Video killed the radio star? I don’t think so. Thanks to digital broadcasting, radio listenership is on the increase. Not only do you have the mainstream radio channels, there are also many niche ‘channels’ popping up all over the world, especially using the podcast medium over at iTunes. Radio interviews are an excellent method of generating PR for your business.
Rosie’s 25 Tips for Being Interviewed on Radio
- Do basic research. Find out a little about the radio station and program you’ve been booked to speak on. Listen to previous interviews to get a feel for the overall tone and if the interviewer likes to be a ‘nice guy’ or argumentative.
- First contact is made with you by a researcher. Their job is to suss you out to see if you know enough about the topic and if you are good for radio – chatty and informative. So if a researcher calls you about the possibility of having you on radio that is when to shine. Be chatty and informative at that point.
- Get as much pre-interview information as possible. The obvious question is whether you will be in studio or is the interview being conducted over the phone? Is it going out live or pre-recorded? Are you alone or will you be sharing the mike with other guests? You’ll get this information from the researcher who books you.
- Don’t look up listenership before you are interviewed! The thoughts of thousands of people listening will not help any nerves! So forget that there are thousands of people listening, and instead think of the interview as a conversation between you and a friend or a client.
- Don’t be a diva. Don’t expect to be paid or have a fixed amount of airtime. This is a mutually beneficial agreement. You are getting free airtime which companies pay dearly for (look up the radio station’s ad rate card if you don’t believe me) and they expect to get an interesting feature for their listeners.
- Do not ask for questions to be sent over before the interview: that won’t happen!
- Before the interview, you can supply the researcher with a copy of relevant frequently asked questions you get from your clients about the topic you are being interviewed about. Most researchers/interviewers will thank you for this, as it will help them to develop questions they want to ask you. Be familiar with the answers but don’t learn them off or try to repeat them back word for word; this won’t come across as natural and will break your concentration.
- Speak more clearly then you have ever done before. If you are soft-spoken amplify your voice.
- Don’t have the radio on in the same room or in a room close to you. This will give loud screechy feedback and take up precious time while the presenter instructs you to turn off the radio.
- If a big news story has broken they may cancel or postpone your interview. Don’t be offended: these things happen. Simply email the researcher and say you would be delighted to do the interview again on another day that suits.
- Keep it interesting. Radio stations have ways of knowing if they are losing listeners during a show. The program may assign eight minutes to your interview but if you are waffling or not interesting and they are losing listeners during your interview they will cut you short!
- Relax, have fun, and be yourself. This is the most important thing to remember. You have been invited to do this interview because of who you are and what you know. Let that give you the confidence to relax, take it easy, and be yourself. Don’t let who you think you are influence you in any way.
- Have a key message. This should be your reason for being on air. If you try to say too much, people will remember nothing. Your key message is something that you can refer back to throughout the interview – an anchoring point for your side of the presentation. Don’t overdo it; just say enough that the listeners remember you and that one key-point that you want to make.
- Don’t make it a sales pitch. One of the worst things you can do is try to turn every question back to your product or service. The listeners don’t want to hear about your pitch too much and you certainly won’t win any brownie points with your host.
- Let the presenter deal with the silence. It’s not your job to fill in the gaps. There may be moments during the interview that you freeze up a little. You might not be able to think of an answer, or you might not know the answer, so just say so. “I can’t answer that at the moment, but what I can tell you is …!”, then bring the interview back to your key message.
- Be prepared for the curve ball. If an odd question comes at you out of the blue, take a moment and if you can’t think of an answer that is not waffle keep it light and say, ‘I don’t have an answer to that but maybe that’s something we could cover in our next interview!’
- Never lose it. No matter what happens, always keep your cool, never lost your temper. You can only control what comes out of your mouth, so keep it all positive.
- Never slag someone off, mention names of people or companies in a negative way or defame someone’s character (even if they are a public character). This will get the radio station into trouble and you will never be asked back again no matter how interesting you are.
- If in studio, sit with your shoulders back, as this will help boost your confidence. If being interviewed by phone stand up during the interview. This will help you sound more confident.
- Don’t forget your bottle of water. Remember that in terms of radio, you are your voice. Keep your mouth hydrated. This will not only help you to speak clearly, but you’ll also feel more relaxed.
- Listen! Listen to what is being asked and answer the question; you can bring the answer around to a point you want to make but don’t waffle.
- Don’t read out pre-prepared things you want to say. Instead have a few keyword pointers you want to make or useful stats in front of you and tick them off when you say them.
- Don’t start the interview by gushing to the presenter how much you like their show, and how much of a fan you are. This is unprofessional and wasting precious airtime. You may only have seconds or a couple of minutes to get your message across. You can include this in a thank-you email following the show.
- Don’t say, ‘Can I just say hi to …’ or ‘Can I just wish my sister a happy birthday …’ Personal messages are not cool during interviews about your business.
- Send a thank you note to the researcher who booked you, and to the presenter after the show. You’ll be the first in their mind the next time they are covering a similar topic!
Radio is a great way of marketing yourself and your business. Don’t be overawed by it, just relax and have fun. Enjoy the experience.
Which tip did you find most useful? Let me know in the comments below!