Don’t hide behind email or the Internet. Yes, these are great modes of communication for clients and reporters but your job is about real relationships and nothing can replace human interaction when it comes to building real relationships. Get to know people at events, meet your clients in person.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kara Silverman. Kara is Acast’s first Global Head of Communications and Marketing. In her role she is responsible for building the global marketing team, managing the company brand, developing internal and external communications, and expanding marketing efforts. Kara has been working in the public relations and communications field for the last 13+ years. She graduated from THE Ohio State University where she studied geography and religion. Her career has covered everything from fashion, public affairs, and politics to consumer packaged goods, adtech, and semiconductors. Prior to Acast Kara was the second employee at Small Girls PR where she scaled the company’s operations and built out the technology communications practice. She is also the founder of creative agency Extra Crunchy where she worked on the first ever facebook telethon Love-a-thon, a hackathon series promoting gender equality Hack’n Jill, edits jobs curation site TechPRJobs.com, and the email plugin Just Not Sorry. She lives on the LES with her partner Mike and ridiculously adorable rescue pup Rugby.
Thank you so much for your time. I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
That’s a great question! Turns out I was born to be a communicator. I had no idea growing up, but as an adult I learned that a number of my extended family members worked in PR/marketing/communications just like me. It was a weird moment to feel almost destined for this life. Also, in college, I had a lot of advocacy, governmental, and public policy internships that involved writing, being a spokesperson, and thinking strategically about communicating with different groups of people to deliver a message. All of that experience set me up to become a publicist/communicator professionally.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
My current company Acast is Swedish and launched in the US a few years ago. Since we work so globally with media companies and podcast creators all over the world, some of my favorite experiences have been bringing that global perspective to the US. For example, earlier this year we announced our relationship with the BBC, one of the oldest broadcasters in the world. I love that the BBC is working with startups like my company to stay relevant and evolve. Announcing our work together was one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do in my role as Global Head of Marketing and Communications at Acast.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first started as a publicist, fax machines and the Bacon’s media directories were still part of everyday life. Now you know how old I am!! I moved to NYC to take a job at a PR firm that took on a lot of pro bono work for nonprofits. We were organizing a press conference for a healthcare nonprofit that heavily featured one of their ambulances. To host the press conference, we took over a very busy street in NYC and shut it down to park the ambulance and invited every broadcast media outlet and local photographer and journalist who might be interested. On the day of the press conference, not a single media outlet showed up. The client was standing there ready to go and no one came. My team saved the day by bringing our own video camera and telling the client we would make a video and send that out to TV instead. The client ended up super happy to get a chance to practice and we did get some coverage in the end. I learned so many important lessons about working with media and managing clients that day!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
In addition to running and building my global marketing team, I also run a website called techprjobs.com where I am working to help tech publicists find great new career opportunities and help agencies and brands looking for new team members find qualified candidates quickly. I am also an advisor working with Mile Square Labs, a global revenue agency focused on growing late seed to series-funded technology companies.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
There are so many things I would say to young publicists. Here are 3:
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I am a podcast publicist by trade so here are some I love. The Dave Chang Show, How I Built This, Startup Podcast, Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn, Fresh Air, Jobblogues, and How To Be Awesome At Your Job.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.