Hosting or appearing as a guest on online radio shows and podcasts is a terrific way for authors to gain publicity for themselves and their books. Nonfiction authors can use these shows to build their reputation as experts in their fields, and some show hosts even earn revenue from advertising or sponsorships.
In today's guest post, Irene Conlan shares her strategies for hosting a successful radio show. Irene's show is on the Voice America network. Blog Talk Radio is another popular place for authors to host radio shows.
Putting a Radio Show Together
I had never considered hosting a radio show until my son came home one day with the announcement, "Mom, you're going to do a radio show!" After a good bit of thought and a lot of trepidation, I agreed. I had started The Self Improvement Blog in 2007 so a show on self improvement seemed to be a good choice for a topic. The blog and the show together could offer a "double whammy." I was asked to put thirteen shows together as a starter and the first show aired on November 4, 2010.
This is me, three years and a hundred and seventy shows later, loving my job as host of The Self Improvement Show.
What do I love about it? Well, a lot of things, but I am blown away by my guests, their stories, their accomplishments and their triumphs, and I now have friends all over the world. In the beginning I didn't know where to find guests—that was the scary part. Francine Silverman came to my rescue a couple of times, helping me fill in some of those early gaps. Now I am booked six months in advance and have a waiting list of people who will come at a moment's notice. Gotta love it!
For me, the show is serious business. I want to showcase my guest and also make it fun for my guest and listeners. If I'm not prepared, the show won't be successful much less fun. I think each host needs to find what works best for them and their particular outreach. In the beginning there was a lot of trial and error (mostly a lot of error). After a few months I developed a routine that I follow and I'll share it with you so you have some idea what goes into preparing for a show. Keep in mind that each host is unique and does it in a way that works for him/her.
Once the guest and I have agreed on a date, here's what I do to get it ready for the air:
• I gather the needed information to put the show together—most of it supplied by the guest or their PR firm. It includes:
Contact information (We broadcast live via phone or Skype.)
A bio and headshot
Questions they want me to be sure to ask (I formulate my own questions but I want their input as well.)
• Most of my guests have written a book so I do a book review. Yes, I read the book from cover to cover and post a review on my blog, Amazon.com and other sites that take book reviews.
• I do an extensive search of the Internet, including YouTube and Vimeo, to find any information I can about my guest. By the time the show airs I know them well.
• I write a brief biography and a description of the show. Based on this information, VoiceAmerica prepares an e-card which I send to the guest and/or their PR firm to e-mail to their lists. I send it to my list also.
• On the Sunday before the show I post their picture, bio and a description of the show on The Self Improvement Blog. I will also post any videos that are available—up to three. All this stays up until the following Sunday when I post information about the next guest.
• A day or two before the show, I write my introduction and formulate the questions.
• On the day of the show I post the book review, Tweet, and post an article either written by the guest or pertaining to the topic of the day. Then I relax so I can enjoy the show, too.
• The day following the show I send the guest a link to the show that they can use on their website, blog or newsletter if they wish to do so.
• Their show is automatically played on the home page of my blog and remains there for the week.
• I listen to every show to see how I can improve. I'm still working hard to remove any "ums" and "you knows" from my vocabulary and it's proving to be an uphill battle.
• As soon as last week's show is "put to bed" I start working on next week's show.
While I certainly don't consider myself a professional show host, I know I bring value to both my guest and my listeners. I had no idea it would take this much time and effort, but would I do it again? Absolutely! If you have any thought of doing a radio show, DO IT. If I can, you can. And as I say at every station break, "Stay tuned for more."
This article originally appeared on Francine Silverman's Talk Radio Advocate blog.
About the Author
Irene Conlan has a Master's Degree in Nursing and a Ph.D. in Metaphysics. Now retired, she manages The Self Improvement Blog and hosts The Self Improvement Show. She has two sons, three grandsons, and a crazy dog in Scottsdale, AZ.