By Amanda Krebs, Ferris State University
Robin Barnett has spent her entire career in the world of publishing, working tirelessly to help authors’ work get noticed. She started as a PR Manager at Zondervan, which is one of the top three Christian publishers in the United States.
Barnett has been working at Revell Books, which is part of Baker Publishing Group, where she is a Senior Publicist for almost two years. She spends her days at Revell calling authors, pitching media outlets, and meeting with the company’s PR and marketing teams to coordinate campaigns.
We were able to talk with Barnett about how she reached such a great point in her career, what she loves about her job, and her advice for future PR professionals:
Q: What did you study in college?
RB: I went to Baylor—Sic ‘Em Bears!—and double majored in history and journalism with an emphasis in public relations.
Q: What has been your career path up to this point?
RB: I’ve been in publishing for all of my PR career. I briefly ran my own firm while I lived in Chicago, but quickly returned to the corporate environment.
Q: What are your main duties as a Senior Publicist at Revell?
RB: My main goal is to develop strategic book release campaigns and secure media attention for authors. It’s a lot of media relations. I work with everyone from national morning shows to local radio in authors’ hometowns. I also run my division’s social media strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Q: What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in PR?
RB: I realized I wanted to go into PR shortly after taking the LSAT. I’m so glad I didn’t go to law school! I’d never considered publishing as a career option, and it just came to me one day. I love to read books, so why not help create them!
Q: What is your favorite part about your job? Why?
RB: I love working with authors and building their platforms. One interview or blog post can launch an author’s career. The first time I booked the Today Show for two debut authors, their memoir hit the New York Times Bestseller list. It was an amazing feeling to realize I helped share their story with millions of viewers.
Q: What is one of the most important things you’ve learned about public relations during your career? How?
RB: It’s all about relationships. I work hard to build solid relationships with my authors and with media contacts. I saw a huge jump in how much national media I was booking when I started routinely meeting with media in New York. Once you’re more than an email address to them, they’re more likely to open your emails, return your calls and book media.
Q: Do you have any advice for PR students entering the work force?
RB: Network! Who you know really matters. Introduce yourself to guest speakers, go to conferences. If you’re job hunting, make yourself business cards. You come off looking professional, and they’ll most likely give you their card so you end up with their contact info.