The Publishing Post
Interviewing Charlotte McCallum from Tandem Collective
By Rosie Burgoyne and Michaela O’Callaghan
For those that are unfamiliar with Tandem Collective, how would you describe the company in one sentence?
We are a group of freelancers who are as passionate about books, film and TV as we are about this company. Alongside our communities on Instagram and Tik Tok, we work with publishers and, more recently, film and TV distributors to help produce creative and engaging marketing campaigns that we are not only proud of but have an incredible amount of passion for.
What was your route into working at Tandem?
So, I have a bookstagram account which is how I found Tandem in the first place and then I applied to go to an in-person event with them that they were putting on to promote a new podcast about serial killers (which tells you almost everything you need to know about me!). I met Naomi there, we got talking and I mentioned that I was working towards a job in publishing. When she started to expand the business in March 2020, she gave me a call and the rest, as they say, is history.
As a Campaigns Manager, what does a typical working day at Tandem look like for you?
What a question, our days here are SO varied! Depending on what is going on, I usually get up, tidy up my inbox and respond to my urgent client emails. I'll check in with the members of my pod and then check the Global socials, because I manage that account day-to-day. I then write my to do list and crack on. Day-to-day I can be working on up to ten active projects, so it's important to stay organised. Depending on the day, I will have pitch meetings to go over new projects for the team, campaign wrap-up decks to work on, creator contracts to write and approve, all while staying in touch with the community and managing our live readalongs/projects.
What has been your favourite event or campaign to work on?
It's so hard to pick favourites because we work on so much cool stuff, but I think if I had to choose, I'd go with the very first event that I organised and ran for Punching The Air in November 2020. This was such an amazing event, we really played into the themes of the book and had so many amazing contributors. We had three amazing spoken word artists, an artist from the Graffik Gallery spray painted the cover for a temporary installation there and the whole event was hosted by Guvna B. It was amazing!
What would you say are the three key elements to planning a successful event?
Organisation, communication and confidence. And a great team, of course!!
What kind of considerations help inform your choice of influencers when deciding who is invited to participate in an event or readalong?
At Tandem, we are constantly refining our algorithm to be as fair and inclusive as possible. Our database keeps track of every application made by influencers and how long they have been waiting for an acceptance. Using this data, we prioritise accounts that have been waiting the longest and allocate applications randomly. Where applicable, Own Voice reviewers are either prioritised or invited, any further requirements are tailored to each campaign depending on the title and the client's needs.
Although we do have a set following quota agreed with clients for each campaign, this number is met through a collective of different-sized influencer accounts. As we are seeing through data analysis, accounts with bigger followings do not always equate to higher engagement rates. We prioritise nurturing micro-influencers by reserving space for accounts under 1000 followers for each campaign. Our allocations process is constantly evolving through evaluation and open feedback.
How much involvement do you tend to have with publishers when planning a campaign, or does this differ on a case-by-case basis?
It definitely differs from campaign to campaign. Sometimes our clients have a very clear idea of what they want and they come to us to make that happen but other times it's just the seed of an idea and they give it to us to run with it.
Do you have any plans for any future tandem collective classes, or workshops in the pipeline?
We are just preparing the second cohort of our Tandem Collective Community Classes which will be kicking off in February, so we're really excited about that! We are always looking to the community and what they need, everything we do is informed by and for the community, if they need something, we'll provide it!