Guest Post: The Life of an Online Marketer (or, How I Turned My Love of Social Media into a Real Job)


Rachel Geertsema

Until about a year or two ago, I didn’t know my job could possibly be a real thing. And based on the conversations I had over the recent holidays, a lot of other people thought the same. I had fun trying to explain what exactly I do (and what Twitter is) to a lot of relatives. I was often asked “So, someone is paying you to go on Facebook? What is Twitter? Why is this a job?”

So how does one become an online marketer? In my case it was timing, but I never would have gotten it if I hadn’t fully embraced the world of social media. Your very own Vanessa Di Gregorio introduced me to Twitter and once I got the hang of it, it became part of my daily life. I was checking it for book news, following authors, and interacting with other bookish people online. From there my addiction to social media escalated. From Pinterest to Goodreads to Facebook to Tumblr to Instagram, I’m on ‘em all.

This curiosity served me well; now I’m managing all of Penguin Canada’s social media (except for Goodreads, which my colleague Amy takes care of!). I can’t put into words how much I love my job and how much fun I have every day. I get to talk to fellow book lovers about reading and what books I can’t wait to get my hands on. I get to host fun Twitter giveaways for our amazing followers. I even photoshopped Grumpy Cat (a mustache + Marjorie Celona’s Y= a very grumpy Y face).

If you want my job, you don’t need to be an expert in social media. You just need to be curious and have an understanding of how social networking works. You need to be able to research, converse with a wide variety of people, and have both a sense of humour and a lot patience.

So, what do I do anyway? Here’s a rundown of a day in my life:

I start my day on Twitter most often. I send out a good morning tweet, talk our followers about what they’re reading, or start the day off with a link relevant to one of our books or authors. It really varies on the day or what awesome links I may have found the night before. (I am always doing research!)

At the same time, I’ve started doing some research on content that I can talk about that day. If we have a new release, I focus on that title, or I look for reviews, interviews, or great tweets from authors and other influencers that I can retweet or post to Facebook.

Around this time I’m also taking a look at our Facebook page—I check for any messages or wall posts to respond to, and I also check for any mentions or great links that have been shared by our authors.

A Penguin Christmas Tree!

I use Pinterest for Penguin as well–I’m always on the hunt for awesome Penguin-branded things to pin onto our “Penguin Spotting” board, and I create themed boards for upcoming holidays with a bookish twist or for a new book. My favourite board at the moment is the “A Very Merry Penguin” board I created for Christmas–I incorporated cute decorating ideas I found and also pinned things from our own holiday campaign that we ran on our website.

Throughout each day I’m in contact with our entire marketing and publicity team. Often someone will send me a link for Twitter, a photo for Instagram, or will ask me to post info for an upcoming event. And I get some great books and swag to use for giveaways! We hold giveaways for a wide variety of reasons, but at the core we use them as thanks to our readers and followers. We truly have amazing followers who put my reading habits to shame, and it’s so rewarding to give someone the book they’ve been dying to read, or tickets to their favourite book-turned-movie.

This is not all I do, my friends! I write two newsletters for Penguin: a book club newsletter and a general newsletter. The book club newsletter focuses on Penguin Book Club’s pick of the month, featured author, and next month’s pick. The general newsletter is dictated much more by current events, promotions, or upcoming holidays, and varies quite a bit each month.

On top of that, I take care of (Canadian) bloggers! I send books to bloggers who have requested a book to review, pitch review and blog tours to bloggers, read blogs to check for reviews and other mentions of our authors or books, and occasionally organize blogger events and tours in conjunction with our YA imprint, Razorbill.

A recent launch for Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies in Toronto

Phew! I think that’s a basic rundown of what a day in the life of an online marketer looks like. I’m always researching and I learn so much about authors and books that I might not otherwise have looked at. I get to hear from people outside of my publishing bubble about what books they are interested in and what really grabbed their attention. I get to share awesome behind-the-scenes photos of our authors and of life over at Penguin Canada HQ. Every day is different, and every day I can’t believe that I got so lucky to work for such an incredible company and with fellow readers.

Thanks for letting me gush to all of you about my job! You can all follow my adventures with Penguin Canada on Twitter or Facebook (and just about every other social network…all handily hyperlinked above for you!)–come say hi!

Thanks, Rach! Needless to say, I’m super jealous of your job.

And guys, that’s not all. Thanks to Rachel and Penguin Canada, we’ve got an awesome giveaway! You can win one of 5 ARCs of Meg Tilly’s A TASTE OF HEAVEN – all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment! – V

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rachel Geertsema works for Penguin Books Canada as their online marketing coordinator. Where once she thought editing was her end-all goal, she has since realized her passion for books lines up perfectly with marketing and is happily spending her days representing Penguin Canada online. When not tweeting from @PenguinCanada, find Rachel tweeting about books, GIFs, and coffee at @r_geerts.


50 Responses to Guest Post: The Life of an Online Marketer (or, How I Turned My Love of Social Media into a Real Job)

  1. Sooz Jan 10 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Such an awesome post! This sounds like such a cool job for someone as “into” social media as you (to me, it would be a nightmare…want to come work for me and do all my social media FOR me? ;)). I’ve never really thought about ALL the work that must go into running the various social feeds for a publisher, so thanks for showing us all this insider stuff!! I vow to be more appreciative of the awesome person over at HarperTeen/Epic Reads/Pitch Dark/etc. (whoever you may be!) since it’s clearly no easy job.

    Thanks again, Rachel!!!

  2. Loie Jan 10 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Ohhh, what a neat insider’s perspective, thanks 😀 I do have a greater appreciation as well for those running other social media sites and twitter feeds. I think I would like interacting with readers and fellow fans….also to spread book love of course!

    <3 Loie

  3. Meredith Anderson Jan 10 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Your job sounds amazing! I think the best part seems like interacting with authors and having such a large group of people to talk to about books! When I read a great new book I always have to find someone to read it in my group of friends so that I can gush about it to SOMEONE. You’ve got tons of people wanting to talk right at your fingertips! Literally, I suppose. 😉

    Thanks for sharing with us!


  4. Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 10:07 am #

    THANKS guys!! I didn’t realize how much work it would be until I started either… 😉 It actually took me a while to get myself into constant research mode, and I started watching a lot of other publishers to see what kinds of things they were talking about to get a better idea of how to be a great tweeter. I’m finding it’s a constant learning curve!

  5. Alana Jan 10 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Fantastic insight to an interesting job! I bet a internet free weekend would feel crazy for you!
    I have a new fondness of Twitter, it has become a wealth of information for me.

    Thanks for sharing

    -Alana 🙂

    • Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Haha! My parents live in the middle of nowhere and have bad internet, so I go to visit them for mini internet vacations from time to time. 🙂

  6. Megan Duff Jan 10 2013 at 10:48 am #

    That is…a supermegafoxyawesomehot job! The coolest part of online marketing is hitting up readers (like myself) who may never have heard of a book/author and introducing them to something they can fall in LOVE with. Before the internet or Goodreads (so elementary school lol) finding books was just word of mouth and what looked good on the shelf. Now its all about the new find!

  7. Alexa Y. Jan 10 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks for sharing Rachel! This sounds like an incredibly awesome job. I love using social media to communicate with people, especially bookish people like publishers, authors and other book lovers! It’s a lot of fun to know that we can have conversations about books and writing and publishing through these mediums, and I’m grateful for that. I can only imagine how time-consuming, but fulfilling your job is.

  8. Vanessa Di Gregorio Jan 10 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Rach, I totally didn’t realize/remember that I introduced you to Twitter! (I actually feel like it MUST’VE been the other way around… ;P)

    Reading this post gave me TOTAL job envy, even though I absolutely love my job and pretty much do similar things (except… with more driving, and face to face. Giving my buyers samples is like hosting a giveaway… sorta…). Sometimes I think I want to work in every dept. in publishing, because they’re all just so cool!

    And thank you thank you for writing this post for us! I really appreciate it <3

    • Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 10:52 pm #

      And here I feel like I owe a lot of having my job to YOU, my friend. 🙂

  9. Delicia Jan 10 2013 at 11:19 am #

    You’re such a nerd, Rach! That’s why you’re PERFECT for this job. Glad to hear more about it and that you’re still loving it!

  10. stephanie garber Jan 10 2013 at 11:29 am #

    What a fun post! I feel like there are so many people out there who hate their jobs, it was fun to read about someone who really loves what they do. Thanks for sharing Rachel!

    • Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Thanks Stephanie! I’m very blessed to have a job that I love. I know how common it is to have a job that is not your dream.

  11. Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit Jan 10 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Great post! This is one of my dream jobs, so it’s great to hear what Rachel is doing with the job. I think my favourite part of online marketing would be getting to interact with booklovers on Twitter for a living. That’s a dream to me!

    • Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      It really is one of the best parts! There are so many different readers out in the world and they keep my days interesting!

  12. Katelyn Jan 10 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    This sounds like an amazing job. I think it would be a blast to work like this everyday. I’m afraid I’m not nearly social enough, but it does sound incredibly fun 🙂

  13. Natalie Aguirre Jan 10 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Sounds like a great job. I’d love doing something like that because it involves social media and talking about authors and books. Thanks for sharing what it involves.

  14. Carl Jan 10 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I think the best part would be being in contact with people worldwide at all times. I’d enjoy that very much.

  15. Barb Geertsema Jan 10 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Wow, now I know what the life of my daughter looks like. I must say I’ very proud of you You’ve come a long ways from slow Internet in the country, to high speed tweeting and blogging in the city! Love you sweetie❤

  16. Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Oh my gosh, can I be you? I would LOVE to have your job. I hope to work in social media one day, so it’s really interesting to hear what a normal day is like for you. It sounds awesome 🙂

    • Rachel Jan 10 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      You could indeed be me someday! You just need some savvy internet skills and you’re already halfway there. Good luck! 🙂

  17. Lea Jan 10 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Such a interesting post! And sounds like a dream job, too 🙂
    What I would love most about it is spreading the book love everywhere and talking to people that are crazy about books too.

  18. Yuanting Jan 10 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    The coolest part of online marketing is definitely being able to connect directly with authors/publishers as well as meeting other book lovers through it!

  19. Llehn Jan 11 2013 at 1:30 am #

    You get to interact with your audience.

  20. Jasmine Stairs Jan 11 2013 at 7:29 am #

    This is an amazing post! I am having a hard time picking what “the most awesome” part would be, because it all sounds so interesting and so intertwined. I probably would most enjoy sending books or (tickets) to people who’ve been dying to read (or watch) a particular story.

    Thanks for the information, Rachel!

  21. Peggy Eddleman Jan 11 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Fabulous post! I love hearing about this from an insider’s perspective!

  22. elena Jan 11 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I think this is everyone’s dream job and definitely mine! In fact, I went to my counselor last semester to see if I could take classes dealing with social media, ha. It made me so happy to see this post pop up! I can tell it clearly takes work curating everything but it looks fun too. Thank you so, so much for sharing. 🙂

  23. Jesselle Jan 11 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    I think the coolest part of this job is interacting with people worldwide. You gain a lot of friends! 🙂

  24. JQ Trotter Jan 11 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    This is such a great post, thank you for sharing! Online marketing for the publishing world is so important. I know I come across a ton of books and authors that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard about through links, instagram, twitters and all those other wonderful resources.

    • Rachel Jan 11 2013 at 10:55 pm #

      Yay! This is one of the most validating things to read! 🙂 It’s nice to hear that we aren’t always just making noise but helping people find new books too!

  25. alicia marie Jan 11 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    That sounds like one of the best jobs ever! I love online marketing because it has led me to learn about so many new authors and books that I might not otherwise have heard about! I’ve also met a lot of new people through things authors have done : )

  26. Ali B Jan 12 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Sounds like an amazing job. I like using twitter for online marketing.

  27. Tiffany Jan 12 2013 at 4:48 am #

    Your job sounds like so much fun! (and requires hard work, of course) It’s great that you get to immerse yourself around books 24/7

  28. Kate Jan 12 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Your job is so cool and thank you so much for what you do because a lot of times I choose what books I read from ads/tweets/facebook stuff I see online!

  29. Tiffany Jan 12 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Being able to promote so much books! <3

  30. Sarah Marie Jan 13 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Your job sounds awesome. It’s really cool as a reader to be able to connect directly with authors and publishers and online-marketers. I hope being able to connect with us is equally cool 🙂

    • Rachel Jan 14 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      One of my favourite parts of my job!

  31. Yahong Jan 13 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    I’ve ALWAYS been so interested in this part, especially as a writer + a book blogger. Thanks so much for the rundown! I love the idea of being able to give away books that people are dying to read.

  32. Emily Jan 13 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    I love this post. Your job sounds awesome!
    I think it would be so cool to be able to connect with people from all over the world and talk about books! Thanks for the insight!

  33. Tiffany Drew Jan 14 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I agree, the best part is being able to connect immediately with readers and other authors. You don’t have to wait for feedback, you can get it immediately!

  34. mary ann Jan 15 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Well the cool part is that I think you could connect to the readers and bloggers in different countries. Then you could market your books and share it to them:))

  35. Avery Moore Jan 15 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    I think the fun part is connecting to readers, authors, bloggers, … It sounds like such an awesome job!

  36. Hannah Jan 16 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I think the coolest thing about online marketing is how much fun you can have engaging with other book lovers! Also…it’s just plain fun. Even though I’m in the editorial department, I campaigned to start a Pinterest page for my company and now I manage it. It’s so much fun to look at pretty pictures of books, book-related crafts, and other bookish things and get paid for it during the day!!

  37. Nuzaifa Jan 16 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Wow!Everything sounds so cool.The best part I think would be that you get to immerse yourself in something that you love.Being able to share your love of books with others-that’s pretty awesome too!

  38. Hillary S. Jan 16 2013 at 11:26 am #

    I think it’s pretty awesome that you could connect with a broad spectrum of people, and find other book lovers. What a fun job!

  39. Online Marketing Sec Feb 6 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  40. Internet Marketing May 19 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    You are so awesome! I do not think I’ve truly read through a single thing like this before. So great to find another person with some genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

  41. club penguin free Jun 10 2014 at 6:17 am #

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be exciting to read through content from other authors and practice something from their sites.

  42. Chris Feb 1 2019 at 5:54 pm #

    I’d be curious to know how one goes about getting this job when they don’t have any connections.

  43. markerly Mar 7 2021 at 10:19 am #

    I ran a Pentecost page for my company and now I manage it. What fun it is to see beautiful pictures of books, book crafts, and other book items and pay for them during the day. I don’t think I’ve really read a single thing before. It’s great to find someone who has some real thinking on the subject. Seriously .. thanks for starting this.

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