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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Upskilling for the Marketing Department

The UK is starting to see some slight economic improvements since the start of COVID-19, which have in turn allowed businesses the security to slowly open back up and offer more positions. Follow along with us over the next couple of weeks as we identify department-specific tips for aspiring publishers.


Marketing or Publicity?

In recent job adverts it’s become clear that there needs to be transparency between these two overlapping departments! With all publishing departments, there is always some cross over – which can make moving jobs between them handy. Marketing involves tailoring a campaign according to metadata and consumer insights, working with authors to drive engagement, booking paid media like digital advertisement, and working on in-store promotions. Meanwhile, publicity involves various interactions with authors (media training, strategist, organiser), arranging book events and tours (working closely with the sales team), arranging book reviews and being the overall cheerleader for a new book! 

Valuable Qualifications

There are a lot of online marketing courses that will undoubtedly be helpful for differentiating yourself from the competition. However, few meet industry-specific standards, unlike those mentioned below:

  1. Google Digital Garage: With Google being the biggest international web browser ever used, they’re a highly credible source on digital marketing.

  2. Chartered Institute of Marketing: Another internationally recognised brand who provide their students with skills that are highly sought by recruiters.

  3. The Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing: Though not possessing the chartered status of CIM, the IDM also comes at a reduced price for the financially conscious.

  4. The Publishing Training Centre: Well-regarded in the publishing industry, the PTC offers a reasonably priced self-study course or an advanced half-day course for an introduction to marketing. 

Self Marketing on Social Media 

A publishing hopeful's social media presence is important regardless of whichever position you are applying for. However, this advice is doubly important to those considering marketing: 

  1. DO make your personal social media accounts private: their contents can be used against you and even if you think you have nothing to hide, it is best to just be sure; you can never predict the beliefs of your future recruiter.

  2. DO follow, actively engage and familiarise yourself with other publishing professionals’ social media and their campaigns to notice how they communicate with their audiences; being a silent follower won't get you recognised!

  3. DO NOT use your public-facing social media account to express strong political affiliations even if they are in line with public opinion; it completely defeats the purpose of separating the two and causes doubt in recruiters of your ability to be unbiased.

  4. DO NOT bombard other publishing professionals with incessant questions and requests; being remembered for the wrong reasons is worse than not being remembered at all.

Proactive Tips

For those willing and ready to take the extra steps needed to stand out in a market as competitive as the marketing departments attached to publishing houses, we have a few extra pointers that can be the ace up your sleeve:

  1. Contacting local independent booksellers and offering to help them with their advertising needs is a good opportunity to develop new skills and build your CV. 

  2. Creating a website consisting of various mock marketing paraphernalia could be an inventive way to create an online portfolio.

  3. Due to the recent uptake in audiobooks, an innovative way to demonstrate an awareness of publishing trends could be to host a podcast surrounding your favourite books.

  4. In preparation for a marketing role, keeping up to date with press releases could help during interviews; writing good copy is one skill that could be applied to this area of publishing.

  5. Publishing departments are all interconnected so reading up on how they work together is a good step to take. Try Alison Baverstock’s How to Market Books (2015) or Inside Book Publishing (2014) by Angus Phillips & Giles Clark for plenty of industry insights and general practice.

Bookstagram & BookTube

One of the easiest options for getting a foot in the door in social media in publishing is setting up your own Instagram/YouTube! Both are a popular space to share your current reads, interact with the publishing community, but most importantly understand audiences and statistics – you have a direct insight into marketing campaigns and their successes. By engaging with your followers, posting reviews and learning the differences between platforms you have first-hand experience.


We’ve mentioned LinkedIn in previous issues and we won't stop as it's an all-round great resource for networking and learning. If you’re at university you may be eligible for LinkedIn learning for free:

Following on from our focus on upskilling for certain departments, join us for Issue 11 for how to upskill for an editorial role!


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