Get On Online Radio
Fitness Entrepreneur: How to be the successful guest who lands bookings.
Do you wonder what free, fun, overlooked medium you could use to send your training and business message to a greater audience? Imagine drawing in more clients, selling more services and attracting more awareness about your business without spending money! Online radio is big and growing bigger. Hosts need guests, but not just any guests. They need guests who meet specific criteria. How can you be the guest who gets booked and asked back? Prepare to shine, sparkle and succeed on online radio with a few simple dos and don’ts.
To be considered both “professional” and a winning guest, adopt these strategies.
First, make sure that what you and the show offer have something in common. Look for ways you are in genuine alignment with the program’s premise and audience. If the show bills itself as “The Source for Executives,” don’t waste time pitching an episode on home workouts for new moms. A little creativity can get you booked. Why not reposition your message as “Are You on the Mommy Track or the Career Track With Your Workouts?” or “Quick Ways to Work Out Before You Leave for the Office”?
Second, make sure the show’s values are aligned with your own. If a show relies on fear, emotion and hyperdrama to rile up listeners, while your business is about reducing stress, making rational choices and appealing to people’s intelligence, you may want to look elsewhere. You have to know the tone, goal and intent of the show to know whether you have a potential fit. Tailor your message to match the show’s; do not expect the show to adapt to you.
Be sure you understand who the listeners are. Ask ahead of time for any important demographics, listener stats or information about the target market. Does your business cater to high-income, active, urban professionals who exercise before and after work? Find the shows that claim to reach that market. Nothing gets you ignored faster than a pitch that screams, “I am sending you this pitch, and I want to be on your show, but I am making it apparent that I have never listened to an episode or even bothered to read your website description.”
For instance, you want to encourage people to walk into your new facility. The show promotes itself as “worldwide radio for English speakers everywhere.” Remember: online radio does not have the same geographical restrictions as land-based, airwave radio. So if your goal is all about reaching your local market, you need to rethink your strategy.
Your introduction should be relatively brief—just a few sentences. You may have a plethora of qualifications that establish you as an expert, but listeners aren’t going to pay attention to a long resumé. The host will want to bring you into the interview with three or four sentences at most and then move on to content. You can work in relevant experience as the conversation unfolds.
Make it easy for the host to say yes to you. Don’t send a long bio “graciously” allowing him or her to pick and choose from it. You’re essentially saying, “Edit my bio because I could not figure out how to condense it into 100 words.” Follow directions if you are given them. If not, send both a long bio and a short one: the former to serve as background information and help the host decide whether you qualify to be on air; the latter to use for the interview.
The angle is the particular approach, theme or focus you are proposing; the hook is the twist, unusual aspect or unique spin you are putting on your episode pitch to attract and “hook” the audience right away.
For example, let’s say you just bought a new line of equipment for your facility. Why should listeners care about the new equipment, especially if they live nowhere near you? How will it enhance their lives? Change their results? Answer that and you have an angle. Let’s say the equipment is designed to be super time-efficient. The hook could be, “How Can 30 Minutes a Day Increase Your Life Span?” or “What Do Fitness Pros Know About Choosing Workout Equipment That You Can Discover?”
However, you also need to be open to accepting the host’s angle. Trust that your host knows the show best. Consider any hook or angle suggestion a gift and accept it!
You and your host have agreed to an interview angle. Great start, but you also need to give the host provocative, interesting questions to pose. By doing this, you will be able to direct the content to showcase your strengths. You will also know the answers! Make sure your questions can be answered in the allotted time. If you have an 8-minute segment, for example, you need to be set for quick sound bites, all on one main point. For instance, in 8 minutes you cannot address every reason for the obesity epidemic, but you can offer five quick strategies for adding 5 minutes of movement to 5 days of the week. Conversely, if you are given an hour, your questions can allow for more depth and movement from topic to topic. And they had better be good questions to hold listeners that long.
When you are asked to be a guest on a radio show, be sure to avoid these four “droner, groaner” mistakes during the interview:
Error #1: Being boring. If you are new to radio, record yourself in private and ask for feedback. As fitness pros, we have energy galore. Let that show through both your voice and your content.
Error #2: Focusing on just yourself. Don’t think that the interview is just about you, your business and your message. While the interview focus is on you, the content focus is on the audience. Make every minute valuable for them.
Error #3: Using your airtime as ad time. Let your host take the lead and ask about your book, DVD, product, service, business or event. Then give short answers, with enthusiasm, and make sure they relate to the overall content of your interview. Remember: What’s in it for the listener? For an example of an interesting guest who had high listener stats and a product he was able to discuss successfully without being an ad turnoff, go to www.womensradio.com/episodes/Body-Weight-Training-for-Women%3A-Gravity/9056.html.
Error #4: Taking over. If you rattle on and your host cannot get a word in, force yourself to catch your breath. An interview is a conversation, not a monologue or a hostile takeover. When the host interrupts you, it’s a sure sign you’ve been talking too long without a pause. Keep your answers short and respond directly to the host’s questions.
After you nail an interview, now comes the time to fulfill your number-one responsibility: publicizing the show! Just as you are counting on the radio show to spread your message, the host is depending on you to bring in listeners! That is the implied or stated “deal” between you and the host; it’s a symbiotic, cooperative partnership, even if it’s just for a few days of excitement.
When you receive the link or embed code to download your episode, tell everyone! Post the link on Facebook, LinkedIn, IDEA FitnessConnect and other sites; tweet about the show, your episode, the experience, the host; send out e-mails to your network and add the link or audio track to your website. Do what it takes to support and market the show. Ask your network/clients/members/staff to check out the radio’s page, site and connections. Make sure you have done all you can to share the message. Nothing gets you asked back faster than a nice spike in traffic!
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The following intro bios worked well because they are concise, easily read aloud
and written to be heard, which is different from written to be read silently.
Mary McManus intro (<100 words). Mary McManus, polio survivor, never fancied herself an athlete, but at the age of 55 she ran her first marathon—and not just any marathon: the Boston Marathon! The diagnosis of postpolio syndrome gave Mary the push she needed to make dramatic lifestyle changes to find her path to health and healing. Inspirational speaker, yogini, runner, blogger, poet and so much more—at the age of 57, she is just getting started. How did she get going when the going was so tough? Please join us in welcoming Mary McManus.
Dr. William Sears, MD, intro (<25 words). With us today is Dr. William Sears, one of America’s most renowned pediatricians and health experts, and author of the book Prime-Time Health.
This list contains places you can get started as a fitness guest:
- Directory of Health Talk Radio Shows, e-book listing more than 120 health-oriented shows, by Francine Silverman, www.smashwords.com/books/view/6273; or her more comprehensive book/e-book, Talk Radio Wants You (McFarland 2009), at www.talkradioadvocate.com/.
- Fun and Fit radio show (which I host with my twin sister, Alexandra Williams, MA), http://funandfit.org/fun-fit-radio/. Contact the show at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://funandfit.org.
- LinkedIn. Do a key word search for relevant groups within LinkedIn (fitness, health, radio, etc.). You will find groups such as “Talk Show Hosts” and “Speakers, Panelists, Moderators, Authors, Editors, MCs, Hosts, TV/ Radio Anchors” that contain your target—hosts who need guests. Join the groups; participate in discussions. Resist the temptation to leap in and start promoting yourself and your business. Once you have been in a group awhile, you will have a good sense of how and when to propose yourself as a guest.
© 2012 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
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