Media Training: How to Rock Your Next Radio Interview
You’ve been asked to appear as a guest on a radio show. You’re thrilled. And you should be. If you consider around 90% of the UK population tune in to their favourite radio stations each week, that’s millions of potential ears tuned into the wireless. And with the rise of podcasts, there’s now even more opportunity to reach your potential audience.
It may be a scary prospect, but a radio interview is a fantastic PR opportunity. You can demonstrate your industry expertise, while communicating your passion for your product, service or industry.
Here are my top tips to help you nail your radio interview and leave the host, listeners and media wanting more:
Get to know the show
Find out as much as you can about the show, the interviewer and the station in advance, so you don’t make any embarrassing mistakes like pronouncing the presenter’s name wrong live on air. Listen to as many episodes as you can, to get a feel for how the host likes to conduct their interviews. Is the show live or pre-recorded? Will there be other guests, or will it be a one-on-one with you and the host? Make sure to find out how much time you’ll have on air, so you can tailor your answers to the time allotted.
Think bites, not meals
If you want to maximise the chances of your radio interview being reported by other media, be sure to drop in some snappy soundbites. Soundbites are snippets of information that capture a message in a fresh and memorable way. Journalists love them, so you should too.
Listeners may not remember everything you say in your interview, but if you drop in a few punchy soundbites, one or two of them might just stick.
Stick to the ‘rule of 3’
The majority of us are only able to retain and recall three things from any interaction. So it’s a good idea to identify the three most important things you want people to hear during your radio interview. To paraphrase Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People; ‘Tell them, tell them what you told them and then tell them again.’
Use the bridging technique
Just because you’re asked a question on air, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it. There might be times when you’re unable to discuss a topic or answer a question for legal reasons. Bridging is a technique that allows you to avoid answering a question while restating a key message. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re well within your rights to say something like, ‘I’m not able to talk about that issue at this time but what I can say is…’
Be mindful of high drop-in, drop-out rates
Many people who are listening at the beginning of your segment aren’t going to be there at the end. Other listeners will join in the middle. It’s the nature of the medium. So, repeat your main messages, or themes, several times during the interview. But don’t use the same words; find different ways of articulating your main points.
Don’t hard sell
You’re not a guest on a radio show to sell your products or services. That’s what ad breaks are for. You’re there to inform, educate, entertain, or inspire. The radio producer doesn’t care about what you sell. They just want interesting guests to fill airtime, which means providing the audience with useful information. If you’re constantly plugging your product, you’ll alienate the audience and host. Your best bet is to take the host’s lead. If they ask, by all means, give your product a plug.
Have a cheat sheet
One of the benefits of radio over television interviews is you can have a cheat sheet to hand and your listeners will be none the wiser. If the nerves kick in on the day and your mind goes blank, it can be a handy prompt to help get you back on track. However, a cheat sheet is no substitute for practice. Just because you have a cheat sheet doesn’t mean you can ‘wing’ the interview. If you’re unprepared, it will show.
Relax and enjoy it
Now that you’re ready to knock ’em dead, remember: getting invited on to a radio show is a coup, so enjoy it. If you’re well prepared, relaxed and have your trusty cheat sheet to hand, there’s no reason why you won’t wow the listeners, host and other media outlets, and get invited back for more. If you want to get radio ready, get in touch.