How to Get the Most from Your Internet Radio Interview
This week, Hannah Leigh Myers, a Freelance Reporter and News Producer with KGNU radio, interviewed my wife, Denise Wilson (who is a professional botanist, and an expert on orchids) about Wild Orchids in Colorado. You can listen to the five-minute segment here.
Denise learned several important lessons in the process.
Hannah surprised us by arriving at our home with a hot microphone in hand, so be prepared. “Script out what you want to say in advance,” Denise recommends. “Make sure you cover your most important points, because the focus you have in mind might be very different from the agenda of the show’s Host.”
Of the more than two hours they spent together, the show was cut to five minutes. “Cover your points as succinctly as you can,” she suggests. “Five minutes goes by very, very fast.”
Curb your Ego
When you get that call, it’s tempting to say YES!! But before you agree, visit their website, see who else has been on the show, and listen to some segments. This will give you a sense of the tone, content and audience.
I was recently asked to do a show for “event planners,” in the UK. Checking their website revealed that this program was for wedding planners. You know, I’ve never keynoted a wedding. My target audience is Corporate Meeting Planners.
Take the Initiative
The easiest way to get invited to be a radio show guest is to e-mail a brief pitch letter to the Producer (not the Host). Your pitch shows them why you’d make a great guest. Like your Elevator Pitch (which we wrote about in the July edition) the pitch should be short and direct. Summarize what you want to share: information, tips, advice, or insights. Then highlight your credentials to talk on this topic. Your pitch should reflect your understanding of the show’s format and audience.
When possible, tie your pitch to a current event, trend or controversy. For example, if you’re an attorney specializing in bankruptcy, and there is a change in the bankruptcy laws, then you would be a great guest to talk about the ins-and-outs of the new law.
Never pitch your company directly. These people are not interested in giving you free advertising. Instead, make your pitch about a problem or issue that connects their audience to your area of expertise.
Include an attention-grabbing subject line to insure your pitch will get read.
Choose the Right Shows
Once you’ve developed a compelling pitch, put together a list of the shows you believe to be good match. Google “radio talk shows in (name of city)”. This will bring up several pages of listings, with links to the stations and their contact information.
Each station’s web site should provide the name of the show, the kind of guests that appear, and the name of the show’s Producer. If these details aren’t included, call the station and ask.
Some shows limit their interviews to specific topics, like personal finance, investing, current events, personal growth and development, or small business, while others cover a wide range of subjects. “Colorado Matters” is a prime example. This local NPR affiliate airs a weekly 30-minute show focusing on government, education, environment, health, business, economics, science, technology, arts and culture. Suggesting a story is as simple as going to their website.
Follow a similar process to develop a list of shows that air on satellite and Internet radio. Start with Sirius XM and look at their lineup. Then Google “Internet radio stations” for more options. Blogtalk Radio is an example of an Internet radio station.
My long-time friend Joe Sabah teaches a course on How to Get on Radio Talk Shows All Across America Without Leaving Your Home or Office. He has compiled a list of more than 800 AM radio talk shows, listing the Producer, the Host, schedule and contact information. Every day, every one of these stations has 24 hours to fill, and they want to hear from YOU! At $147 it’s a steal.
Once you’ve targeted a particular show, fine-tune your pitch to include the title and slant. Include links to audio or video of other interviews you’ve done. Don’t add attachments.
Producers are always busy trying to make their next deadline, so make their job easy. Follow up your email a couple of days later with a phone message, and remind them of your interest. Persist.
Once they’ve agreed to have you on, send the Host a List of Suggested Questions. This is how you make sure they will cover the points that are most important to you. Most Hosts are grateful for the support. It gives the show a roadmap to follow.
Give Them an Introduction
Unless your host is Terri Gross, you can be certain they won’t read your book, or your website, or even your introduction. So ALWAYS send a written introduction, and make it clear that you expect them to READ it. I recently found myself lost for words when an interviewer opened her show with, “Orvel Ray, why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself.” That’s just rude. You can’t babble about your accomplishments without sounding arrogant. I excused myself and ended the conversation right there. Your introduction lays the foundation for the interview.
Your introduction should:
1) describe a problem shared by members of the audience,
2) outline the guest’s qualifications to speak to that problem, and
3) make a big promise, tell the audience what they will learn or gain from listening.
And the first time the audience hears your name should be at the very END of the introduction.
On the Air
Record your interview in a studio if possible. Travel to their local affiliate, or have them visit your home or office. These days most guest interviews are done over the phone. Your old-fashioned land line works best. Avoid SKYPE or other VOIP connections because they will drop out and cause technical flaws. For the same reason, never use a mobile phone or a wireless headset.
Stand up. It gives your voice more energy and excitement.
Keep your answers succinct. You should have a clear idea what you want to say in response to the questions you’ve supplied. Use short stories and examples to maintain the interest of your audience. Remember why you’re there. You’re the entertainment.
Include a Call to Action
Ask your host to insert, just before the station break, the comment, “Get a pen and paper ready, because after the break I’m going to be sharing how you can get (your new e-book, service, or offer).” That way, listeners are poised to write down your toll-free number or email address.
Watch the clock carefully, and make sure you leave enough time to cover your planned questions, repeat your call-to-action, and wrap the show.
Now Push it on Social Media
Find out when the segment will air, or better still, get a hyperlink to the playback, and share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. Feature it in your website. This positions you as THE go-to expert on your subject.
Do it right and your phone will be ringing off the hook!