Nikki Woods, author of Easier Said Than Done, is a Multi-media personality, Social Media and Personal Branding Coach, Motivational Speaker and Voice-over artist, the senior producer of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the most successful syndicated urban radio show in history, and the CEO of Nikki Woods Media. Born in Rock Hill, Missouri, she studied education at Howard University in Washington D.C. and journalism at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.
She can also be seen and heard on a variety of programs, including “The TJMS Community Watch” on WSRB Soul 106.3, their Chicago affiliate; and “Beyond the Studio” celebrity interviews on BlackAmericaWeb.com. Her “Mamas Gone Wild” website and weekly blog entries on BlackAmericaWeb.com highlight–with insight and hilarity–the ups and downs of being a hard-working radio producer by morning, an ever-patient classroom mom by afternoon and adventurous mother of two by night.
She is a highly sought after keynote speaker, who serves as an OWN ambassador, as well as an ambassador for Pretty Brown Girl Inc., and has earned the title of Global Visibility Expert who continues to reach millions using multi-media to empower and train audiences with messages and methods for excelling in business, marketing and personal growth. She is also co-founder of the creative firm R2U, where she utilizes her highly specialized skills in social marketing to serve her clients. She is currently penning her second and third novels. You can read more about and from her on her website www.nikkiwoodsmedia.com.
1.) First let me thank you again for taking time out of your very busy schedule to do this interview. You have quite an extensive career resume in broadcasting and producing from being a reporter for CBS Radio Station KMOX, a morning show co-host for clear channel communications, to presently being the Senior Producer of the Nationally Syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show”. What about the broadcasting and production field attracted you? Did you always know that this was the direction you wanted to go in as far as your career?
For most of my early years I aspired to be a lawyer but discovered it wasn’t really my passion. I tried teaching for a while too. But when I found radio, it just satisfied my itch for informing, influencing and entertaining people. Once I discovered I was good at it I was determined to play on a big field. For 10 years I was key member of a morning team in Chicago on a top urban station. As much as I loved being on the air, I realized the real influence and power is behind the scenes. So I looked for an opportunity to produce what most consider the most influential urban syndicated show in the country. I can’t say I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in from the beginning but once I got on course I made certain that every step I took was taking my career forward.
2.) Now in addition to being a well known producer, you’ve also written a novel “Easier Said Than Done”, and are currently working on your second and third novels. First, can you tell us a little about your novel and where the readers can get their hands on a copy? Second, is it a big departure from producing & broadcasting to venture into writing or have you found it relatively easy to transition from producer to writer?
Like many authors, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. The beauty of being a writer is that you can have another profession at the same time. Most good writers draw from their experiences. My first novel, “Easier Said Than Done,” borrows a lot from life. Its main character, Kingston, works in the music industry, an area I’m close to and have been able to observe after all my years in radio. And thanks for asking, you may order a copy on Amazon.com.
I’m good at multitasking so I am able to write and continue with my jobs as Senior Producer, CEO of Nikki Woods Media, and mom to two wonderful boys.
3.) You have what seems to be s special talent for navigating the world of Social Media and for gaining a wide range of Global Visibility. What do you attribute your successful navigation of the Social Media atmosphere to? What advice do you have for those (like myself) who struggle constantly with maintaining a steady Social Media presence?
After much self-reflection I’ve figured out I’m most comfortable speaking to large groups of people. That’s what I’ve done my entire career in radio and along the way, I discovered Social Media that allows me to do a similar thing. In the end whether it’s broadcasting on a local station, preparing and managing content for syndicated show that reaches 8 million daily or engaging with thousands via Facebook and Twitter, it’s all about building relationships. I’ve been very successful at fostering friendships, business associates, etc. via Social Media. I think the key for people who are skittish about using Social Media is to make them realize it is no longer a luxury but a necessity if you plan to compete in business. It isn’t a fad and the longer you resist it the further behind you will be when you do decide to get on board. Look at it as an amazing opportunity to be part of a vast community for networking and collaborating and taking your product and service to another level, particularly for writers who want to become published authors. We should always be looking for ways to expand our audiences.
4) You’ve developed a really specific brand for yourself. When people mention your name you automatically know who they are talking about because of all the work that you have done in the broadcasting and production field. How important do you think branding is for those who want to become successful authors? How much harder do you think it is for authors who are either just starting out or who don’t have the extensive background such as the one that you have developed to build up that brand for themselves? Do you think that an author who doesn’t develop themselves as a brand will not be quite as successful as the one’s that do?
Building a brand for yourself is everything, especially in the publishing world. The key is to begin building that brand before you even begin writing your book. Gone or the days when you got a book deal and just waited for the publisher to do your marketing. If you can afford a publicist, social media specialist and whole team to put your project before as many people as possible, God bless you. But for most of us, it’s a one or two-person operation and the sooner you build a level of anticipation about your book, the better. You build your brand first by identifying who you are, what your message will be and how you will share it with your audience. The next step is to identify your target audience, find out what they want from your and how your will provide it.
5) You do a lot to help other entrepreneurs and aspiring writers. I’m actually honored to be a part of two of your Facebook groups; New Year, New Book, and Gorw Global. What fuels you to help others the way that you do? How do you stay so motivated and, on top of that, find the drive within you to keep others motivated and inspired as well? Who inspires you?
To be honest, it’s taken me a while to figure out that my true calling is to help others become successful writers. I’ve come to realize how important it is for woman particularly to tell their stories. It’s cleansing, it’s freeing and it allows us to bless others as well. I’m inspired by people like you who are stepping out and taking ownership of their lives. For too long we’ve relied on others to define us and essentially control us personally and professionally. Most women have written page after page in their diaries and journals not even realizing that their stories are nuggets of gold that need to be shared. I want to turn writers into authors because it takes them to another level. If you want to have hobby, keep writing but if you want to have a business, become an author.
6) You’re a very busy woman with multiple career avenues from producing, to owning your own media company, Nikki Woods Media, in which you do speaking engagements, coaching, and of course, writing. How do you find focus for all that it is that you do? What is your creative process like? Do you find it hard to find time for yourself?
I believe that when you’re truly working within your gift, the right doors will open at the right time. So, I won’t say it’s easy to do all that I do but if feels right. It isn’t stressful because I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.
As far a my creative process goes, ideally I like to get up early on the weekends and write. I do better outside of the house at my local Starbucks. But I also am able right at my son’s baseball practices, if I have to. I love writing so, it isn’t really a chore. When I do have time for myself, I consider that a great time to write. But I also have a good balance I think. I go to movies, take vacations, and love spending time with my sons.
7) You’ve done so much over the course of your life. So what’s next for you? What are you currently working on and when can we expect to see your next book?
I’m currently adapting “Easier Said Than Done,” into a movie which is extremely exciting. And I’m completing the first draft of my second novel that should be published by this summer.
8) I feel like so many of us writers, artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
My write 2 Be is to recognize that collaborating with others is the key to taking our creativity to higher heights.