How to prepare for a radio interview and top tips to make yours a success

How to prepare for a radio interview

I did prepare for my radio interview, but this still happened:

8th September 2021 – 11:30 am

I’m sitting behind my desk, teeth chattering and legs shaking. I’ve never done this before. What if I fail? What if I flop? How embarrassing would that be?

8th September 2021 – 11:32 am

There’s the button. Once I press that, I’m on. And once the presenter clicks the “on air’ button on his side, I’ll be live, broadcasting across the world!

8th September 2021 – 11:33

I click the button! **GULP**

That was the 3 minutes leading up to my first ever live radio interview. It’s fair to say I was pretty nervous.

But to grow my business this is the sort of thing I need to do. Get my name out there, push beyond my comfort zone! And as an introvert, this was way out of my comfort zone. Especially after the radio host told me I’d be talking to 140,000 listeners 10 seconds before airtime!

And I know a lot of clients I work with are in similar situations – looking for opportunities to grow. Publicity is a great way to do this. So I led by example and stepped down into the deep dark abyss (that’s how I see every environment outside my warm orange comfort zone), into the unknown.

So today I want to share with you how I prepared for my first live radio interview. And give you my top 5 tips you can use to make yours a success. 

Psst… Read to the end – I’ve included a clip from my actual first live radio interview for you **almost dies of embarrassment**

How to prepare for a live radio interview

I’d never done this sort of thing before. I’m not a master speaker. So I did what anyone would do in the 21st century. I turned to YouTube.

I found a few videos that gave some great tips for radio etiquette. Here’s what I learned:

  • Avoid clearing your throat, coughing or sniffing whilst on the radio – these sounds are louder when broadcast through a microphone
  • Know your stuff – if you’re talking about a specific event, know the dates, stats, prices etc. 
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Be polite and behave yourself – allow the presenter to lead the interview and answer their questions considerately. And no swearing.

Okay. So those seem pretty obvious, right? But I thought it was worth mentioning. 

However, to be fully prepared for your first radio interview, there’s 1 simple thing you can do…

Tip #1 – Ask the radio station what questions they might ask you

Showing up for your radio interview without knowing what they’ll be asking is like showing up to a child’s birthday party without a gift!

Utter disappointment!

So tip #1 is to prepare for your radio interview by asking the presenter or the station what they are going to ask you. If this is the only thing you do to prepare for the interview, you’re 50% of the way there.

When you know what they’re going to ask, you can prepare for your radio interview with answers ahead of the event. Knowing what you’re going to say will help you feel more confident and less nervous.

I pasted the questions the station confirmed they’d ask me into a google doc and started typing my answers. After I finished typing my answer to each question I read (out loud) what I’d written.

I then made any changes (sometimes deleting the whole thing) to improve the answer and make it sound less scripted. Ready for tip #2…

Tip #2 – Practice, practice, practice…

Once I’d got my answers the way I wanted them, I read them over and over.

I practised. Practice makes perfect as they say (although my first interview was far from perfect – more on that later).

By running my lines I familiarised myself with the answers. This way I didn’t have to read directly from the document during the interview. Which leads nicely into my next tip…

Tip #3 – Take your notes with you to the radio interview

Use them as pointers. I don’t recommend learning the answers you chose in the previous step by heart like an actor would as you want the interview to sound natural. So taking your notes can help to remind you what you want to say.

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you want to earth to open up suck you in because your mind went blank the second you saw the red ‘ON AIR’ light turn on!

Keep a little bit of your comfort zone with you in the form of an A4 sheet of paper with your notes on it. Remember it’s radio, the listeners can’t see you.

Tip #4 – Smile and be happy

Radio interviews are not a torture device designed to make you feel silly or ruin your business. 

They can actually do a lot to help your business. And when you show up happy and smiling, your success is almost guaranteed.

So tip #4 is to smile and see this opportunity as a positive. Sure the nerves will still be there – remember how I started this article? But keep positivity within you and don’t allow your nerves to consume you.

THINK – what’s the worst that could happen?

It will never go as bad as the worst-case scenario you run in your head – so think the best, and the best will come.

I’ve hinted a couple of times now about how my first radio interview was not perfect. But how did I measure the actual success of the interview?

Tip #5 – Set goals and measure the success of your radio interview

Here’s how you should measure your success by setting goals. There are two types of goals you should set:

  1. a personal goal – a quick win
  2. a business goal – the long game

Your personal goal should be something you can measure the second the interview finishes.

So it should be something you can pick up on from the actual interview. It could be that you wanted to smile the whole time, or you wanted to say ‘erm’ no more than 3 times. Something like that.

It’s a mini success. A personal goal you can celebrate immediately after the interview. 

But because the business goal is a long game – in that it can take days, weeks and sometimes months to see results, it’s important you have a quick win to measure your success.

Your business goal is what you want to achieve from having done the interview.

Here’s an example – If the interview is covering your new product or new event, you could measure your business success on the number of sales you make on the back of the interview.

How you measure this is completely up to you. But there’s no point in doing a radio interview if it doesn’t spread your word or grow your business in some way. So make sure you measure it and reassess your approach if you didn’t hit the goal you set for yourself.

Do you wanna hear my first ever radio interview?

Okay, I’ve teased enough. 

I’ve taught you what I learned from my experience and now comes the super embarrassing part **cue burying my face in my hands**

I want to show you my first interview so you can see that even if you don’t get it perfect the first time, you can still be successful.

Even if you get no business from your first interview, you will always get personal and professional growth. So give it a go. Jump out of your comfort zone and start searching for radio interview opportunities!

Got any questions about publicity and how you can grow your business with radio interviews? 

Reach out to me at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you.

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