One of our clients, a financial advisor, recently had a great interview on a Sirius/XM talk radio show. His office got lots of calls from listeners afterward, and the show host did as well. They were both thrilled.
It didn’t surprise me. As a longtime talk radio fan and a host of talk shows for several years, I’m well aware of how radio listeners respond to a great guest with a relevant topic. Radio has held listeners enthralled for decades because it’s such a unique media experience.
I believe that being a guest on talk radio is still one of the most effective, affordable and convenient ways for a person promoting anything to gain visibility. But I am admittedly biased.
So I asked Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison if he thinks the changing media landscape has affected the value of talk radio shows for people with a message to share. Talkers, dubbed “The Bible of Talk Radio” by Business Week Magazine, is the leading talk radio trade publication. Michael has been involved in radio for 30 years and founded Talkers in 1990.
He replied emphatically.
“Talk radio is a major platform for people seeking publicity because it literally puts your message right in the mind of the listener,” Michael said.
“Radio has a very dedicated audience, and they’re paying attention. They are an active audience and a large audience. If you’re trying to promote a brand, a product, a business, it’s worth gold to be in front of them.”
Those who say talk radio is losing its vitality come from political circles, he says.
“Talk radio has such a large political component, it gets caught in the crossfire of the intense political wars being waged in our country,” he says. “They’re trying to discredit the hosts and the ideologies with whom they disagree.”
I’m so happy to hear my favorite medium is not only surviving, but thriving.
If you’re thinking about gaining visibility through talk radio, here are a couple of tips to help you succeed:
- Don’t position yourself as an author or executive. Instead, position yourself as an expert on your topic or your industry. Sell only your depth of knowledge and your ability to help answer key questions about some aspect of your topic that may have been in the news recently. Someone who’s researched and written about war, be it for a novel or non-fiction, might talk about the situation in Syria. A fitness expert can discuss the physiology of Diana Nyad’s incredible swim from Cuba to Florida.
- Engage the host. People are usually fans of particular shows because they’re interested in what the host has to say, so if you can engage him, you will engage his audience. Talk candidly and openly about your topic and make sure your advice is honest as well as conversational. Don’t worry about entertaining the listeners; focus on entertaining the host.
- Don’t sell. Stay on topic during the interview, and always find a way to mention the free material on your website that could benefit the host’s listeners. If you give a great interview and offer helpful information, you don’t have to worry about trying to “sell” your product or book. The host will do it for you.
If you’ve been putting off seeking publicity because you’re confused about where your time and efforts will be best invested, consider talk radio. There are thousands of shows across the country, including many with niche audiences that might be perfect for your message. And, you can speak to them from your home or office with barely an interruption in your work day.
You’ll reach people who are educated, have jobs, and are fairly evenly split between men and women (58 percent men to 42 percent women).
As Michael says, “You’ve got to go where the people are, and with radio audiences, you’ll find real people, real listeners and real issues.”
Still tuned in,
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.