Indira Birnie

Indira Birnie - Marketer

London, UK

I'm an award-winning social media + digital marketing specialist with over ten years' experience, and can help you reach the right readers.

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Overview

I'm an award-winning marketer specialising in storytelling and community building through social media and digital content. I am essentially obsessed with social media (you have to be in this game!) and can build a tailored digital content and social media strategy that will help reach the most relevant readers for you.

I've worked at Penguin Random House for over ten years, working on books from a wide range of genres, including literary fiction and classics, narrative non-fiction, cookery, graphic novels and more. More recently, I've been learning about podcasting and am an executive producer on youth culture podcast, This Is Spoke, and the Penguin Podcast.

I have a design degree and am a photographer in my spare time. Visuals are extremely important when it comes to promoting work online and I can bring this creative eye to any project too.

If you're looking for help on finding your audience and building an engaged community, whether that's through social media, newsletters, website content or podcasting, I can help build a defined and easy to execute digital marketing strategy for you.
Fiction
Classics
Comics & Graphic Novels
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Short Story
Non-Fiction
Cooking & Food Wine & Spirits
Nature
Photography

Certifications

  • Publishing Training Centre: Proofreading for Editors
  • BA (Hons) Digital Media Design
  • London Institute of Photography: Professional Photography Course

Awards

  • Bookseller Shooting Star 2020
  • Bronze Bullseye Award at the British Podcast Awards
  • Consumer Podcast of the Year at the Campaign Publishing Awards
  • Official Webby Honoree in Podcasts (Diversity and Inclusion)

Work experience

Senior Manager, Audience Marketing

Penguin Random House
May, 2020 – Present (7 months)

Over the past eight years, I have worked in various digital marketing and social media roles at the company. During that time, one of the most visible things I've been responsible for is the social media strategy and management of Penguin's high-profile social media channels. This involved working closely with marketing teams across the company on a huge range of book campaigns, including Michelle Obama's Becoming, Philip Pullman's Book of Dust series, Margaret Atwood's The Testaments and many more, to come up with innovative and original promotional ideas.

Currently, I lead on marketing strategy for the Penguin website and the award-winning Penguin Podcast.

Head of Brand, Penguin Classics (Secondment)

Penguin Press
October, 2019 – April, 2020 (6 months)

In this role, I evaluated the pre-existing brand strategy and then created and implemented an updated version. I developed a roadmap for, and worked on, Penguin Classics campaigns in 2020, including activity for major author brands such as George Orwell and John le Carré and series launches such as Penguin Science Fiction. I was also responsible for overseeing all advertising, newsletters, social media as well as retail, media and brand partnerships.

Executive Producer, This Is Spoke

Penguin Random House
April, 2017 – Present (over 3 years)

As an executive producer on this award-winning youth culture podcast, I focus on developing our vision, branding and marketing strategy. I was one of a team of three who developed an initial idea into fully-rounded project with long-term potential, pitched to board members in order to get funding, helped to bring the series to life and helped to organise, promote and run a sold-out, day-long event at a 600-capacity venue in south London. In 2020, the podcast has been awarded Podcast of the Year by the Campaign Publishing Awards and named an Official Webby Honoree, amongst numerous other award short-listings.

Publicity Assistant

Vintage Books
July, 2010 – October, 2012 (over 2 years)

I supported high-profile publicity campaigns for authors such as Salman Rushdie, Misha Glenny, Colson Whitehead, Annie Leibovitz and more, in addition to copywriting and social media management.

Bookseller

Waterstones
June, 2004 – October, 2010 (over 6 years)

Projects

Read the Year

Knowing that Penguin's social media audiences loved a reading challenge, I developed a year-long one called Read the Year. Unlike other literary challenges that ask participants to read a specific number of books, the aim of Read the Year was to give our audiences a gentle and accessible framework to guide and track their reading throughout the year.

#AskPenguin

Inspired by Twitter Q and As with high-profile celebrities, I took the idea and used it as a way for Penguin to regularly share personalised reading recommendations with its social media audience. Users post what type of book they'd like to read and I (although, I later managed to rope in a few colleagues!) would respond with a book we thought they'd enjoy. This has been a hugely successful project – in the few years I ran it, we collectively gave out almost 30, 000 book recommendations across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and this is now a flagship project for Penguin's social media.

@penguinukbooks social media strategy + community management

As Penguin's social media manager for several years, I put together a clear and measurable strategy for all its social media channels and managed their day to day management, including copywriting and photography. Under my management, Penguin's Twitter saw a 21% increase in followers and Instagram saw an almost 200% increase in followers, with a significant increase in audience engagement across all of our social media accounts.

Social media strategy for Michelle Obama's Becoming

I worked closely with the book's comms team to create and deliver an organic social media and digital content strategy, covering activity from acquisition to publication and beyond, using Penguin's social media, newsletter and website. The event strategy for social media supporting a live event at the Royal Festival Hall was particularly successful and our activity was selected by Twitter to be included in the week's Twitter Moments.

This Is Spoke

This Is Spoke is an award-winning uncensored podcast for a Gen Z audience that aims to unpack some of the biggest issues in youth culture, through a literary and musical lens. We cover topics such as microaggressions, mental health, cancel culture, problematic faves and everything in between.

This Is Spoke is a pioneering example of cross-company collaboration between Penguin Random House UK, Fremantle and BMG; it's a project that has been able to leverage the expertise of all three companies involved to create a new project that is original and distinctive from anything else on their rosters.

In 2020, This Is Spoke was shortlisted in several categories at the inaugural Publisher Podcast Awards, has been named a Webby Awards Honoree, won a Bronze awards at the British Podcast Awards and been named Podcast of the Year at the Campaign Publishing Awards.

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