Kevin Lloyd is the founder of Lloyds of Columbus, LLC, and ColumbusBlack.com, and co-founder of MYLE (Make Your Life Entertaining), Venture Suite and Color Coded Labs. As an entrepreneur for more than 15 years, Lloyd has established strong brands and innovative marketing campaigns by leveraging lifestyle-based marketing, social media and event activation engagement strategies.
Most recently, he has gained recognition for his community-based efforts to establish an ecosystem supporting Black and brown communities to address the systemic inequities related to diversity, equity and inclusion for startup founders, technologists, and business owners. His news and entertainment company, ColumbusBlack.com, was a member of Local Media Association’s Amplify Ohio collaborative, which worked on revenue-generating ideas and business transformation initiatives for one year.
Lloyd was also a retail executive with more than 20 years of operational and customer service experience in his prior career. As an LMA board member since 2022, we asked Lloyd about his experience in the industry and the transformation that is critical to sustainability.
How has the local media industry transformed since you started working on it?
My wife Sherry and I moved to Columbus in 2002, and unless you went to certain churches or certain stores, you didn’t know about what was going on. It lacked a certain news source, especially talking specifically to the Black community — those trying to acclimate to a city and understand its values, where people congregate, and things that were going on at that time. You really had to seek those things out.
Since starting ColumbusBlack, we were able to see how everything evolved. When we started doing email blasts and newsletters electronically, there wasn’t a term for it. It wasn’t what we see today. There was no social media. So I’ve literally been able to see the media industry change dramatically from when we all received newspapers at the front door.
The thing that is unique about us is that we were always digital versus print. We’ve had to evolve over time and we tried a few different things. We became an omni-channel platform — whether information on our website, email blast, our text blast delivery or social media channels. We’ve never been big on just having journalists write for us; we delved into the blog space, too. Versus just having written articles on topics, we adjusted and did a lot of virtual discussions on key topics. With the content that’s created, we build up this catalog of information and history. That footprint has been created, and that’s there forever.
What initiatives or areas of focus do you think will have the most positive impact on your organization’s future?
We’ve got to stay on the front end of digital platforms that are generating millions of views. That’s how I feel like we’re going to be able to stay relevant. We’re looking to increase our team over the next few years. As we do that, a lot of it is going to be around people with that digital expertise and community outreach capabilities. We’re also looking at a younger demographic on our team to help us stay on the forefront of how we can leverage technology to be relevant.
LMA has really helped me with looking at how we can accept donations. People value what we provide, but we’ve never asked them for donations. That may be a way to generate revenue in addition to advertising. ColumbusBlack is really involved in the community, tied to different events and activities. It’s not just what we can do online, but how we can leverage what we’re doing online to create real-life, in-person activities. Shaking hands, meeting people — there’s nothing that really replaces that. It’s a prime opportunity to really capitalize and grow our brand in real life.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the local media industry today?
I think the biggest challenge is adapting to change. There’s a book called The Lean Startup written by Eric Ries and I think in the media industry, what we need is to adopt The Lean Startup methodology. You’re always testing something new and different and then you learn from it. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you drop it and you do the whole process again. There should always be a team within each organization that’s testing a new idea, a new concept, trying something different. If you don’t have a culture around that, you’re going to be behind the curve.
Why are you excited to join the LMA board of directors?
Based on my experiences on the digital side and perspectives from a leadership standpoint, I think I can add value to the board. And then I also know it’s going to be a value-add for me. I’ve already grown from this experience. I know that I will continue to grow because when you are around amazing people like the other board members, we are pretty forward-thinking. When you’re in that environment, you can’t help but to grow. I’m looking forward to my growth personally and professionally because of the ideas that are being shared.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.