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6 Tips for Getting Booked as a Talk Radio Guest - 8/10/2010 -

There are many tools available to get your association's message out to a wider audience, and talk radio is a good one to try.
 
By Marsha Friedman

Talk radio is a great avenue for getting your association's media content in front of a wide audience.With such an abundance of shows airing on terrestrial stations, online stations, and satellite radio—and covering such a wide range of topics—you're sure to find many that will be a good match for your message.

So how do you get an association editor or executive director on the air? Here are six tips designed to get you talking:

  1. Tie your message to current hot news. The foundation for any good publicity campaign: First and foremost, follow the news. What are people talking about? What is the business and mainstream media saying? What's the buzz? Keeping up with the news is important because talk radio is all about current events. When you know what's current, you can package your association's message to fit the news, which makes you an attractive guest for a talk show.

Your job is to scan the network and cable news channels, the newspapers, look at news websites, Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly, monitor the talk radio landscape. As you follow the hottest stories in the news, think of ways you can relate your association and the industry or profession it serves to the latest news stories. Look for controversy or big names, big money, or even relationship issues—these are always tantalizing topics for talk show hosts (and their listeners).

  1. Never pitch yourself or your association's membership value or other products. The pitch letter to radio hosts and producers should focus on the issue about which your association can offer expert information or the challenges that your association addresses. Radio hosts are interested in what you can do to inform and entertain their listeners—not what the host can do for you. Your association's credibility and expertise in its field is important, but it's secondary to the topic the association editor or executive director will be discussing. Pitch the segment—not your organization—and you'll be on the same page as the host.
  1. Write a killer pitch. The quality of your pitch will have everything to do with your success in getting your association booked as a talk radio guest. Just as with the articles you write for your association's magazine, journal, newsletter, or website, make sure your headline is enticing – it's got to grab the media's attention. The text of your release should elaborate on the subject matter and what the "on-air” conversation will be about. It's always good to include five to 10 questions you'd like the host to ask and a short but impressive bio of who will be representing your association on air.
  1. Find contact info for shows.Most stations have websites listing all their shows. Look for a "Contact Us” page – in many cases the email address and phone number for the show producers will be right on that page. If that doesn't produce results, find the station's phone number on the website and call them, explaining that you would like to contact the show's producer to suggest a segment. Ask them for the producer's email address and the best phone number for following up; they will give this to you since this is how producers find guests and content for shows.
  1. Personalize and send your pitch. Do not send your pitch as an attachment to your email message – copy the pitch right into the body of the email instead. At the top, add a very brief note to the producer or host (sometimes they are one and the same) to introduce your pitch. Your introduction should tell the producer why you think your topic would be a great fit for his show or why you think his audience would be interested in what your association's expert has to say. The producer is far more likely to respond favorably to your proposal when he can readily see that you've done your homework
  1. Follow up after you send your pitch. After you email your pitch, call the producer to ask if he received it or has any questions. If you get him on the phone, this is your opportunity to expand on your pitch and really sell him on what a great show it would be and how much it would interest his audience.

If you faithfully follow and do each of these steps, your association's message and content could be on the air in no time.

Marsha Friedman is CEO of EMSI Public Relations anda 20-year veteran of the public relations industry.She also hosts anational weekly radio talk show, The Family Round Table.


 

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