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This is a guest blog post written by MA English & Literary Media student, Zoey. Zoey smiles for a selfie wearing a denim jacket, her red hair is curled, she's located at Bournemouth beach - the sea is in the background.

The opportunity to intern with The Tandem Collective, a global digital marketing agency operating in the publishing arena, came about halfway through the spring semester when a representative from Tandem attended as a guest speaker. Following the presentation, Tandem offered a paid two-week placement to a few students who attended the talk.

The application process was straightforward, requiring the submission of a CV and a cover letter. The decision to apply was a no-brainer for me, as Tandem’s presentation really spoke to my interests in terms of potential careers post-graduation. Tandem has an extremely innovative approach to the digital marketing space regarding publishing, and, though they are fairly small and new (in business for about six years), they have worked and continue to work with some of the most recognisable names in publishing, such as Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins, just to name a few.

The company focuses on real-time digital activations leveraging the relationship between bookishThe Tandem Logo is in Orange, all caps font and presented in a circle. content creators (mostly on Instagram and TikTok) and other brand partners to create word-of-mouth-based campaigns for publishers. Most notably, these campaigns involve events Tandem has branded as “Readalongs”. Readalongs put books and other materials (such as question cards) in the hands of selected content creators, who then engage their respective audiences to participate in Tandem established activities related to the selected read-along book.

This approach is extremely innovative, not only because of the format but also because the content creators engaged for campaigns are often time micro-influencers with less than 10k followers on their selected platforms. This choice speaks to the importance Tandem places on community engagement, which is a direct reflection of one of the company’s core values.

In terms of day-to-day duties, my internship supervisor wasted no time getting me started. After a kick-off chat, I was given various tasks about different aspects of ongoing projects related to upcoming Readalongs. Some examples include:

  • Researching and reaching out to potential brand partners for selected upcoming readalongs, ensuring that the chosen brand fits the selected book in terms of focus and “vibe”
  • Reaching out to selected content creators to inform them of upcoming read-along
  • Adding to and maintaining a database containing independent bookshops around the world

While these tasks were straightforward, doing so for a business focused on publishing gave me insight into an industry I had very little prior knowledge. Additionally, because Tandem is comprised of a team of freelancers who work remotely and make their schedule, I was able to gain some very valuable experience without disrupting my schedule, as I was able to dictate my working hours, and there was a lot of flexibility in that.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Tandem and learning a lot not only about the business but also about what kind of work I would want to engage in post-graduation. I am so grateful this opportunity was made available through my course, and I would advise all students to take advantage of the opportunities presented, they could always lead to additional experiences to add to a CV.

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