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The Perfect Guest

These tips will help make you a sought-after guest on radio shows.

By Marsha Friedman

The best way to have a successful interview is to forget that you’re selling something and work your marketing efforts around the goal of being a perfect radio guest. The key tactics to this strategy are:

  • Don’t position yourself as an author or executive; instead, position yourself as an expert on a topic or on your industry. Don’t try to sell anything other than 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. For instance, a realtor can talk about escaping foreclosures wile a stockbroker can talk about how to manage investment portfolios. Experts on any topic can read newspapers and find stories related to their expertise. So find the news story, shape your interview pitch around it and include the fact that you have expertise in the field.

  • Make the host your friend. Talk candidly and openly about your topic in relationship to the current events surrounding it, and engage the host. In a recent interview, Lee Habeeb, co-creator of “The Laura Ingraham Show” and media coach to many of today’s top talk radio hosts, said, “The most important audience is the host. If you can engage the host, you will have engaged his audience. For example, the only reason most people gather around ’The Savage Nation’ is because they’re interested in what Michael Savage has to say and what he is interested in. So by proxy, you don’t have to worry about entertaining Michael’s audience; you simply have to engage and entertain Michael.”

  • Don’t sell. Stay on topic during the interview, and when appropriate, mention the free material on your website that could benefit listeners. If you engage the host, give a great interview and offer helpful information, you don’t have to worry about selling anything. The host will do it for you. He’ll make sure his audience knows you’re an expert, he’ll give out the name of your website, he’ll mention the name of your book or he’ll talk about the value of your product. He’ll do the promotion for you.

  • Have a website that does more than sell your product. If you are an author, provide free “tips articles” that explain your topic or your viewpoint in an informational manner. If you’re selling a product, create free reports or articles for your site that lay out the problem your product solves, again, in an educational tone.

How does this help promote you?

It’s simple. One of the primary points of sale for almost every industry today is the internet. Your website is your virtual storefront or sales team, and companies pay big money for search engine marketing ads that are designed to drive traffic to your site.

With your free report, you can drive radio listeners to your site in a noncommercial way that doesn’t lead them to believe you are selling anything. All it does is make you look smart. The host, tired of people using his shows to promote themselves, appreciates you for not sounding like an infomercial and even urges his loyal audience to visit your site. If you’re really good, the host may even ask you back again.

And you achieved all this simply by resisting the instinct to “sell;” instead, you re-focused your efforts on helping the host offer his listeners a good show.

Marsha Friedman is a 20-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a firm that provides public relations strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Contact her at

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