My Job in 5: Francesca Baker
- Describe your role
As Marketing Communications Manager at Spread the Word my role is basically that – spreading the word about all the awesome work that we do. Our role is to provide support and opportunities for London’s writers and enable them to get their work out there, with a particular focus on championing writers from backgrounds that are underrepresented in publishing. So I have to tell everyone about this. This includes social media, updating web content, writing articles, interviewing authors for the blog, writing and sending out press releases, liaising with other media outlets, contacting relevant organisations…it’s quite varied and busy!
- What do you like best about your role?
It’s really nice when I get to talk to an author who has worked with Spread the Word in the past, such as by receiving some mentoring or winning a prize, who then goes on to get a book deal or run a workshop for us. I often interview people like this for the blog, and it’s so nice to see the clear and tangible difference that Spread the Word makes to a writer’s craft and career. It’s also great when events and workshops sell out, and I can see the impact that some social media campaign or outreach to local organisations has had. This means we’re reaching the right people.
- Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
Spread the Word’s biggest project at the moment is the London Writers Awards. This is a new annual development programme for talented London writers and gives thirty writers from across genres a nine month programme of mentoring, workshops, critical feedback groups, masterclasses and WritersLabs. My job is to capture some of the great impact that the scheme is having, and share it.
We run two Prizes each year – the London Short Story Prize and Life Writing Prize (this one is currently open for entries until February 1st). I love encouraging people to enter, announcing the winner, and enjoying the prize giving events. It’s so nice to see the excitement that people have when their hard work and talent is recognised.
- What skills do you need for your role?
You have to be creative, and be able to see opportunities for marketing beyond the obvious. We’ve got a lot going on at Spread the Word, so the ability to be able to manage multiple different projects is key. The ability to write is key – I write event descriptions, interviews, articles, social media posts, press releases…lots of writing! Really, it’s about being a storyteller – finding stories and communicating them in a way that connects with the audience.
- What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
Have an active social media presence yourself, so you can learn about what works and how to maximise the channels, and can apply that learning to any organisation you work with. Look out for good and bad examples of marketing and think about what you liked or disliked about them, and what worked or didn’t work for you. Write as much as you can. Get in touch with organisations that you would like to work with, and tell them about your skills and what you can offer – even if they are not currently advertising a position. You’ll be front of mind should they start looking.