I have had a number of emails recently about getting interviews on local radio or the growing trend for podcasts. So I am going to be sharing some of the posts from my booklet Media Training. I used as part of training courses that I ran with my video production company where we would take business people, charity administrators and authors through live radio and on camera interviews. The course also covered how to construct a press release and to create a local market for any new product including books.
Over the next few weekends I shall be sharing a number of chapters from the book.
Some of the posts first appeared in 2015.. but since I am planning on starting author interviews as podcasts in the New Year.. I thought it was time to air them again. Put your name in the comments if you would like to be a guest
This week how to prepare for your live or recorded interview.
Wonderful news, your hard work in promoting your new book on social media and locally has paid off and you get the call or email. An invitation to do an interview on a radio station, television show or author promoting podcast.
Getting an interview on a radio show or an established author podcast is gold dust for an author and as such requires you to take a deep breath and celebrate. Millions of Indies out there would love the opportunity to get their voice heard about their work so give this serious thought.
Usually the request will come in by email rather than over the phone as it depends on what you have put down as your contact details. To be honest I do not put my phone details on any of my own press releases or social media. Even though I have been on the other side of the microphone or camera as the interviewer, I also like the opportunity to check the show, station or podcast out first.
99% of the time they are totally legit and a great place to promote your book but on the off chance that you have been invited onto the Naked Author, you might want to just take a pause before leaping in.
‘Live… You mean I have to talk to thousands of people… Live!!!!’
Not all shows are recorded and in fact my radio shows and Internet television interviews were nearly all live.
These days many stations both radio and television are nervous about the spontaneous nature of some guests in relation to expletives, non- PC remarks etc and whilst there are some filters available they are not prepared to take the risk so pre-record.
I love live interviews and whilst I might make sure my guests are well primed before the microphone is switched on there have been moments……
However, live or recorded, provided you are reassured that you will not be sitting naked on a sofa during the interview or on a podcast or show that makes you personally uncomfortable… Dive in and enjoy the experience.
And as you do so remember that every minute you are on air is FREE advertising that usually costs hundreds if not thousands for every 10 second segment.
And to make the most of this opportunity you need to prepare.
First get in the right frame of mind.
This is about you and your book. It is a chance to talk about the writing process, the research, the characters, the plot, your background, your future projects, your other writing such as your blog, how to buy the book, how to connect with you etc.
So there are nine topics for conversation already and you have an interview time of between two minutes on prime time to the luxury of fifteen to twenty minutes on local radio stations or podcasts.
Here is how it would go on one of the interviews that I would air with an author. It is a two way process and this is what I would expect from my guest to ensure that not only do the listeners get the best from the segment but that the author also achieves what they need. I was lucky as I had the luxury of around 12 minutes minimum for an interview with my guests and sometimes if we had a lot to cover I would stretch that by incremental segments of 12 minutes broken up my music.
Me on the radio – my happy place.
I have always enjoyed doing my own research on my guests so that I know who I am going to be talking to and the topics that I feel are important to cover during the interview. However, bless the guest who has given the matter some considerable thought and come up with key points that they feel should be discussed.
This is important as you have a small window of opportunity and if you are to get the full value from it you need to contribute to the process.
When you are invited for an interview on radio you will need to establish how long your interview will be for.
Depending on the length of time you are allotted you should focus on three to five key points for discussion about you and your book.
I like to be as prepared as my guests and if they are an author I always read their book in advance of the interview and prepare my questions. Some presenters have their own researchers and so will be working from questions prepared by them. Do not be afraid to ask if they might let you have the questions in advance. Then if they do not cover what you consider to be the key points about your book or yourself you can return to them with the addition of further questions.
I usually ask my guests to submit their key points to me by email the week before the interview and this gives me a chance to incorporate into my own research.
I have always believed that a well prepared interview is good for me, my guest and the audience. I am not an investigative journalist and my aim is not to ambush my guests but make sure that they are as comfortable as possible about the process and that they are not sitting there waiting for some horrendous question from left field.
When my guests arrive I always have a brief chat beforehand and outline the topics I will be covering – theirs and my own so that even if there are some further additional items to be included they have a chance to prepare for them.
If the person who is your interviewer does not offer this, then do ask if you might spend a couple of minutes before you sit down to ensure that THEY have everything THEY need for the programme!
People buy People first, I will always do a brief introduction to my guest but will also ask some general, personal and informational questions to both put them at ease and to also build a connection with either the listeners or viewers. Be prepared by putting together a short bio at the beginning of your topics that you do not mind other people knowing – where you were born – being local or living in the area a long time can be important – what you do for a living – etc. I would then introduce the topic of the book – the title and a brief sentence about the contents.
Then into questions about you and your book.
Of course every book will have specific key questions and that is for you the author to identify and communicate before the interview. It also gives you an opportunity to prepare the answers. Not that it comes across well if you sound as though you are reading them off, but practice them in advance and you can always give yourself some key words written down that you want to make sure you include for each question.
You will have had my questions about your book as well and this should provide ample content for a well thought out and informative interview.
Something to think about.
- Before going on the specific show listen to it several times to get a feel of the type of interview, length and also the presenter’s questioning style.
- Bring some index cards with your key points highlighted and any questions that you have practiced with.
- If given the choice of telephone interview or in the studio opt for the studio. The interview is likely to be longer and you will find you can be more relaxed and are more likely to make an impression on your presenter. Also in my experience it is harder for the presenter to ask you really tough questions when you are not at the end of the telephone and are looking them squarely in the eye.
- You would never send out an email or a manuscript without editing and spell checking (one hopes) and similarly you can rehearse and record your interview if you are really interested in hearing what you sound like in advance. Whilst there are no visual clues on the radio as to your personality you will be surprised what a difference it makes to your delivery if you are smiling. Of course if you are talking about death and destruction a certain amount of solemnity is required but generally sounding upbeat and lively will win over the hearts and minds of your listeners.
- When in the studio do remember that sometimes the microphone may stay live. There will be a red light by the door which will confirm that one microphone is up at any given time and as you will be sitting close to the presenter you need to be careful of asides that might be inappropriate.
- Always ask where the best place to sit is in relation to the microphone, some are very sensitive and you need to remember this if you are going to emphasis a point by raising your voice.
- You will be asked to do a sound check if the microphone has not already been set. It is customary to do a quick introduction to yourself and keep talking until told to stop. I usually ask my guests what they had for dinner last night….
- The one letter of the alphabet that might catch you out is the “P” – it can pop. Practice any words that start with it.
- Make sure that you give a point of contact, most presenters will ask you for a website or a place that people can contact you or ask for listeners to do so through the station. Give those on a card to the interviewer before you start and keep a copy for yourself.
- As an author you might consider giving a copy or even three as a prize – radio stations love freebies to give away. If in E-version then free downloads.
- If you are doing a telephone interview externally, make sure that you have turned off your own radio – use a landline and switch off your mobile phone. Have the number of the studio to hand in case you are cut off.
- Most stations and podcasts will put the interview online and you can ask for that link to be sent to you when it is uploaded. A very valuable addition to your marketing portfolio and should be networked through your blog and social media sites.
- Most important.. Where can the listeners buy your book, after all that is why you are here.. YES
Next Saturday – an interview live on camera! Oh my..
©SallyGeorginaCronin – Media Training 2012
Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have found useful… I look forward to your feedback.. Don’t forget if you would like to be a guest on my interviews in the New Year please leave your name in the comments.