I always love catching up with my writer buds at the annual ASJA writers conference and was happy to get a few minutes with Erin Flynn Jay this year. When she mentioned the success she was having booking her author clients on radio shows, I asked her to give us a few tips here. As a publicist, Erin promotes authors of new books and small businesses in all industries. She’s also a freelance writer and the author of Mastering the Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids in Uncertain Times. Learn more about Erin on her website.
How to get radio interviews
By Erin Flynn Jay
Many experts and authors pitch themselves to radio stations, but have trouble getting through. Producers are bombarded with e-mails every day, every hour in fact.
If you have e-mailed or called stations with little success, it’s time to take a new approach. The first step is to evaluate the material you are sending them.
You need a one sheet
Here are some pointers to consider when reviewing the materials you use to pitch radio outlets:
- The first step is to create a “one sheet,” a one-page pitch that includes your talking points in bullet format and is tied to your book theme or a newsworthy hook.
- Start out with a catchy headline and subhead, such as: “Psychologist and Divorce Expert Explores: The Path to Healing Post Break-up.”
- The lead paragraph is key to selling your expertise. What is the most compelling aspect of your book or background? Start with that. Draw producers in with a lead paragraph that makes them want to learn more.
- Keep the one sheet to no more than one page. No need to send producers an entire press kit or photos – in fact, do not send attachments. Keep the pitch in the body of your email.
- Include bullet points on what you can speak on. This is key – producers will want to see what you are comfortable talking about. If you can tie into what is happening in the news, even better. Try to make your talking points relevant to what is happening today, not 20 years ago.
- Include a brief bio at the end – just a few paragraphs and your website URL so producers can look you up.
Be brief on the phone
When you call producers, be as succinct as possible. You only have a few minutes to grab their attention. Make sure you are not reading your one sheet verbatim — have a natural conversation with the producer about why you would be a good guest for their program.
Get the producer live on the phone – don’t leave a voicemail message. It’s more effective to talk to producers rather than leave a message they might not check for a while.
Sound tricky? It gets easier the more interviews you secure for yourself.
Hire a booker to save time
Of course, you can save yourself time by hiring an agency or book publicist to book interviews for you. If you have a budget that can accommodate support, I recommend outsourcing this work. Spend time on your core competencies, and let an experienced radio booker secure interviews to further enhance your platform.
Do you have questions about how to get interviewed on radio talk shows? Ask them here so Erin can answer them!
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