2BRealTalks- Marcia Dixon “The Woman Behind The Name”
When you hear the name Marcia Dixon, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For some, it is
When you hear the name Marcia Dixon, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For some, it is she is the founder of MD Public Relations, for others, it is she is the woman with the contacts list and for many others, she is the reporter engaging her followers with the latest news taking place in the community. Our editor in chief Natasha Ferguson was intrigued like many others to get to know the woman behind the name that carries “Marcia Dixon” so well.
Check out our exclusive interview with the UK’s Christian PR lady as she talks to our editor about life, faith and business.
2BReal: What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
When I was growing up I wanted to be a nurse – not sure why as now that I’m an adult I can’t stand the sight of blood. My ambition changed and I decided that I wanted to be a social worker.
2BReal: Did you go to university? If so what was your degree and how did it help you launch into your career?
I came of age in an era when people from low-income families got a grant to go University. I studied for a Social Science degree in the belief that I was going to pursue my dream to be a social worker, however, God had other plans.
2BReal: What sparked your writing passion?
Believe it or not, I didn’t do a lot of writing when I was growing up. I did, however, love to read and also spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting. When I was a teenager I thought so much that I even came to the conclusion that God didn’t exist. This view changed totally when I went to a New Testament Assembly youth crusade (as they were called then) and was convicted by the sermon and made a decision to become a Christian.
2BReal: How did you get into journalism?
I got into journalism by a fluke. Whilst studying my degree at London South Bank University, I got the opportunity to work as a part-time receptionist at The Voice to earn extra money. Whilst doing the job the person who did the Soul Stirrings column before me was promoted, and my good friend, Juliet Coley, who was The Voice marketing manager at the time was given the responsibility of finding someone to write the Soul Stirrings column. She said to me who do you think should do the column and I said I could and she gave me the job.
What was funny was that when she told the proprietor of the paper about her decision, he wasn’t too keen on me having the post and sacked me before I started. Juliet, however, put in a good argument and I was re-instated. I was oblivious to all this drama surrounding my appointment until I was l informed after being in the job for a while.
2BReal: What have been some of your highlights paving the way for Christian journalism over the last three decades?
Highlights…I’ve interviewed so many people over the years and I’ve got so many memories. Now let me think. Here are some of the stand-out people for me:
Bishop Leon White – the father of TBN presenter and pastor. Michael White – founder of Bibleway Church. Attending the first ever Barbados Gospel Fest. Guest artists included Yolanda Adams, Vickie Winans and many others. It was a great event.
Meeting and interviewing Bishop T.D. Jakes. I do enjoy his ministry and it was such an eye opener interviewing him. He is one of the few church leaders who use every mode of communication to spread the gospel. This includes conferences, film, social media, books, church services etc. I use his approach as an example Christians can follow when I give my PR talks on how churches can utilise communication tools to spread the gospel.
2BReal: How have you overcome challenges you faced throughout your career?
One of the challenges you face when being a journalist as opposed to being a sycophant and writing what people want you to write is that you won’t be liked by everybody. I used to find this hurtful at first, I’d get dropped or was disliked if I wrote things that people didn’t like but after a while, I took it in my stride and just embraced God more, and built friendships with people that would like me no matter what I wrote.
2BReal: When and why did you begin Marcia Dixon Public Relations?
I started MD PR about 9 years ago. I started my company after I had left a PR company that had specialised in working with churches and ministries. The whole aim of MD PR is to help church utilise PR and the wide range of communication tools to spread the gospel. I started MD PR because I realised churches/gospel artists/ministries weren’t doing so and wanted to help them.
2BReal: How has MD Public Relations revolutionised the message the artist wishes to give to the public through your business?
I’d like to think that my business has made gospel artists realise that they must devise and implement a PR strategy to help raise awareness of their music.
I spread this message via my social media, and through an event, I organise with Roy Francis called Pathways to Music Ministry success. The events, held bi-monthly, aimed to increase artists understanding of how the Christian music scene works here in the UK, and provide information on how to devise a PR strategy.
It’s my desire to continue sharing with not just artists, but churches and ministries how devising and implementing a PR strategy can work wonders. It can raise the profile, attract supports, take your ministry international, help churches/ministries raise funds, increase influence. The list is endless.
2BReal: What are your top five tips for new entrepreneurs and businesses entering the media industry?
My top five tips for new entrepreneurs and businesses would be;
- Follow your passion. Set up a business doing what you love.
- Do your research: learn about the area that you want to do business in so that you understand everything about it.
- Get your pricing right: Once you devised the product/service you will provide, make sure you sell it at the right price.
- Devise and implement a PR/Marketing plan in order to sell your product.
- Provide great customer service. If you do, you’ll get repeat orders and your reputation will spread.
2BReal: If you could write a letter your younger self, what advice would you give to Marcia Dixon?
When I first started out writing about the black church community in The Voice, the late 1980s it was challenging. I was opinionated, wrote about issues that weren’t openly discussed in church and generated discussion. It’s not like how it was now, where there are a plethora of media voices writing and talking about the black church.
I would write this letter to my younger self:
- Believe what God says about you in his word, wholeheartedly. Reflect on what the Bible says, meditate on it, and live it out. Doing so will build your faith, self-confidence and enable you to deflect the negativity you’ll experience from others.
- Be willing to take risks. Don’t play it safe all the time but take the occasional step of faith outside of your comfort zone to explore new horizons.
- Get a mentor. Learning from their life experiences, career success and spiritual insights will help you get to where you want to go much quicker and enable you to avoid the pitfalls that you can encounter when you journey through life relying on yourself.
- Develop soft skills that will enable you to talk speak well in public, exude confidence and positivity, build rapport with others quickly etc., Your ability to project positivity and get on with others plays a major role in helping you to achieve your God-given goals.
- Pray intentionally. Pray according to the leading of God’s word and the spirit, but also share with God your plans/ideas/passions for your life. He will listen and if what you pray for is not for you He won’t give it to you. (Proverbs 16:9)
- Memorise scriptures whilst young. It can be harder to do so when you get older.
- Be intentional about the things that you want in your life and pray for. A life of faith is a life of action (James 2:14-26)
- Be content with who God made you be. You are enough. Don’t aim to be anyone else as you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ (Psalms139:14)
- Always aim to be friendly, kind and generous to others. And if you need to share hard truths you can make them more palatable if you share it with love (that includes tough love and a little honey)
- Life is to be lived. Enjoy it. Have fun. Travel. Keep things fresh by experiencing new things. Be forever learning. And always, always acknowledge God in everything that you do.