5 Tips To Ace Your Podcast Interviews And Promote Your Book

By Jane Wesman, president of Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc.

Being interviewed on a podcast has become an important way for authors to promote their books. Yet many writers don’t take full advantage of the podcast format. The problem is that podcasts are not only long – often thirty minutes or more – but they are usually conducted by phone. This means that many authors lose energy and give control of the interview to the host, letting the conversation wander from topic to topic.

Remember: the purpose of your interview is to promote your book. You want to get the audience so interested in your ideas that they can’t wait to read what you’ve written. Here are five simple tips to help you stay on message and ace your next podcast interview.

  1. The power of message points – Staying on message during your podcast interview is the only way to promote your book. Therefore, before you do any interviews, create at least five messages about your book that will grab people’s attention. These are five short phrases that you can expand on. They are not paragraphs that need to be memorized word for word. Message points are memory tools used to stay on track. Make sure you write down your message points and keep them accessible during the podcast. You can include phrases like: “I hope listeners will ____(fill in the blank) after reading my book.” Or “I wrote this book to help people ____ (fill in the blank).   Your audience needs to know how they will benefit from what your book – even if it’s a novel.
  1. The importance of brief anecdotes and stories – Make sure you have a supply of brief anecdotes and stories that align with and illustrate your message points. Listeners remember stories or anecdotes more readily than lists of ideas or abstract how-to advice. Stories help people understand broad concepts. Your audience will stay tuned-in – if you make your point by telling a brief story.
  1. Be yourself. Be authentic – Don’t be afraid to show the real you. If you are feeling uncomfortable during your interview, it may be because you are holding back for fear of being controversial or opinionated. Controversy and strong opinions create great podcasts. Just make sure that you are truly committed to, and can defend, your ideas.
  1. Roll with the punches – If you’re asked antagonistic questions or if the interviewer does not agree with you, stay calm, and if possible, display a sense of humor. You need to be prepared for the very real possibility that not everyone will embrace your viewpoint. The best defense is to let the interviewer say whatever he or she wishes – and then reiterate your viewpoint and move on.
  1. Maintain 100% focus – Since podcasts are done by telephone, not in a studio, keep distractions to a minimum by turning off your computer and other devices. You emails or text messages will definitely interfere with your concentration. In addition, try standing during the podcast. This not only helps you focus, but also makes it easier to project your voice. And keep a glass of water within reach, just in case you become parched. You’ll also find that most podcast hosts want you to use a landline for the interview, not a mobile phone. Most landlines are now connected to cordless phones. So it you’re using a cordless handset, have back-up handsets available, just in case your battery runs out.

And here’s a bonus tip: the more interviews you do, the easier it will be to ace them. Don’t be hard on yourself if the first few interviews don’t go the way you planned. Practice is the key to success here, as it is for any other challenge that you face.

23 Nov 2015
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