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Don't Make the Mistake of Overlooking Small Talk Radio Stations During Your PR Campaign

Jun 6, 2008
Talk radio interviews aren't what they used to be.

In the 'golden days,' the hosts of major-market talk radio shows used to bring guests into the studio for long chats. A talk radio guest could just knock off a couple of those interviews and sales would instantly hit 'turbo.'

Sadly, those days are gone. In the current market, without a stellar name, a handful of interviews won't set your sales afire.

The reasons are two-fold. First, there just aren't as many talk shows with a format for guests as there used to be. "Secondly, the amount of 'per-guest interview time' has shrunk." Blame the research. The result of much research found that the shorter the segment, the more the audience will stay involved.

When it comes to talk radio publicity, quantity still rules. Think about it. "There are thousands of radio stations out there!many just 1,000 watts or so and without a big-name host. But wait! Don't make that decision so quickly!"

Think about this point of view. "Say a low wattage stations had an audience of 95 people. A utter waste of time, right?" But what if you could go to an auditorium and talk to 100 people about your book, would you go? Absolutely!"

See the contradiction here? "I would suggest that you go on every talk radio show that you can, no matter what the size is! You'll be building lots of selling momentum!and something else, too".

A rookie baseball player doesn't throw his first pitch against the New York Yankees, does he? Of course not!and the same applies to radio.

"I have found in my nearly 20 years in talk radio public relations that is takes generally 10-12 talk radio interviews before clients feel totally comfortable being interviewed in the air. So it's far better to make your first inevitable mistakes on a smaller stage than a bigger one, and that's where the little stations come in. Small talk radio stations let you practice becoming a great guest."

Having a large number of interviews under your belt will definitely give you experience. You'll be able to crystallize your thoughts on your product better!get your presentation down to a few succinct words!sound like a pro instead of a floundering amateur.

There are many mistakes made by "rookie" talk radio guests such as not mentioning your product or website enough, or being too sales oriented. It's also a mistake to mention these too often and upset the host, who will let you know that the show is not an infomercial.

Technical clients have a tendency to slide into techno-babble, and even good guests inevitably walk out of their first few interviews knowing they could have done better. But if you are going out to smaller stations initially, you won't have a national audience hearing your mistakes."

Sure, there can be pitfalls with smaller stations. It is important to get yourself ready because sometimes you will run into unprofessional situations. So make sure that you reconfirm your interview a couple of times before you are due to appear on-air.

And, nothing can save you from the 500 watt or 1,000 watt radio station in Peoria that's hosted by a kid right out of broadcast school, so be ready for what an unprofessional host will throw at you. Hosts on the smaller talk radio stations may not do as much research as the big national hosts. So always be prepared to educate the host on every single aspect of your topic.

"When it comes to these situations, your approach should be as if you have met the person for the first time and you need to explain what your topic is to this stranger. If the hosts aren't as prepared as they should be, you still need to be on your toes. But remember; don't talk down to the audience of a small radio station. You may be offending some very intelligent people without even knowing. Win over your audience, no matter what the size of the station!"

The point: small stations can get your sales going while getting you ready to hit the big time!
About the Author
For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI. Go to http://www.publicitythatworks.com to claim your free "Power of Public Relations" video today!
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