5 Simple Tips for Sounding Great on the Radio
Having done several radio interviews to promote my second novel The Cigar Maker I thought I would share some things I have learned about being a great interviewee on the radio. Here are five easy tricks to sounding great on the radio and conducting a great interview.
1. Be Prepared
You need to be quick with your words and be ready to talk. Write down a list of talking points and have them in front of you during the interview. The host will probably start by introducing you and giving you a chance to talk about your product. Have a 20 second pitch written down. I usually have about two pages of typed notes that I refer to during the show.
You need to sound credible and if you’re bumbling with your words the listener will not take you seriously.
2. Know Your Audience
It is very important to understand the show’s audience and to speak to things that will interest that group. Talking to other authors on Blog Talk Radio is much different than speaking to seasoned cigar smokers on The Cigar Authority. For one audience, I talked about the writing process, my characters and my experiences in publishing. For the other audience, I talked about the history of the cigar industry, how the struggles of the early 20th century cigar workers are still relevant today, and my favorite cigars.
The host or producer should be able to provide a demographic breakdown of their listeners, so you can adjust your talking points accordingly.
3. Educate and Entertain
The worst thing you can do when answering questions is to give short answers lacking in substance. Example. The interviewer will likely ask where you live, or where you are from. Take a look at two possible interviews.
#1 Guest Gives Brief Answer
Host: You live in Minneapolis, right?
#2 Guest Gives a Little More
Host: You live in Minneapolis, right?
You: I live in Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Twins have put together a terrific team and are having a great season in a brand new outdoor ballpark.
Which interview is more interesting?
Since you know your audience, you should be able to provide information that either entertains or educates them. Don’t spend a lot of time talking about yourself, unless you have some interesting anecdotes that relate to your product. Overcome the “so what?” factor and keep giving the listener a reason to take another look at your product.
4. Control Yourself and Your Environment
You do not want to control the interview or the show. Leave that to the host. What you can control is you. Your voice, your environment, your audio posture. Find a quiet room and beware of outside noises like airplanes, lawn mowers, pets and curious children. Sit outside in your car if you must but know that the airwaves can be sensitive and you don’t want a ringing doorbell to distract listeners from your pitch.
Project your voice. Speak a bit louder than you normally do and make sure you sit up straight. Hunching over can muffle and weaken your voice. I actually stand up when I’m being interviewed on the radio, and imagine I’m giving a presentation to an auditorium filled with hundreds of people.
And don’t forget to mention your product! Don’t rely on the host to do this for you. Instead of saying, “my book is about blah blah blah,” the listener who just joined will appreciate it if you say, “my book, The Cigar Maker, is about…”
Do plenty of name dropping – of not only your product but your website.
5. Make a Strategic Follow Up
After the show be sure to follow up and thank the host and/or the producer. But your promotion doesn’t end when you hang up the phone. Offer to provide several free promotional samples of your product. After two of the shows I did, I offered to send 3-5 books that the host could give away to listeners on future shows. If they are giving something of yours away, that means they’ll be talking about it, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. It’s free media and free media that you will not have to manage. Your presence will linger long after the show and the free items will create buzz, which is exactly why you went on the show in the first place!