My Job in 5: Bethan Barker, Head of social and senior digital marketing manager, Penguin Random House UK

My Job in 5: Bethan Barker, Head of social and senior digital marketing manager, Penguin Random House UK

Describe your role

My job is twofold: I lead the social strategy and output for our consumer brands Penguin, Platform, Puffin and Ladybird. I also manage digital marketing and brand campaigns for Puffin and Ladybird, ensuring all our incredible authors, characters and books are featured.

What do you like best about your role?

I’m social media obsessed and in my free time I run two blogs. Having a job which captures that passion is a privilege! PRH has invested in building direct relationships with readers and the social media reach we now have across our brands speaks for itself. I love being able to talk to varied audiences and test and refine content based on their responses.

Which great new titles or brands are you working on?

I’ve just overseen the launch of Penguin Platform, a new space for 16-19-year-olds where they can share and discover stories they love across Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Given our brilliantly successful YA publishing (think John Green, Zoe Sugg, Gayle Foreman), we saw an opportunity to discover what interests young people now and to connect them more directly with our authors and brands. My colleagues and I have been speaking to teens for months to understand what they would like from Penguin Platform, which has informed our branding, content and campaigns—and even the name.

What enticed you into working for a publisher?

Before publishing I worked in television. I wanted to move into a company that was keeping up with the ever changing trends in digital. I found that at PRH. It’s a real creative powerhouse and I’m fortunate to work in a department that’s constantly striving to try new things, interrogate old things and do things differently. I’m inspired every day!

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?

I grew up in Bradford before social media existed and the idea that I’d someday live in “that London” and work in this role was unimaginable. My “way in” was through work experience and internships with marketing agencies or brands I admired during uni holidays; learning which jobs existed and which I was good at! PRH recently launched The Scheme, which taps into exactly this ethos. It’s about getting creative people who might never have thought about working in publishing to think again. So anyone like my younger self can rest assured that our door is open.