nine years ago.

He, however, notes that a media consultancy firm of the same magnitude will require about N800,000 to set up today, considering the current economic situation in the country.

Omoh says that well trained staff of five are enough to begin a meaningful media consultancy firm.

To become prominent in the business, he says, one needs to extend his tentacles beyond attending other people's seminars for self-development.

He recommends that consultants should regularly organise seminar where current issues are discussed, adding, "You need to organise seminars occasionally for the public to, among other things, know about the existence of your firm.

"Look at economic trends in your environment, or neighbouring countries and bring out burning issues for discussion.

"Then, at the seminars, give out flyers to participants, which they can read to get information about your company. It is a big strategy for advertising your media consultancy firm."

He, however, warns that the seminars must be well packaged to attract the right audience and results.

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