SYP LDN Career Cafe – Tips & Tricks for your first 5 years in Digital and Audio

Posted on September 4, 2020 in London

Getting a foot through the publishing door can be tricky. Entry-level positions can be few and far between and knowing how to put yourself in the best stead to get your teeth into a role can be daunting. Thankfully, London’s #SYPCareerCafe series is deciphering all that confusion and asking publishing professionals at every level what we need to know to start our careers in… Digital and Audio.


On the 27th August 2020, chaired by SYP London’s very own Zoe Jellicoe ( @jellicoz ) who works as a Production Editor at Bloomsbury Academic, we gathered around our Zoom screens to listen to all things Digital and Audio.


So, let’s meet our amazing panellists:

We listened to the advice and experiences of Shunayna Vaghela ( @ShunaynaV ) who works as a Digital Executive at HarperCollins, working across audio, social media and innovation.


Indira Birnie ( @IndiraBirnie ) also gave us her insights into working in Digital and Audio. Birnie works as the Senior Manager in Audience Marketing at Penguin RandomHouse, where she works on the Penguin Podcast. She is also the Executive Producer of the This Is Spoke podcast, an outspoken podcast for a Generation Z audience.


Elise Jackson ( @EliseJacksonn ) works as a Digital Marketing Executive for independent publisher, Pushkin Press where she spends her days creating an online buzz for Pushkin’s varied and global list.


Katalina Watt ( @KatalinaWatt ) works as an Audio and Online Assistant at Canongate Books. Her first role in publishing was in Audio for Little Brown Book Group, through Creative Access, and she has a background in copywriting, bookselling and events at independent bookshops.


Anna Wright ( @AMFWeditor) is Senior Publisher for Digital Resources at Bloomsbury. Wright works with editorial colleagues and partners from university presses to international brands to develop new digital resources for the academic libraries market.


So, what were their top tips for working in Digital and Marketing?

  • Don’t think you have to have a Digital and Audio background! Some of our panellists began in editorial and publicity and never had any inkling that Digital and Audio would be what suited them. If you’re familiar with social media, with what gets people’s attention online or you love a good audiobook, you’re already on your way!
  • It’s the best department for people on the fence between the creative and the mathsy! If Sales is still a little too data driven for you but you know you’re not completely data inept, maybe Digital and Audio is more your thing!
  • Top skills? SEO, Google Analytics, audio and video editing, animation, Adobe, Google Digital Garage, Biblio, social media skills, podcasting. If you have any familiarity with any of these, you’re on the right tracks. Never come across them before? There’s a wealth of online courses available. Maybe you could even start your own podcast?
  • Network 1-1 through social media! (Ignoring the very obvious global pandemic that is currently ruining in-person networking.) If big networking events aren’t your thing, like – let’s be real – all of us, why not drop a dm to someone a step ahead of you on the publishing ladder in your chosen department? How did they get to where they got to? What skills should I work on? Pick their brains. Publishing people are overwhelmingly friendly.


Is there anything else you’ve like to ask about Digital and Audio? Send your questions to @SYP_LDN with the #SYPCareerCafe and we’ll get back to you!


We may have seen the last of our #SYPCareerCafe events for now! But don’t worry – if you missed anything, check back here over the next few weeks for a roundup of our panellists’ advice.


Take care!