You may not realize it, but as a freelance writer you are an expert in something. You may have written about things as varied as cooking, dating, sports, or charity programs. Whatever the area, you have gained a level of expertise, and as a result you may get asked to talk about your knowledge.
Radio interviews are one of the best ways for a writer to get exposure. If you get a call from a radio station asking for an interview, here are some tips to make sure your time on the air is the best possible.
How to Prepare
The key to a successful radio interview is preparation. Know the subject matter like the back of your hand. Be ready to answer questions off the top of your head, but also prepare a few bullet points you can read if you get stuck. Radio interviews are short and fast, so keep answers concise. Speak in short sentences that allow for breaks so the host can come in naturally and ask you a few more questions.
Research the Radio Show
Before going on the air, you will likely chat with the producer of the show via phone or email. Ask the producer what types of information he or she would like you to cover. Then, research the show to determine the best approach to take. Is the show family-friendly? Are the hosts shock jocks? Having more information will make you better prepared for the interview.
Radio shows are notorious for having to move time slots in order to fit their material in. Sometimes a show may run long, cutting into your interview time. Other times the host may need filler, and ask you a few more questions than you originally agreed on. Still other requests may include a last minute schedule change. Try and be as flexible as you can.
Prepare Short Answers to Top Asked Questions
Before the interview, practice answering (out loud) the top questions you are usually asked in your subject matter. There are always a few things people want to know first thing, and this will likely come up in your interview. Preparing short answer questions ahead of time will help you be more natural while on the air.
Writers Should Offer Books, Free Advice, or Links to More Information
Kick up the exposure by offering the radio host or producer a free book, tip sheet, or article to give away. Providing items the show can use to reward their listeners will endear you to the station and make you a more valuable guest. Never push your goods (or mention your book repeatedly while on air) but do make the offer. Hosts are looking for ways to make their shows interesting and engaging, so see if you can fill that need.
Send a Thank You Note After Interview
Radio shows talk to many different guests, so make yourself stand out by sending a thank you note after the interview. If you can, mention something personal in the note about a question the host may have asked, a comment by a listener, or inside joke you might have shared. Doing so will make you memorable, and if the producer ever needs guests again in the future, he or she will be sure to look you up again.
Radio shows are a wonderful way for writers to get the word out about their books and services. Prepare thoroughly and be gracious with your hosts. The best thing about radio interviews is that you never know who is listening. Other opportunities can easily arise from just a single interview on the air.