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Radio is a great way to promote your book. People can hear your voice and your message, and if they are interested, they will seek you out.
There are several ways to get on a radio program – and they are always looking for guests.
a) Pitch your radio station directly, targetting a particular segment and host
b) Send out a press release to all media which may get picked up by a radio station
c) Be a guest or Host your own radio show on the internet
These are my lessons learned after appearing on a radio station:
- Be prepared. I sent out a press release on a Sunday night and at 8am Monday morning had a call asking me to go on a show at 10am. I was on my way to work, but I accepted anyway. When I got to work, I hid in a meeting room and skim read my book, How to Enjoy Your Job, to get the main points fresh in my mind. I also photocopied some of the key diagrams so I had something to refer to. I decided that I would have these “cheat-sheets” ready at all times, so if I had to appear at short notice I would be good to go! I also wrote out the most likely questions, and rehearsed answers. You should have a list of questions in your media kit. Hosts will not read your book so you need to be ready to talk about the main points.
- Research. If you know the station and host in advance, then try to listen to the show and get a sense of the style of interview. Is it live or recorded? Are they open questions? What is the host's bias? You can also Google the host to find out more about him/her.
- Don't rustle or crackle. My interview was on the phone and a colleague told me that I shouldn't shuffle paper as it sounds terrible on the radio. So I laid my notes around me so I could glance at them if necessary.
- Be engaging but don't push the book. Be interesting and spin a story. The radio wants you as an expert opinion, not as a salesperson. You may even be told you cannot mention your website name. Just focus on being interesting, engaging and lively and the host will mention your book name. People who are interested in your topic will call in to find out your details. Build rapport. If you can be in the studio, then try to be as it will help build rapport with the host and you might get more air-time. It should be an enjoyable experience for them so they will want you back! Smile even if you are on the phone – your enthusiasm can be heard in your voice.
- Take some deep breaths. I was very nervous right up to the point of being introduced. My mouth was dry and I needed the bathroom. My heart was racing. But once the host said “welcome to the show”, I was fine! Take some deep breaths before being introduced and try to have fun! If you know your topic, you'll be fine.
- Record it. I made the mistake of not recording my segment. It would have made a great addition to my press kit. Unfortunately, the station was in another state so friends didn't hear it. It did not stream over the internet and I didn't have a digital recorder. After this, I went a bought a cheap recorder that downloads to mp3 files. I could have had the phone on speaker and recorded it myself.
- Take every opportunity. Even if you get no extra sales from your book, you never know who was listening and what may happen next. There are stories of authors being on late-night shows for tiny stations, only to find the segment syndicated across the country. If you can get radio time, then take those opportunities!
Remember that the media are constantly searching for content – all day, every day. You just need to get yourself in front of them.