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How to Do A National Radio Talk Show Tour from Home
Of all the media, radio talk is the most dynamic, interactive and exciting way to reach your audience. If your project or topic is informative, controversial or sensational (or all three combined) setting up talk radio interviews is probably the easiest form of publicity to get. There are many good media directories on the market but the big daddy of them all is Bacon's media directory which lists all newspapers, radio and TV stations in the US by state, city, call letters and provides a wide range of useful data like producers names , show formats, etc. While expensive (over $ 250.00) this directory is an indispensable tool to media professionals. You may want to check your public library and see if they have one or can order one in. This way, you could photocopy the markets you are interested in targeting your media communications.
Getting a talk radio interview (called a gig) is simple and all you need is a way to get your press release to a particular show producer (mail, fax, email), a phone for follow-up, a quiet environment to make and receive calls and perform talk show interviews from your home. I have a lot of experience doing radio talk and I assure you, there is no easier way to promote your project to the public. And like everything else, the more you spend time setting up gigs and doing talk shows, the easier they are to set up and do, it builds upon itself. The nice part is that 90% of the time the radio station will call you at your home or office, all you have to do is punctual, available for the call and professional.
The following tips are from our ebook "How To Get Free Publicity" and will give you a lot of information to improve your talk show experience and help you be successful on the radio.
Cool Tips & Tricks
It is possible to do a national radio talk show tour from your home in fact, easier then you think! All you have to do is contact the radio stations with a talk format, speak with the appropriate producer (s) of the show (s) that would handle your topic, send (or fax) them a press release and set an appointment to conduct a phone interview. This is a great way to get thousands of dollars worth of airtime with minimal cost from the comforts of your home! Often, the radio station will call you when it's ShowTime!
- Know your market … call ahead to radio stations and see what kinds of materials the producer / host wants to see from you beyond your press release, if any.
- Send your press release in a plain envelope with the producers name hand written with an ink pen. This personalizes the press release and helps ensure that it will get read.
- Press releases are sent in an envelope right? Use the outside of the envelope to write a key sentence or thought. This will help catch the eye. We write "Smart people read Smart Books" on the outside of our press envelopes.
- Provide a way for producers and talk show hosts to respond to your press release by providing a toll free number they can contact you at for show scheduling.
- Add something visual that catches their attention. Even a business card or a Rolodex card with your name, phone number, address and indicating your area of specialty.
- Follow up your press release by calling them to confirm they received it and to set a talk show interview appointment.
- Use an 8 by by 11 "monthly calendar to log your talk show appointments. When logging the appointment, write the producer / host name and station call letters in the time slot.
- Always send a brief thank you letter to the producer / host for allowing you to talk with their audience. Use your monthly calendar and check off the media when you send the thank you letter. This has many benefits including a media review and control system showing you where you talked and what you need to thank at a glance.
- Try to schedule 1-2 talk shows per day. At least one, two is best.
Here's some tips and tricks to help you when talking on the radio:
1. Make sure you have a good phone line. If possible, have a mute button on your phone to mute out your coughing. (Called a cough button).
2. Make sure you have a quiet environment to conduct the talk show from.
3. Do not be distracted or disturbed when doing a talk show. Put a "Do Not Disturb Radio Talk Show In Progress" sign on your home or office door.
4. Have a glass of water nearby during the talk show for obvious reasons.
5. Write your talking points down in advance of the talk show. Design these talking points so that you can use them again and again. The more you conduct radio talk shows the easier they get and the better you get. Expand your talking points to answer the common questions you get on the radio.
6. Try to limit your talking points to three (3) main points in an outline fashion. If you are talking about a book, paperclip the book for easy access while performing.
7. Have a special "information" toll free phone number for people (and media) to contact you to learn more about what you can or answer. If you are an author, specialist or consultant, the announcement of this information line can get publicity.
8. Get listeners involved, have a contest or quiz. If you are handing out important information, tell them to get something to write with, you'll be giving out money saving tips (or something). This way, when you mention your toll free phone number, they have paper and pen in hand ready to write your number down.
9. If you are asked a question you do not have the answer to, do not panic. Tell the audience you do not have the answer in a professional manner BUT you will dig into it and call the station back when you have the answer. This may give you another chance to get on the air.
10. Another technique is to tell the caller on the radio to call your toll free number and leave their telephone number with your staff so you can get back to them with an answer then, state your number. This allows you to get your toll free number on the air twice. Once during the show and once before you leave.
11. Never make up an answer to a question. You either know or you do not know. If you make up an answer on an interactive talk show, you can bet your last dollar a listener will catch you and call the radio station. Nothing is more embarrassing or ruins your credibility faster than giving out hogwash answers.
12. If you goof up on a talk show, make note of it but do not let it ruin your enthusiasm. Practice makes perfect.
- Nothing replaces you having knowledge about your topic and the issues surrounding your topic. When you are on the radio, it is very comparable to sitting on the 50-yard line of the super bowl with 50,000 people in the grandstand, each able to ask you any question they want about your topic and the associated issues. The good news is that people in the audience do not have as much time invested contemplating the issues surrounding your topic as you do. This allows you to think deeply into your topic in advance of the questions.
- The best way to cover your bases is to ask your self the 5WH formula: Who, What, Where, When, Why & How.
- Having the answers to the 5WH formula will go a LONG way to preparing you for as all media interviews whether newspaper editors or radio & TV talk show interviews.
Remember that behind every voice you talk to in the media is a human being. Whether they are editors, producers or show hosts. It is possible to become friendly with some of these folks over time and if you play your cards correctly, you can turn yourself into a self-publicist. When you have the ability and credibility with the media to pick up the phone, make a few calls and schedule a week's worth of talk shows in a couple hours, you know that you have done your job well.
To your success!
Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights Reserved