Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: March 6th, 2013 ]

Radio interviews are a great way for self publishing authors to promote themselves and their books, but many people are nervous about doing radio interviews. With these great tips, you are sure to have a successful and fun experience.

1. Keep it fun!

Most radio listeners enjoy some humor and natural conversation. The easiest way to nail your interview is to not over think it. Just go with the flow and don’t take yourself too seriously. Listeners can tell if you are having fun, so don’t forget to smile and be enthusiastic. Even though you are on the radio, listeners can still sense your expressions.

2. Keep it natural!

Interviews that are over-rehearsed and presentation-like are boring and awkward. While you can practice a little bit ahead of time, don’t read from notes or memorize your talking points. Just act as if you were talking to a friend.

3. Don’t worry about silence.

Many people worry about moments of awkward silence. It is the radio host’s responsiblity to fill those gaps and keep the interview moving, so don’t worry. The pressure isn’t on you.

4. Be ready to go live.

If you are doing a phone interview, know that many hosts start the interview shortly after the call begins. Some hosts will give you a few minutes to listen and get comfortable, but be prepared to go live immediately.

5. Keep it short.

Keep your answers to 30 seconds or less. This allows for more questions and some commercial breaks, and it keeps the listeners from getting bored.

6. Be respectful.

You may get some callers who aren’t very pleasant. They may challenge or insult you, but you must stay professional. While it is okay to defend yourself or the topic when the caller is wrong, be sure to do so gracefully. The listeners will respect you if you remain respectful.

I’d love to know, do you plan on doing radio interviews?

– by Kelly Schuknecht

We’ve written about radio interviews occasionally here on Self Publishing Advisorhere, here, and here–but while the world has changed a great deal in respect to its usage of technology, we authors have yet to take full advantage of the changes that have taken place within the radio industry.

Take the changes in listenership, for example: according to Ryan Faughnder of The LA Times, “the millennials so desired by advertisers (specifically, people in the 18-34 age group) listen to an average of 11.5 hours of radio a week. That’s less than people in Generation X (those aged 35-49) and baby boomer (50-64) categories, who average 14 hours and 14.5 hours a week, respectively.”  Where have they gone?  As Faughnder goes on to explain, they’re still listening to audio–but they’re streaming it.  “While nine out of 10 millennials still listen to at least five minutes of traditional radio a week,” he says, “young adults are splitting their time with other audio options such as streaming services (including Spotify, Rdio and now Beats Music) and their personal music collections.”  In a world of streaming audio, self-curated content is king.

\After all, when you know what you like, why leave the soundtrack to your morning commute up to chance?  Radio is famous for operating somewhat independently of its listeners’ stated interests–NPR, for example, perceives itself as a discovery tool as much as it does programming for the people.  Much of the disconnect between Millennial listeners and traditional radio services can be chalked up to this difference in perception–but the good news is, they still listen, albeit not for long and not always by the same methods we are used to.  This means you must capitalize on the brevity of the format–keeping it short and vibrant for listeners who live with their finger on the radio dial–and you must also go looking for new marketing ideas in radio.  Remember podcasts?  Very often they feature specialized content that would complement your work perfectly–and they have a fairly wide reach, too, given that they’re archived online and available to stream through iTunes and other services.  And book bloggers who also run podcasts might be willing to work with you on a brief interview for on-air and a longer interview to be hosted on their website, allowing you the best of both worlds.  Check out the advertising options for radio programs and podcasts that you like, and consider paying for an ad instead of an interview, as ads are repeated often enough to reach multiple demographics.

Radio isn’t dead, but it’s evolving!  Even in the three years since I posted my original article, we’ve seen massive clusters of readers move from traditional radio to streaming services.  As Kobi Yamada writes in What Do You Do With a Problem? (one of my new favorite picture books, by the way!), don’t think of this as a problem–think of it as an opportunity!

what do you do with a problem

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

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