By Patrick Sisson
It’s telling that multimedia personality Katie Linendoll can look back at her career -- which includes everything from behind-the-scenes work on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discussing the latest tech gifts with Matt Lauer on the Today show -- and say that a series of high-fives stands out as one of her high points.
The kinetic 33-year-old journalist, host and self-described “fierce competitor” discovered that the Guinness World Record for the most high fives, previously held by Giggles the Clown, was ripe for the taking, and claimed the record for herself during a segment for Spike TV in 2012. An official adjudicator was even on site to verify the veracity of each of the 107 record-breaking salutations.
The stunt is indicative of her personality-driven approach; direct, outgoing and very, very hands-on. An in-demand, Emmy-winning television host, Linendoll covers science, culture and sports for a outlets ranging from Popular Science to CNN, produces a regular tech podcast (Katie<dot>show) and oversees a production company with 30 employees. Linendoll also serves as a collaborator for Name.Kitchen.
“Every day is different for me, it’s just crazy,” she says. “I’m on the road about 200 days a year, constantly chasing down stories. Last week alone, I went to Michigan, Orlando, New York and Boston.”
Building a brand with unique domains
It’s a miniature, eclectic media empire, one she orchestrates and promotes via analytics-driven online branding and strategic use of “not-com” sites. From her own eponymous site and a web presence for her popular tech-focused podcast, Katie.Show, to a home for her annual holiday gift guide, Katie.gifts, she’s able to create multiple audience pipelines.
Plus, by using the exact same name for her podcast and its accompanying website presence -- Katie<dot>Show is one that stands out to her tech-savvy core audience -- she’s able to make quick, memorable plugs on air. The name of her podcast, in other words, is also the website where you can find it.
Linendoll sees all of these properties as both funnels that attract fans from different places, as well as “one big circle” that allows them to interact with different aspects of her work. Measuring the traffic effect of different social channels on her constellation of sites while testing new graphic treatments allows her to constantly iterate and improve.
“You don’t want to throw all those things into a big melting pot,” Linendoll says about creating a series of distinct media properties for her work. “You have to know how to differentiate, and have sites that stand on their own. I’m constantly thinking of what I’m pushing out and the relevancy to a particular audience. It should all loop together.”
Like many successful broadcasters, Linendoll credits her success, in part, to chasing her passions. But with interests ranging from professional wrestling (her favorite character is Tatanka) to gadgets, she needed a focused marketing strategy and web presence. She’s always had a deep interest in tech coupled with strong communications skills.
Growing up as a computer-obsessed teen in Erie, Pennsylvania, Linendoll built her own systems from scratch, and while studying IT in college in Rochester, New York, developed a talent for storytelling and production working for a regional show on ESPN2 called SportsZone. She may have been one of the few people working for the network that could both ace the sports quiz for aspiring reporters and set up the computer system in the newsroom.
Linendoll’s marketing ability, as well as her drive and demeanor, have allowed her to keep such an eclectic schedule. In one week, she may travel to the Philippines to report on how technology is helping the country recover from a typhoon, then deliver a wrestling recap.
“I’ve seen this really pay off,” she says about her work ethic and audience-building. “I like being able to take on different stories that I’m passionate about; they’re different parts of who I am. Now, it’s really a matter of managing time while still managing to do everything 100 percent. There’s aren’t enough hours in the day.”