Upskilling for the Publicity & Public Relations Department
The Publicity and Public Relations (PR) Department(s) is committed to developing and delivering book campaigns. Their main goal is to connect books with readers, and they do this through working closely with authors, journalists and media outlets. They also work in tandem with Sales and Marketing, so there is an overlap in skillsets across the publishing industry.
As always, we have a selection of online courses to share. There are many resources out there for the publishing industry, so it is never too late to sign up for a course of interest.
The Independent Publishers Guild runs a Publicity Essentials course, providing an insight into the principles of book publicity and lots of practical advice.
The Publishing Training Centre has a variety of e-learning modules and tutor-guided courses to choose from, including Creative Copywriting for Publishers.
Google Digital Garage offers a range of courses, but The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing may be particularly useful for those of you interested in publicity and PR.
Open Learn has a free online course in Understanding your Customers. Insights into consumer behaviour and market segmentation, knowing an audience for effective product targeting and market positioning are essential parts of publicity and sales.
It’s important to know how to run a digital campaign and engage with digital audiences, especially in the current climate. This Open Learn page on The Role of Social Media in Marketing provides some insight into how the world of marketing, publicity and PR work together in a commercial setting.
The Bookseller Marketing & Publicity Conference ran virtually last year and has some recorded resources. Check out some of their videos and keep your eyes peeled for more Bookseller events in 2021. The Society of Young Publishers regularly run virtual events as well, so be sure to keep up to date with their social media activity!
LinkedIn is a valuable networking platform and also provides useful opportunities for learning new skills, or developing existing ones.
Public Relations Foundations explains the value of maintaining a good reputation, consumer expectations and how to utilise various media forms to increase outreach.
How to Create a Perfect Elevator Pitch provides a general overview of publicity plans for a certain book or series and covers some of the key considerations.
When upskilling, there will be certain skills that are more key than others, depending on the company, job role and department.
Organisation: planning for book campaigns typically starts nine months ahead and media coverage should begin six months before, to create a buzz and maximise sales. Even after a book takes off, you continue working on it through interviews and book tours.
Creativity: sometimes campaigns won’t work, so you need to think outside the box. Editors will explain what can be done for their book, but you need to execute their vision.
Communication: form good connections with different departments and external sources such as journalists and television presenters.
Media Engagement: it’s important to stay informed of current affairs that you can draw from for publicity strategies, providing it’s relevant. Engage with social media to know what’s trending and which audiences find certain trends appealing.
Soft/interpersonal skills: these include, but are not limited to, problem-solving, teamwork, flexibility and leadership. Reflect on your own experiences and uncover your strengths.
Maintaining a foundational knowledge of some creative software is a fun and productive use of your time:
Adobe InDesign: understanding how InDesign works and what it’s best used for may be useful and could give you an edge over other candidates.
Adobe Photoshop: this software goes hand-in-hand with InDesign and Illustrator, which are all good options when it comes to making creative promotional material.
Canva: this is free to use and very intuitive. With templates you can use to experiment with, it is easy to navigate and a good alternative if you don’t have an Adobe license.
Lucidpress: this is free for students, or if you’re not a student, you can take advantage of their free trial to become familiar with this platform, often used in design and brand marketing.
That’s all we have on how to upskill for the Publicity and PR department – thanks for joining us! Tune in again for Issue 16 where we will cover upskilling tips for Production!