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Talk Radio Public Relations: Every Station Counts!

Jun 6, 2008
Interviews on talk radio aren't what they used to be.

Back "in the day", hosts would invite guests into the studio for 30 minute or longer interviews. 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 main question is: why? There are two reasons for this.

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.

In talk radio, quantity rules!

Let's think about this fact. "There are thousands of radio stations out there!many just 1,000 watts or so and without a big-name host. But that certainly doesn't mean you should thumb your nose at them."

Think about this point of view. "If a 1000-watt radio station had, say, only 100 listeners, you'd probably think it wasn't worth the trouble, 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? So decide not to pass up an interview, whether big or small. This is a fabulous way of creating a solid consumer base and awareness".

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. The small stations give you a fantastic practice field when it comes to radio pr."

Also, doing lots of interviews gives you a fantastic on-air 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 salesy. It is a huge mistake to undersell and/or oversell!so avoid that at all costs!

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."

Of course there could be problems using the 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. Many hosts won't be as prepared as their big-league counterparts. So you may have to walk them through the major points 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. Very bright people listen to some very small radio stations; so don't ever talk down to your audience."

The bottom-line here is that small-station interviews not only can generate sales, they can prepare you for 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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