Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Market Your Ass Off on Radio

Scott Jensen who frequently comments on our posts wrote this one in response to our recent Blog post, Market Your Ass Off. Comments are great and valuable adding to what we are trying to teach writers about the publishing world. However, this one was above and beyond. So we made the decision to feature his valued insights on Radio Marketing instead of hiding them where possibly no one could take full advantage of his professional marketing expertise. Hope you don’t mind, Scott.

He wrote:

And let us not forget radio talk shows. They are ALWAYS starving for new guests to interview. When I released my white paper "P2P Revolution" free over the net, I got on several and one of the nationals. Heck, I've been on radio talk shows over letters-to-the-editor I've written to newspapers. A non-fiction book would give you even more creditability to get on these shows. All radio talk shows these days have websites. Go to them and there will be a contact email address to which you send in a pitch. In fact, many will have a separate email address for just this purpose.

As I have appeared on a lot of radio talk shows and, being a marketer by trade, gotten tons of clients on such shows and advised them how to make the best of it, here's the pointers for becoming a great radio talk show guest.

1) NEVER use a cellphone or portable phone to do the interview over. Always use a land line. Many shows will even demand you only use a land line. Land lines give better sound quality and there's no fear that a battery will die halfway through the interview.

2) Do the interview in a quiet room in your house. Turn off everything that makes noise. ESPECIALLY the radio show you're about to be on since that can cause fingernails-on-blackboard feedback noise. Do not let anyone ... not even your beloved spouse ... be in the room with you. Turn off all fans. If you have central air, shut it down for the interview period. Put the dog and cat out in the yard. If your dog is a barker, have a friend take it over to their house.

3) Relax. Nothing is worse that a nervous motormouth guest. This is not a race. Choose your words carefully. LAUGH at the host's jokes!!! Just before you appear on their show, take some deep slow breaths and calm down your heart rate.

4) Don't over pitch your book. Hosts HATE people that are constantly pitching their book/company/whatever. Realize that the host will tell their listeners your credentials before and at the end of the interview. Your chief credential being your book. Having said this, casually work into your chat phrases like "Well, I did cover that in my book. In a nutshell, here's the main thing about that. You see..." Each time you use phrases like that, you tease the listeners to get and read your book.

5) TELL ALL!!! Never ever say anything like "I don't want to give away too much from my book." or other such nonsense. Give it all away. The more you give away, the more reason the listeners will want to get your book. Listeners will rightly assume your book has even more good information in it that that little five/fifteen/hour interview could ever possibly give. Tell all your book's secrets. All of its gems.

6) Have a sense of humor. If you can tell a joke or make the host laugh in some way, you're gold as far as that show is concerned. Nothing gets you an invitation back like being a guest that can make the host laugh. And the best humor is self-depreciating humor. Yup, humor at your own expense. Look at the greatest comedians. Their best jokes make fun of themselves.

7) If the host attacks you, don't return fire. Calmly point out something that is in your favor. Do not ... let me repeat that ... do NOT ever get into a shouting match with the host. Even if the host is a shock jock. Let them rant. You keep a cool head. And don't take it personal. One radio talk show host tried to roast me alive on his show and I calmly disfused all of his attacks. After the show, the show's producer was thrilled with my performance and gave me an open invitation to return. Then the host hopped on for a second and thanked me for being on. Only seconds before he was yelling at me and now he was very friendly. The point is to realize that talk radio is first and foremost show biz. Don't take anything said personally.

8) Keep on target. If the host wanders off on some bizarre trail, let him. It is HIS show. However, whenever possible, bring the talk back to your book's topic. Study Ronald Reagan for how a master does this.

9) After appearing on the show, send the producer and the host snail mail letters thanking them for having you on and offer to be on their no-show list of guests. Each talk show has a no-show list. This is a list of guests they can call at a moment's notice to fill in for a guest that ... you guessed it ... doesn't show. Give all you telephone numbers and volunteer for their no-show list. One show had me on twenty times in three months and only the first one was a scheduled interview. All the rest were fill-ins.

10) When you think up a new spin for your book, pitch the talk shows again. You can appear on a talk show again and again for the same book IF you can think of a new angle (a new conversational point) for the host to talk to you about in regards to your book. Pitch, pitch, pitch.

Good luck!



Dennis said...

AWESOME, Scott! Thank you...and thank you, Wylie.


Ann Victor said...

Thanks Scott. Some great tips for future use. I can live with bringing in humour in an interview. No-one wants their listeners yawning themselves to death!

Scott Jensen said...

*laugh* Cool. I'm honored that you think my comment warrants such.

If anyone has any questions about this, I'll be happy to answer your questions.

Scott Jensen said...

There is one thing (probably many) that I forgot to add. Record your interview. This can be then edited into a past-appearances tape. Essentially, that's a demo tape that you can then use to get on higher tier talk shows. Both radio and TV. Have more than one person tape your interview to insure you get it. If you know a geek, be sure to get him to tape it since he'll probably give you a good sound quality copy.

Then edit the tape down to your best pieces. This will show producers how you will perform on their show. It also proves that you know how to handle yourself on talk shows. Send along the cassette tape or CD with your pitch letter. Be sure to put the tape/CD into a jewel case to protect it. Do not ask for it back as that will make you look like an amateur. Do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope for them to send it back to you. You might get it back if you go to their studio to do their show. Otherwise, consider it just a business expense and gone.

Ann Victor said...

Hmmm. My own demo tape. I like the sound of that. Sounds professional!

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Scott Jensen said...


I'd suggest you check out the newsgroup misc.writing.screenplays.moderated since there are a lot of professional screenwriters that frequent the group. It will give you the answers you seek. Sometime brutally. Brutally honest. Just don't come across as thinking you're the next blessing to Hollywood and you should be fine there. It is also a group that is definitely worth the time and effort to dig its archives. Anything posted by "nmstevens" is almost always worth a read. He has a number of film titles under his belt and his analysis/commentary is simply brilliant.

Marjorie said...

I love humor. My whole blog is one big laugh. My mother makes "Mommie Dearest" look like Carol Brady.