10 Tips to Make the Most of Radio Interviews

On-air tips for authors to help them prepare for radio interviews.Radio interviews are a staple of non-fiction book marketing and ebook marketing campaigns.

As an author, it’s possible to achieve a significant number of radio interviews, and they can be completed over the phone nearly always.

An author publicist will typically try to establish a baseline of radio interviews to run throughout a book publicity campaign while pursuing other media opportunities.

Here are 10 tips to help you make the absolute most from radio interviews:

  1. Listen to your voice. Record yourself answering questions, and listen to how you sound. Does your voice trail off at the end of sentences? Do you hear some mumbling? Is your voice clear and convincing? Practice the areas you feel there is room for improvement.
  2. Avoid the “umms” and “likes.” All of us have filler words or sounds we use when we talk. Listen to a recording of yourself again, and listen for the “likes” and “pause sounds” you make. Then answer sample questions again and eliminate these – you’ll sound much better. Also, most of us have words we overuse when we speak. Be aware of yours. Examples include “obviously,” “of course,” “you know what I mean?” and “excellent.”
  3. Stand during the interview. Your voice will typically be stronger and clearer.
  4. Dress professionally. It may sound surprising because you won’t be seen, but when we are dressed professionally, we tend to speak more professionally.
  5. Practice the soft-sell approach. Wait for natural times to mention your book; don’t force it. Hosts want engaging and informative guests who aren’t always saying, “as I say in my book.” Sometimes the host won’t mention your book until the end of the interview, and that’s fine.
  6. Keep your answers short and complete. It’s okay to answer yes or no, but then elaborate with a sentence or two. Be aware of being concise and avoid rambling. Also, the worst kind of answer to give in an author radio interview is only a “yes” or “no.” Dead air time will always follow such a response. 
  7. Never let them see you sweat. Depending on the topic of the interview, you might get tough questions from the host or callers. A caller might challenge something you say, or the host may try to lure you into a combative interview. Go with the flow, and never lose your cool. Acknowledge different opinions and remain calm and friendly.
  8. Get listeners involved. You’re not just talking to the host; you’re talking to thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands of people. Ask the listeners to do something during the interview; challenge them; offer free books to callers who answer questions right.
  9. Don’t forget to drink water. In an interview, you talk much more and in a shorter amount of time than you usually do, which means your mouth will likely get dry. Have a nice, cold glass of water ready.
  10. Always thank the host and producer. Say, “thank you so much for having me on” at the end of the interview, and then afterward, send a personal note to the host and producer. Polite gestures mean a lot.

Book marketing services encompass a wide variety of media opportunities, and aside from TV, radio interviews are the most personal and potentially impactful type. Make them count!