Sunday, May 19, 2019

How Authors Can Win Over TV/Radio/Podcast Producers?

When E-Mailing Radio
Your subject line is the most important part. If it causes you to get caught up in a spam filter or it’s not clear or exciting, it’ll just get deleted without being read. You should begin it with “Guest Idea” so they know the e-mail regards a guest versus junk or personal mail.

What follows “Guest Idea” should be short and say something to indicate the topic and a credential. How about this for someone who has a new book about how to lose weight by eating only fruit—Guest Idea: New Book Says You Can Get Thin By Only Eating Fruit. Or, maybe turn it up a notch and say: Controversial Book Says Skip Chicken & Veggies If You Want To Lose Weight, or Diet Guru’s Controversial Book Doesn’t Favor Fruit.

The body of the email should be short. No attachments, please. You can always send more information when asked. If you have a few sentences about what you’ll talk about, use no more than five one-line bullet points, list the name of your book, state your web site and put two sentences about your credentials, they will know 90% of what they need to determine if you’d be a good guest for their show.

Understanding Radio
When exploring your options with traditional media, the medium with a lot of opportunities is radio. More cities have radio than a local television station or daily newspaper, and there are typically more radio stations in a city than there are television stations or newspapers. National, regional, local and satellite radio offer thousands of stations, many with multiple interview opportunities afforded by talk shows and news programs. However, all radio is not equal.

First, you need to look at ratings, not just of a station, but of specific shows and then within particular time slots (7am vs. 3pm vs. 2am).

Second, you need to look at formats. You might be able to get on a high-rated show, but you might not want to be on it because the nature of the show doesn’t work for you. For instance, if you’re a more serious author, you may feel uncomfortable on a morning zoo show where everything turns into bathroom humor and similarly, if you want to tell jokes or engage in a shout-filled debate, NRP may not be the appropriate venue.

Third, you need to look at demographics. You might get on a high-rated show but the majority of listeners are not your targeted listenership. You should seek out a shows whose listeners best resemble your anticipated book buyer.

When researching radio stations don’t make the mistake at looking at wattage, or the strength of its signal. A 5,000 watt station in NYC reaches a lot more people than a 50,000 watt station in Santa Clara, CA.

Some stations simply offer no interview opportunities because they are highly specialized, such as they only play music from the 1980’s. Or it’s an all-Spanish station and only Spanish-speaking authors with books that connect to Hispanics and are printed in Spanish would have a chance to get on the air. Then there are stations that conduct interviews, but only on a single topic, such as sports or business or religion. Unless your core message connects to any of these specialties, move on.

Some Types Of Formats Of Radio Are Classified As Follows:
·         Adult contemporary
·         Adult hits
·         Alternative
·         Contemporary hits radio
·         Classical
·         Country
·         New age/smooth jazz
·         News talk/information
·         Oldies
·         Public Radio
·         Religious
·         Rock
·         Spanish
·         Sports

Within these groups it breaks down into several dozen specific categories, such as ‘70s rock, Christian Gospel, Oldies, etc. Further, these formats vary in their demographics as far as the listeners’ age, race, education, wealth, and other indicators that may influence whether they favorably embrace your message. So do your research.

There are several ways to get radio coverage. First and foremost, you want a live interview. Taped is okay, but you don’t know what time or day it will air—or if it will air at all. Ideally, you want a live interview during the prime listening hours. Some interviews last just a few minutes. If you can get a 10-minute interview, consider that decent. Certainly, longer interviews exist, and sometimes they include call-ins from listeners who ask questions. However, after 30 minutes or an hour, the effect is lost. You’re better off being on three shows for 10-20 minutes each than to do one hour on one show. You want to get your name out there with as many people as possible, and to talk long enough so they are properly interested, but eventually you can talk so long that you can turn someone off. You don’t want them to feel they got all that you had to say, and therefore, don’t need to buy your book or visit your web site.

Beyond a direct interview, the other ways to get on radio include an audio news release, giveaways, advertisements or sponsorships. Or to have a show discuss you and your back.

Audio News Releases
These are 30-60-90 second packaged interviews that get distributed to thousands of radio stations. They get played at all types of hours and sometimes more than once on a station. They provide content for stations looking to fill unsold air time. You could see any  number of companies for this service, to create and distribute the piece—and to follow up with reports of where/when it aired. This is effective for certain types of books, depending on your overall campaign strategy.

For instance, if you need to get your name out there and lack time to do interviews—or you’re failing to get interviews—or you want this in addition to whatever interviews you have time to schedule—this works well. Also, if in the piece that gets sent to stations you mention your web site and the site’s easy to remember, it will help direct traffic to your site. Then you can capture their email to list-build and/or to sell them other products/services to complement your book.

The ANR comes across as a news feature, rather than an ad. I’ve seen many clients get 500-900+ airings of a single ANR.

They are just what they sound like. Whether in conjunction with an interview or in lieu of one, you can contact stations and offer to give away three to five copies of your book for free. This gets your book mentioned on–air several times. Some stations also mention the give-away on their site. You can offer signed copies. No need to offer more than five copies per station. You just want to create a buzz. The winners will provide good word-of-mouth for you.

Once an interview is scheduled with a TV or radio show – or a podcast --you want to help them do the best possible interview.  You can’t ask them to send you interview questions ahead of time, but you can give them suggested interview questions or a Q and A.  You can put tabs in your book to indicate some of the key sections or passages so that if they have any time to skim some of it, they can be on the same page as you.

You need to understand that the interview means more to you than them.  They do a zillion interviews daily, weekly, yearly.  They want good radio that nets ratings and advertisers, but they aren’t going to plot and plan how to do a great interview.  In fact, they’re likely to be underprepared, overwhelmed, and ready to just wing it.  Some guests feel insulted that the radio host sounded ill-informed or goes off-message. Get over it.  Expect it.  Use it to your advantage.  The interview is there for you to get your key points across, not for you to simply answer what they ask.  Once you learn the art of bridging, you’ll be a seasoned pro.

If hosts poke fun at you, your book, or topic, don’t get upset.  Go with the flow.  Even if you have a serious topic, there’s a way to joke about anything.

If the host wants to argue, debate or challenge you in some way, the key is not to attack the host personally.  You’ll always lose that argument as the host has loyal listeners.  Just discuss the merits of your key points and move forward.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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