Performing on radio and podcasts like a professional requires preparation and practice. Before you arrive at or call in to the radio station or the podcast show, be sure you’ve gotten everything together. Don’t listen to yourself later and wish you could do it over.
There will be many things you’ll forget to say and even more you’ll wish you had emphasized, but if you follow some simple tips, you’ll reduce those ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’s’ to a minimum.
1. Get the time right
Radio shows and podcasts can take place anywhere in the world. Make sure you know what time it will be at the host’s location. As I write this, it’s 11:00 a.m. in Chicago and 5:00 p.m. in London.
2. Listen to a previous show to get an idea of your host’s style.
Is the host challenging? Is he a talker or a facilitator? Has he read the interviewee’s book? Are his questions designed to get the best response or is he simply going through polite, rote questions.
3. Practice reciting a few (no more than three) important points about your book
You should be able to insert these points into several segments of the conversation while sounding as natural as possible.
The whole point of doing an interview is to push and promote your book. You should be able to summarize your book in a short paragraph that you’ve committed to memory. Divide that paragraph into three main points and shoot them into the dialog at every opportunity.
4. Before your interview publicize your upcoming appearance on every social media outlet you’re plugged into.
Ask your relatives, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances to share this information on their social media accounts. Ask your writer friends, and writers who follow you on Facebook and Twitter, to retweet and post the time and location of your interview with their readers.
Post to LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest! The goal is to reach as many readers as possible with the news that you’re somebody important enough to interview.
5. Don’t wing the interview. This is the first of several ‘15 minutes of fame’ opportunities. Don’t blow it.
Practice with a friend so that you feel comfortable answering questions. Throw in a few questions that are challenging or totally out of left field.
If you don’t have a friend handy, practice into a recorder. Play it back until your answers improve.
6. Relax and focus yourself while you’re waiting to go on air. Remain calm throughout distractions going on around you.
If you’re interviewing at home, go to a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. At a radio station, try to practice steadying breaths while preparations are underway.
Practice smiling your answers. Though the audience won’t be able to see you, smiling your answers helps you come across as friendly and engaging.
7. Try to match the energy level of your host.
If your host is lethargic and speaks as though she’s just waking up, you will have to liven it up to make the interview worthwhile for your audience. If your host is hyper and lively, you’ll just have to try your best to keep up.
Sit up and on the edge of your seat. Stay alert. Have a glass of water nearby. Speak in complete sentences and try to be a little scandalous, exciting, and lively. These are the kinds of people we expect our popular authors to be.
8. Do an effective interview instead of a good one.
With so many options for entertainment and information, it’s easy to turn the dial or click a mouse. Make sure your information is interesting, timely and enlightening.
How does your book answer a question or solve a problem. If it’s a work of fiction, what life experiences led you to write it.
Keep stories and anecdotes short and to the point. Don’t ramble or you’ll run out of time without having promoted your book the way you intended to from the beginning.
9. The host is there to provide a medium for you.
Use that medium to speak to his audience about your work and how or why it relates to them. Don’t try so hard to relate to the host that you forget to build rapport with the audience.
Make the show about the audience as much as possible.Show why your book is the one for them and don’t be too shy to tell them where and how to purchase it.
Follow these tips for an interview that will sell books, gain new readers, and make you a sought after interviewee.