33 Radio Interview Tips For Authors From Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

You’ve landed the radio interview and it’s time to get ready to actually do it. Now what? As a book marketing expert and book publicist, I have booked my clients on thousands of radio interviews. Here’s a list of tips I give to my clients prior to their interviews. Keep this helpful list of interview tips nearby and you’ll be glad you did!

  1. Go to a quiet room in your home or office; be sure staff and/or family know you are 16on a radio interview and cannot be interrupted.
  2. Turn off other phones, cell phones and anything else that could create background noise including air conditioners and the radio, etc.
  3. Have a glass of water nearby; there’s nothing worse than dry mouth on a radio interview.
  4. Be on time. Call the station exactly at the time they tell you, or be at your phone waiting if the station is going to call you.
  5. Use a land line phone for best quality. Some stations won’t allow a cell phone interview. If it is not possible to reach a land line then use a cell phone in a stationary location and not while you are rolling down the road as the reception could be interrupted mid-interview.
  6. Disable call waiting: dial *70 and then call the studio number. This disables call waiting for the duration of the phone call. As soon as you hang up, it will be reactivated.
  7. Do not use a speaker phone or a headset; again, it’s about good sound quality.
  8. Be self-assured. Remember, you know your topic inside and out. Be confident in your ability.
  9. Smile, smile, smile, whether on radio or TV – SMILE. You’ll feel better, and for TV you’ll look better too.
  10. Put some pizzazz and energy into your voice. Try standing while you speak to liven things up a little.
  11. Research the show and tailor your message accordingly. Just Google the host’s name and station and check out their web site. Is it a national audience or a small town in Ohio? What is their format? Is it News/Talk, NPR or Classic Rock or something else? You need to know.
  12. KNOW exactly how much time you will have on the air as a guest, three minutes or 30 minutes…so you can tailor your answers to the time allotted.
  13. Practice your sound bites—out loud before the interview. Communicate your main points succinctly. Practice this out loud.
  14. Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book, product or service. Make the audience “want more.”
  15. A kind word about the host can go a long way. It’s good manners and good business.
  16. A person’s name is sweet music to them so commit to memory or jot down the name of the host and use it throughout the interview. When taking calls, use the names of callers too.
  17. Be prepared for negative comments, from the host or listeners.
  18. Be careful not to slide into techno-babble, jargon or acronyms that few know about.
  19. Never talk down to your audience.
  20. Be respectful of the host because everybody starts someplace. Today they’re interviewing you from a college radio station; in a few years they could be a nationally syndicated host.
  21. Don’t Oversell. Remember you are on the air to provide useful information to the listening audience. If you are an author or selling something, limit yourself to TWO mentions of the book, product or service. You must make it interesting without the commercialism. It takes finesse but you can do it. Often times the host will do this for you and you won’t need to mention it.
  22. Think of a radio interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a conversation with thousands.
  23. Radio interviews require verbal answers, not head nodding or uh-huhs. Hand gestures don’t count in radio either.
  24. Radio will often use interviews live and later cut them up for use throughout the day giving you more airplay. So keep your answer to a 10 to 20 second sound bite. You can say a lot in that amount of time and then you don’t sound like you are babbling on. Don’t go on more than a minute without taking a break.
  25. Don’t just answer questions. Tell listeners something you want them to know, something they wouldn’t know unless they were tuned in, with the promise of more of the same when they buy the product or come see you!
  26. Have three key messages. Short, not sermons. Sometimes the host opens the door, other times you have to answer a question and segue to a key message. A compelling message will have the host asking for more. Usually, people can get in two key messages; the pros can get three. But even if you get in only one, you get a big return for the time invested.
  27. Lazy hosts open with a lame: “Thanks for being here.” Boom! Give a :15-:20 sec summary message. If the host introduces you with a question, be polite, deliver your summary message, then answer the question. “Thanks, (use name), for the opportunity to talk about….Now, to your question (name)…”
  28. Maintain a Positive Attitude. BE GENUINE OR TRANSPARENT. Don’t fake enthusiasm or sincerity. If you’re in a bad mood cancel the interview. Don’t pretend to know stuff you don’t.
  29. Re-read the press release or pitch that got the booking since the host is going to be using that as a starting point. Often a book publicist such as myself, will tie into a breaking news event that relates to your expertise. Be aware of that tie-in.
  30. After the interview write a thank-you note. Since so few people do this, you’ll really stand out from the crowd. And most importantly, you may get invited back.
  31. Whether the interview is live or taped-live, if you stumble, or flub up just keep going. Often what you perceived as a mistake, the listeners won’t even notice.
  32. Ask for an MP3 of the recording before the interview. Often if you ask ahead of time the producer will record the interview and then you can use it on your web site. If that’s not available get the link to the station’s recording and Tweet about to your followers and promote it on your Facebook page. Be sure to listen to it later and critique your performance.
  33. Listen for the testimonial. Sometimes the host will say something complimentary, “You have a fascinating story Mr. Jones.”  Use it in your marketing.  Or you can actually ask for a testimonial.  Often that MP3 will arrive with a note from the host saying how much they enjoyed the interview, or that “Scott Lorenz was a great interview, he really kept our audience engaged,” or “the phones rang off the hook when Scott Lorenz was being interviewed.” You can use those testimonials in future pitches and on your web site, blog etc.

As a book marketing firm, we’ll prepare our clients with media coaching or if need be training with a media trainer. We’ll also submit questions to the radio host ahead of time and include those in our press kits emailed to the stations. Often the radio host will read those questions right in order. Other times they refer to our questions and include some of them. We do this to help the host in case they’ve not had a chance to read the book, and to help direct the questioning.

Make sure you know your own material inside and out and are comfortable with everything in it. You are the author of the book, or the press release and they’ll ask you, “What did you mean about this or that?” You need to have the answer. You don’t want any surprises.

The Bottom Line:  RELAX, you’ll do fine. The butterflies you’re feeling are what will drive you to do your best! Just follow these helpful tips and you’ll be a radio interview star!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist Check his blog at: http://www.The-Book-Publicist.com

 

 

How Rachael Ray’s TV Career Started With Her Book

Rachael Ray heads an empire that includes hit TV shows, best selling books, a magazine and her own product lines. Things keep getting better and better for Rachael Ray. But, you might be interested to know that it was a couple of radio interviews about her book that propelled her to fame and fortune.

As a book publicist I talk to authors and clients every day and every so often one says, “Oh I really don’t want to do radio” or I’ll have a client who’ll decline a rachael rayradio or TV interview and then give me reasons like “There’s only 5,000 people tuning in to that station, or such and such is a small town, or nobody listens to radio at 2AM,” or whatever. I usually respond with “If the Rotary Club in your home town called you today and invited you to speak to their club and 450 people would be in the audience, would you go?” The answer is always a resounding “YES! I’d love to do that…” What’s the difference? Perhaps it’s perception. If you can see them, 450 people are a lot of folks. If you can’t see them it’s too small. How about 5,000 people? But, it’s not always the quantity of listeners it’s the quality of that listening audience.

Let me tell you, radio makes stars, radio interviews get people on TV, radio gets people on Oprah.

That brings me to the story of Rachael Ray and her big break in 2001. She had already sold 10,000 of her cookbooks and she had her own TV segment on WRGB, the local CBS affiliate in Albany, New York. Jennifer Pullinger, the publicist at National Book Network assigned to work on two of her books, Comfort Foods and Veggie Meals, had booked her on various radio shows for phone interviews as part of the publicity campaign. After booking Ray on a handful of small-market radio shows, Pullinger utilized one of Ray’s contacts at WAMC in Albany, New York and scheduled her for a cooking demo on Northeast Public Radio’s “Vox Pop.” The host, Joe Donahue, had had Ray on his program before and happily booked her again. Ray did her demo, and of course, listeners loved it.

And, guess who was listening to that station? Someone who knew the Food Network’s VP of Programming, Bob Tuschman. That “influential” person heard Ray’s segment, and told Tuschman about her. Tuschman then called Pullinger to arrange a meeting with Ray and the rest is history. Oh, and who was listening to another of Rachael Ray’s radio interviews while on his vacation? Al Roker, the weatherman from the Today Show. Al told the show’s food producer to check her out. The producer called Pullinger and booked Ray for a live cooking segment with Al on the Today Show. She was a hit. Then after a couple of years on the Food Network she got THE BIG CALL from Oprah which led to her daily nationally syndicated TV show.

Her big break(s) can be traced back to radio interviews and the groundwork laid by her publicist Jennifer Pullinger, who had previously shipped tapes of Rachael on WRGB-TV to the Food Network and all the morning shows. Think about it. A major star’s career was born from a radio interview, and one that happened at the last minute, and one she nearly turned down. PR opened the door for Rachael Ray and it can do that for you too. Putting a value on that is hard to do but, I’d have to say it’s priceless.

I am often called by producers who want a guest at the last minute. I always deliver them a guest and since I just helped them out of a jam they remember it.

The Bottom Line: Radio works. Small market TV works too, both are a great medium to promote your book. If you get a broadcast opportunity, take it… even if you have to drive three hours across the desert to get there!

You never know who’ll be listening.

The Book Publicist | Book publicist Scott Lorenz and his thoughts on the book marketing industry.

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About Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist