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Four Tips To Get Talk Radio Hosts Interested in Your Book

Jul 23, 2008
Talk radio interviews are one of the bases of a writing homerun. In fact, they're custom-made for non-fiction authors who want quick, affordable national exposure for their titles.

Let's face it, where else can you:

* Kick-off a coast-to-coast publicity campaign in less than three weeks?

* Create promotional "buzz" for your book at the grass-roots level?

* Reach America's greatest urban markets - Boston to LA - from the comfort and convenience of your own home?

* And, talk directly to fans and fans-to-be?

Publishers and best-selling authors understand all this. They know the marketing and promotional value of appearing as a guest on talk radio. And, of course, so do we, as we've been arranging interviews for almost 20 years now.

And, during that time we've certainly learned a thing or two about the preparation that goes into booking guests on talk radio.

Let me share some tips with you:

TIP #1. Stay Current

First off, you need to follow the news. What are people talking about? What is the media saying? What's the buzz? Why is this important? Because, in case you haven't noticed, talk radio is all about current events. Current events in politics, in sports, weather, health, culture. So when you know what's current, you can package your message to fit the news: making you an attractive guest for a talk show. Your job is to scan the network and cable news channels, the newspapers, look at news Websites, and, most importantly, monitor the talk radio landscape. Take time to listen to some local and/or national talk shows, hear what they're talking about - get a feel for the rhythm of it. Most of all - get a pulse of the public listening in.

TIP #2. Tie-Ins To The News

I mentioned "packaging" your message? That's a key. As you follow the hottest stories in the news, think of ways you can tie the message of your book into them. Look for controversy or big names, big money or even relationship issues: These are always tantalizing topics for many talk show hosts (and their listeners). Developing a good angle for your book that's newsworthy means you might even be able to get on the air with your novel - we've had success doing that a number of times.

TIP #3. Pitch Your Topic, Not Your Book or Yourself

As you develop your message, keep in mind that radio hosts are interested in what you can do for their listeners, not what they can do for you. They want an interview, not an infomercial for your book. So, when pitching to hosts and producers, put emphasis on the issue you want to talk about on the air, rather than on your book. The fact that you've authored a book gives you credibility "currency," so spend it wisely when pitching your cause. There's no need to worry: once on the air, you'll be given plenty of opportunity to plug your book during the interview.

TIP #4. The Right Press Release Formula

Nothing is more important than the press release itself - it's your key to the media's door. The quality of our press releases have everything to do with our success in booking guests. You want to make sure your headline is enticing - it's got to grab the media's attention. The text of your release should elaborate on the subject matter and what the "on-air" conversation will be about. It's always good to include a couple of juicy or provocative quotes. Also include a short, but impressive bio, and 5 to 10 questions you'd like the host to ask you.

There's plenty more to learn about, but these few tips can help jump-start you into the world of talk radio.
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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