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RADIO INTERVIEW 101 Contact Announcements

One of the important aspects of doing free interviews with radio stations, is being able to generate sales and/or customers from it. While it certainly feels good to have an interview "go really well", after a while you start wondering if it is really generating sales for you. Most radio hosts will generally give out your contact info at the end of the interview, but this is simply not going to do much for sales. Looking at radio in particular, if an interview really does "go well", you'll have no question about whether your interview worked or not: Your phone will start ringing before you are even done with the interview, and many of the calls will indeed be for orders (or for information about higher priced services).

Consider this: Infomercials on radio and TV announce their toll-free number many, many times. Ever count how many? About five to seven times PER MINUTE. Certainly you've heard it... "Call now, 800-XXX-XXXX... that's 800-XXX-XXXX, 800-XXX-XXXX, call right now to get your free offer, 800-XXX-XXXX". It's amazing how annoying this is, until you realize that they are not talking to you; they are talking to the person who is trying to find a pen!

Infomercials are paid-airtime, so they can say whatever they want. And if they can say whatever they want, yet they still choose to spend half their time announcing their number, then the number must be very important. And it is! They know darn well that if they only announced their number one time at the end (or worse, just a website), they would get ZERO response.

So the challenge becomes, how do you do a free interview (i.e., not pay for the air time), and STILL be able to announce your contact info several times? You do it by coming up with a "contact announcement" technique. It varies by person, but what you do is look at what you have to offer, what you want to accomplish, what stations want (and will allow), and what listeners are hoping to get from the interview. Then you put a contact announcement technique together and you use it repeatedly during your interview (preferably every five minutes.)

The contact announcement will allow you to receive phone calls DIRECTLY from listeners. These calls are separate from listeners who call the station, however. Some of the listeners who contact you directly can either purchase your items immediately (if the price point is less than $100 or so), or you can collect their contact info (i.e., get a "lead") and try to sell them over a longer period of time.

For people new to radio interviews, learning how to weave contact announcements into their interviews is by far the hardest part of the whole process. And that's why almost nobody does it. If you ever hear someone say, "I did some radio interviews, and got zero sales", ask them how many times they announced their phone number. They answer is always "none". Getting sales from radio interviews requires three things:

1. A large number of listeners (300+ in one second). Only AM/FM stations can provide this (do not believe the lies that web radio stations tell you.)

2. A large number of minutes. A three minute interview does not sell anything. Real sales start happening in the second 15-minute segment, i.e., after the commercials in the first 15-minute segment.

3. Repeated phone-number announcements. A bare minimum of three, no matter what. By the time you are in the second 15-minute segment, you should have already announced your number five times, and you should be beginning another five announcements. Interviews are useless without repeated phone number announcements.

If you have a large number of listeners, and a large number of minutes, but you only announce your phone number twice, your sales will be zero. Sales only start happening after the THIRD announcement. And yes, it must be a phone number, even if the number goes to a voice mail. Once you get the announcement process down, it will easy and automatic. It makes the difference between one interview generating 30 or 40 sales, and zero. So it's worth learning how to do it.

It is generally beyond the ability of a typical radio guest to come up with a contact announcement technique for themselves; a skilled PR person, who has done lots of radio campaigns with lots of clients, has the best chance of setting it up correctly. Also, it must be pre-arranged (before the interview) with the station/producer/host, so that the contact announcements will be allowed, otherwise you will upset some of the hosts and they will stop the interview prematurely.  

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