You’ve landed your first radio interview – congratulations!
Appearing on the radio can be a great way to promote your business, but if you’ve never done a radio interview before it can be a daunting experience. After all, you’re entering the homes of lives of thousands of people – a real privilege and a fantastic opportunity to get the message out about your product, your service, your client or your blog.
So how do you prepare for your first radio interview to make sure that you get your points across?
A few years ago, when I was the face of the Noom healthy-habits mobile app, I was invited to speak on a local radio station and the experience taught me a lot about being on air. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned! I was lucky enough to have a long interview (I’ve linked to it at the bottom of this post) but whether you’ve got 15 minutes or 5 minutes there’s a lot you can do to make sure that you give a great performance.
But often it isn’t just the nuts and bolts of the interview process that can hold you back from doing your best. If your negative inner voice is getting all mean-girl on you, read my 7 strategies to break free of your inner judge and jury. Struggling to get over the fear of being on the radio? Read my tips for how to conquer your comfort zone and grab your goals. And if you just can’t seem to get going on promoting yourself in the first place, then learn how to slay procrastination and get shizzle done.
Conquering your mindset is the first step to having a great radio interview! And there are other things that you can do before, during and after the interview to maximise the PR value for your business too. Here’s my 15 top tips:
Before the interview
#1 Make a plan! With my love for all things ‘organisation’ you knew there’d be a list at the top of the list right? This is THE most important tip I have. Make a plan for the interview with a list of all the points you want to get across and then highlight a key word in each point so that you can scan your list quickly in the interview and find a relevant point to make.
#2 Send them your bio – help the interviewer out by sending them a short bio that they can use as part of a trail for their show and to introduce you before the interview. Read it out loud to make sure it’s not too wordy. Keep it succinct. If the interviewer DOESN’T use it to introduce you and just says “Thanks for being here.” then you’ve got your first 15-20 seconds summary right there in front of you.
#3 Write a closing list. At the end of the interview, if you’re lucky, the interviewer will ask what you’re top 3 tips are about the subject you’re talking about. Prepare for this by writing that list in advance, keeping the answers short and to the point. Now, write ONE MORE tip that you think you’ll need, that way if the interviewer asks “and is there anything else you’d like to say?” you’ve got that killer last point to make.
#4 Do your research – the internet is a wonderful tool for researching so find out as much as you can about your interviewer and the station so that you don’t make any faux pas like pronouncing their name wrong.
#5 Practice, but not too much – it’s a good idea to practice speaking through your points as though someone is interviewing you. Speak slowly and clearly. In an interview, especially your first, it’s natural to speak too quickly so try to slow your speech down a bit more than normal. It might sound strange to you but it will come across better on air.
During the interview
#6 Get comfortable – for the interview itself go to a quiet room and make sure everyone knows you can’t be disturbed. I arranged my interview for when the kids were in bed so there weren’t any “Muuuuuummmm!” moments on air! Turn off your phone and if you’re sitting in the kitchen make sure your dishwasher and radio aren’t on. Spread your notes out in front of you so that you can refer to them easily without scrabbling around on-air.
#7 SMILE when you’re speaking – it will brighten your voice! If you’re feeling nervous stand-up while you’re talking.
#8 Use the interviewer’s name – you’ll know the interviewer’s name from your research so you can use it sparingly in the interview. To the listeners’ ears, you will sound more experienced than you are.
#9 Water – Have a glass of water next to you in case you get dry while you’re talking.
#10 Keep going – if you stumble on a word keep going. Dead air time is the worst thing for an interviewer and most listeners probably won’t even notice your slip-up.
#11 Don’t use jargon – if you’re speaking about a technical subject don’t use jargon or abbreviations. Sounds obvious but it’s easy to use terminology that’s familiar to you without thinking about it.
#12 Keep to your plan – unless you’re really experienced in being interviewed stick to your points and try not to go off-topic. If you’re not sure how to answer the question ask them to repeat it to buy yourself some time to skim through your highlighted points and direct your answer to one of them. Don’t oversell – the audience isn’t interested in sales speak – but, importantly, don’t pretend to know about something if you don’t!
After the interview
#13 Learn from your experience. A lot of local radio stations are online so you can record your interview and play it back afterwards. Try not to be too critical of yourself – I HATE hearing myself speak! – but look instead at what went really well and what you could improve on. Did you speak too fast or too slow? Did you hesitate or use a few too many ummms or errrs? Make a mental note for next time.
#14 Promote the interview – if the interview went well ask the interviewer if they would be kind enough to send you an MP3 of the interview that you can put on your website and share a link to it across your social media channels. Be sure to namecheck the interviewer in your posts so that they can retweet or share it too. Something like “It was such a pleasure to chat to <name> on <radio station> today about <subject>. Did you miss it? Listen here <add link> where I share my top tips for/how you can…”
#15 Stay in touch. After your interview, it’s nice to send an email thanking the interviewer and a handwritten note is even better. Include your contact details and say you’d be happy to comment on any subjects or news stories relevant to the nature of your business/blog. You never know, they might invite you back!
Here’s one of my past radio interviews when I was a full-time writer and blogger and the face of the Noom healthy living mobile app (fast forward to 1:05:00).
Are you ready to take the next step?
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