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Kathryn Musilek

Kathryn Musilek

· Time to read: ~4 min

This interview was first in the Podcast Business Journal newsletter, with the latest podcast news and data. Subscribe free today.

Kathryn is the owner and founder of Shark Party Media — this interview has been lightly edited for style and readability

Kathryn Musilek: Shark Party Media is a PR firm based out of Brooklyn, New York, that I founded in 2007. We started working with comedians in 2012, which is how we found the podcast world.

James Cridland: Why the name Shark Party Media?

KM: Well, because you have to sink or swim. That’s kind of the deal, and you may as well have fun while doing it.

JC: You have been saying for a while now that the best way to grow a podcast’s audience is through guesting on other shows. Is that a common view, do you think, in the industry?

KM: It is. Every marketing exec that I speak to understand that to be the truth and that they see it with their own numbers. When one of their hosts guests on another podcast, usually of similar size and comparable listenership, they’ll see spikes in their own show’s listenership and actual growth. I was just at Podcast Movement Evolutions, and I met a number of podcast marketers and podcasters, and I would say I’m in podcast guesting - and they shrug and be like, if only it were possible to do that! Well, that is the work that I do.

JC: What’s the problem with that work? I mean, what sort of thing does Shark Party Media do for me that others don’t?

KM: We’ve been in the podcast space with our clientele, offering our clients to podcasts and working with podcasters for so long, so we have a really trustworthy database. We have all of the contacts, and we have a lot of relationships.

I believe that PR is the best way to approach guesting: it’s about deeper relationships. It’s about really treating people like humans. I’ll get erroneous pitches for podcast guests, and mentions of “we think it’d be really beneficial to my client to be on your show” - um, that’s not really the idea. Our aim is to offer guests that will help the show that we’re offering them to.

JC: How do you find shows for your clients to guest on?

KM: We really keep our eye on podcast newsletters. We have some database subscriptions that we can look to for ideas, but we’re always listening to new shows. We also do a really extensive questionnaire process with the guest so we understand what else they can talk about, and what the story is to tell. We find podcasts, but the other bit of it is that we just have a massive podcast database full of all the producers and hosts and friends and so we start there. We just start with people we know.

JC: Is there anything that the industry could do to help you find shows for your guests?

KM: I’m actually really keen on your New Podcast Trailers feed. I don’t know if you just started that or if I just discovered it. I think that’s so fun.

JC: Are there shows that you would recommend that I didn’t go on?

KM: Oh boy. This is a little bit client-by-client, but there are political areas that can be minefields. I did have one client once who wanted to go onto a really incendiary show because she wanted to kind of “show them” and argue. I really discouraged it, but she insisted and went on - and it actually ended up being um a situation where she was trolled by the bad guys for like a really long time. So I highly suggest going where it’s warm and where the audience is already an intuitive fit for you or your product or your message.

JC: Going where it’s warm, that’s a great phrase. Is there a way to measure ROI on being a podcast guest?

KM: Not exactly. The numbers on podcasts can be very tricky to pin down due to all of the different platforms that everyone is checking out. So, like PR, it’s a little bit ethereal. You can see spikes in listenership on your own show. That’s the most direct sort of response or return.

JC: So two other questions. Firstly, how do I be a better podcast guest? Are there tips and tricks that you would recommend that I follow?

KM: I would recommend that you listen to one to three episodes of the show you’re guesting on, if you’re not already really familiar. Then, make sure you have all of the information about what’s going to happen on the interview, if there’s any sort of prep involved. I guess the main tip is just to be really familiar, be really nice, be relaxed and be yourself and try not to say “like and um” very often.

JC: Thank you so much for your time.

KM: Thank you, it’s been fun.

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