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Getting on Radio.. Tomorrow!
Penny C. Sansevieri
Whether you're just starting your campaign or knee-deep into it, radio is a great way to promote yourself and gain valuable media exposure. When people begin working on their book promotion, most of the time names like The Today Show and Oprah immediately spring to mind. And while these are admirable goals, I highly recommend you consider tapping into the resource of radio. With people spending more and more time in their cars these days and radio is becoming a very valuable resource.
Before you launch into your radio tour there are a few things you need to know. First, a radio campaign is a great way to lay the foundation for all of your other promotional or media endeavors. If you've never done radio (or any other form of media), it's also a great way to get your feet wet. Know that radio hosts talk to one another and if you're a great interview you will probably get calls from stations you never even pitched. In fact, I have several clients that this has happened to. A great guest is a gem and radio stations don't hesitate to share this valuable information. Never, ever turn down the opportunity to do a program. Do every interview that comes along and learn from each one. And finally, make sure and keep your expectations in check. Don't expect a ton of book sales from a single radio interview because you'll be disappointed. In fact, the way to garner sales isn't from one or two interviews, it's from doing them over and over again. Repetitive interviews start the media ball rolling and remember: media draws media. Position yourself to be a media darling. Offer a great interview with valuable content and be generous with your information. Not only will you get asked back again and again, but you'll be able to navigate the radio circuit with ease!
Tips for a Successful Radio Interview
· Assume that you're on the air as soon as you pick up the phone. Often the host or producer will call you and you'll instantly be "live" so be prepared!
· Don't assume the host will read your book; they rarely do this! Make sure to send a one-page synopsis with your book and press kit.
· Even though you've included some great questions with your press kit, don't assume they will use them - be prepared for whatever they might ask you!
· Don't be long-winded. Rehearse your questions beforehand; keep your answers concise and don't venture off into tangents that will distract the audience and lose valuable momentum.
· Try to listen to the station and the show you're going to be on ahead of time. You can often do this from their site on the Web but if nothing else, you can always call the station during the program and ask to be put on hold.
· Sit up straight or stand up when you speak. Slouching will cause you to sound less dynamic.
· Keep an eye on the clock. If your interview is fifteen minutes, know that you will need to start the wrap-up and perhaps a brief three-point recap of your talk two minutes prior to ending the call.
Make Every Interview Count
If you're able to get the radio or television interview, make sure to tape it or get a copy. Armed with that, you can now get the interview digitized (transferred to CD). Once it's transferred, it's a lot easier to include a CD in your press kit than a bulky tape. If you have a computer with a CD burner all the better. You can burn your own CD's, make labels for them and you've got another great looking piece of marketing material to include with your media kits. Not only that, but you can also attach a digitized copy of your interview to the press room on your web site. That way people can go on-line and see your interview as well.
Don't forget! Bring a cassette tape to the studio or send one in advance if you're going to be a "phoner." This really came in handy for me when I was doing an in studio spot during a book tour in Oregon. It was a small station and they did not record any of their programming. Thankfully, I was able to whip out my tape and I had a copy of the show. Good thing because it turned out to be a great program.
Pitch a Holiday:
I can't tell you how many interviews we book when we have a holiday hook. Dozens and dozens of requests pour into our office for bookings before, during and the week after the holiday. When you're pitching a holiday, your initial thought might be to pitch the obvious topics. But if you can put a non-traditional twist on a traditional idea, you've probably just guaranteed yourself a radio interview. For example, during Valentine's Day everyone wants to talk about dating, keeping love alive and meeting Mr. Right. But what can you offer that would be different? Here are some recent topics we've offered to shows. See if any of them spark your interest, or perhaps help you ignite an idea of your own:
· The Top Three Things People DON'T do that Screws up Their Marriages
· What's the Hottest New Place to Find Love this Valentine's Day? How about a soup kitchen!
· Sweetheart Secrets to Make Your Valentine's Day Sizzle; Simple steps to rekindle the romance!
Pitching a News Topic
If you can tie your topic into something going on in the news, you can nearly double your chances of getting on radio. Watch your local news or morning shows, read the paper from cover to cover and see what you can comment on. Or, maybe it's a different spin on an existing issue. Reality TV is a biggie these days, can you speak to that? If your book is all about relationships, this might be a perfect opportunity for you to get on radio.
Pitching with Pizzazz
When pitching radio, we put together what we call our guest "one sheets." These one sheets are simple one page releases with a catchy headline, a snappy intro, and a bullet point list of "talking points" my guest can speak to (don't forget the contact information). When you're pitching radio, especially morning shows, make this one sheet fun! Don't hesitate to get creative with it as long as it fits in with your topic. The more creative and eye-catching you get, the better your chances of getting called back.
If you're submitting your one sheet to many shows at the same time, it's often not necessary to follow up. Our team will usually just send a fax over and let the station contact us if they're interested.
A Match Made in Media Heaven
Because we've been able to clearly define an audience for any particular guest we offer, the ratio of bookings is very high. If you've been sending out pitches with little response, consider reevaluating who your audience really is. If your topic isn't morning drive time material, send it to an afternoon or evening show. Know the limitations of what you're promoting and decide where it fits in. Knowing this will double your chances of getting scheduled on a program. If you can, listen to the show you're pitching. If the station is in another state, log onto their web site to see if you can hear what the program sounds like. If they don't offer audio streaming, call the front desk and ask to be put on hold! Five to ten minutes of listening to their show will give you a good idea of their format.
It's important to know that while you're promoting your topic, the first order of business is to offer assistance and helpful advice to their listeners. Be very, very generous with your tips, ideas, and suggestions.
Go For the Syndicates
If you want to get on several stations at once, pitch a syndicated show. There are hundreds of them to choose from all around the country. You might even consider pitching (radio) news broadcasters. If you get an item picked up for news inserts it will get repeated several times throughout the day!
When you pitch is often crucial to getting picked up. Depending on the show and the size of the station, you could get a same day interview or be scheduled weeks out. Usually the larger the show the longer the lead time. If you're planning on targeting a holiday, start with a first round of faxes a month out. As you get within the two week range, send them again.
One, Two, Three, Pitch
Unlike many televisions programs and news shows that won't feature their competitor's information, radio stations usually don't have this policy. Unless you're targeting a station like NPR (with competitive programming), you won't run the risk of getting overlooked just because you've been on a different station.
A Few Pitch Potentials
There are a number of things that you might be able to pitch to. Consider Easter, Memorial Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day, Independence Day, the summer vacation season, back to school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, military holidays. All of these offer a myriad of great angels for pitch potential. For example, while the summer vacation season might seem like a travel heavy topic, why not pitch something a bit different. Did you know that the amount of people who get lost in the wilderness doubles during the month of July? If you have a book on survival in the wilderness, this might be a perfect time for you pitch yourself to radio.
Best Times to Pitch
There are certain times of the year that are better than others for pitching radio. Whenever possible, I always try to 'feed' the media during times when I know they'll be hungry for news and guests. Some of the best times I've found for pitching are during holidays and vacations. The week between Christmas and New Year for example is excellent, as are the summer months. Another great time? Federal holidays when news is almost guaranteed to slow down.
And finally consider doing an author tour without ever leaving your office! How? Well, radio of course! Ninety-five percent of the people I book on radio do interviews from the comfort of their own home.
"See" you on the airwaves!
If you're searching for stations in your area? Then head on over to the following links. For a listing of AM stations: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/amq.html
For a listing of FM stations: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/fmq.html
Another great radio locater is www.radio-locator.com
About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed the ranks at Amazon.com to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: No More Rejections. Get Published Today! was released in July of 2002 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:email@example.com
Copyright ã 2004 Penny C. Sansevieri