Thursday, March 31, 2011

You Have a Radio Interview: Here are some Tips

So You Have a Radio Interview, well here are some Tips...

You've landed the radio interview and it's time to get ready to actually do it. Now what?

Here's a list of tips I give to my clients prior to their interviews. Keep this helpful list of interview tips nearby and you'll be glad you did!
  1. Go to a quiet room in your home or office; be sure staff and/or family know you are on a radio interview and cannot be interrupted. 
  2. Turn off other phones, cell phones and anything else that could create background noise including air conditioners and the radio, etc. 
  3. Have a glass of water nearby; there's nothing worse than dry mouth on a radio interview. 
  4. Disable call waiting: dial *70 and then call the studio number. This disables call waiting for the duration of the phone call. As soon as you hang up, it will be reactivated. 
  5. Be on time. Call the station exactly at the time they tell you, or be at your phone waiting if the station is going to call you. 
  6. Use a land line phone for best quality. Some stations won't allow a cell phone interview. If it is not possible to reach a land line then use a cell phone in a stationary location and not while you are rolling down the road as the reception could be interrupted mid interview. 
  7. Do not use a speaker phone or a headset; again, it's about good sound quality. 
  8. Be self-assured. Remember, you know your topic inside and out. Be confident in your ability. 
  9. Smile, smile, smile, whether on radio or TV - SMILE. You'll feel better, and for TV you'll look better too. 
  10. Put some pizzazz and energy into your voice. Try standing while you speak to liven things up a little. 
  11. Research the show and tailor your message accordingly. Just Google the host's name and station and check out their web site. Is it a national audience or a small town in Ohio? What is their format? Is it News/Talk, NPR or Classic Rock or something else? You need to know. 
  12. KNOW exactly how much time you will have on the air as a guest, three minutes or 30 you can tailor your answers to the time allotted. 
  13. Practice your sound bites - out loud before the interview. Communicate your main points succinctly. Practice this out loud. 
  14. Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book, product or service. Make the audience "want more." 
  15. A kind word about the host can go a long way. It's good manners and good business. 
  16. A person's name is sweet music to them so commit to memory or jot down the name of the host and use it throughout the interview. When taking calls, use the names of callers too. 
  17. Be prepared for negative comments, from the host or listeners. 
  18. Be careful not to slide into techno-babble, jargon or acronyms that few know about. 
  19. Never talk down to your audience. 
  20. Be respectful of the host because everybody starts someplace. Today they're interviewing you from a college radio station; in a few years they could be a nationally syndicated host. 
  21. Don't Oversell. Remember you are on the air to provide useful information to the listening audience. If you are an author or selling something, limit yourself to TWO mentions of the book, product or service. You must make it interesting without the commercialism. It takes finesse but you can do it. Often times the host will do this for you and you won't need to mention it. 
  22. Think of a radio interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a conversation with thousands. 
  23. Radio interviews require verbal answers, not head nodding or uh-huhs. Hand gestures don't count in radio either. 
  24. Radio will often use interviews live and later cut them up for use throughout the day giving you more airplay. So keep your answer to a 10 to 20 second sound bite. You can say a lot in that amount of time and then you don't sound like you are babbling on. Don't go on more than a minute without taking a break. 
  25. Don't just answer questions. Tell listeners something you want them to know, something they wouldn't know unless they were tuned in, with the promise of more of the same when they buy the product or come see you! 
  26. Have three key messages. Short, not sermons. Sometimes the host opens the door, other times you have to answer a question and segue to a key message. A compelling message will have the host asking for more. Usually people can get in two key messages; the pros can get three. But even if you get in only one, you get a big return for the time invested. 
  27. Lazy hosts open with a lame: "Thanks for being here." Boom! Give a :15-:20 sec summary message. If the host introduces you with a question, be polite, deliver your summary message, then answer the question. "Thanks, (use name), for the opportunity to talk about....Now, to your question (name)..." 
  28. Maintain a Positive Attitude. BE GENUINE OR TRANSPARENT. Don't fake enthusiasm or sincerity. If you're in a bad mood cancel the interview. Don't pretend to know stuff you don't. 
  29. Re-read the press release or pitch that got the booking since the host is going to be using that as a starting point. Often he/she will tie into a breaking news event that relates to your expertise. Be aware of that tie-in. 
  30. After the interview write a thank-you note. Since so few people do this, you'll really stand out from the crowd. And most importantly, you may get invited back. 
  31. Whether the interview is live or taped-live, if you stumble, or flub up just keep going. Often what you perceived as a mistake, the listeners won't even notice. 
  32. Ask for an MP3 of the recording before the interview. Often if you ask ahead of time the producer will record the interview and then you can use it on your web site. Be sure to listen to it later and critique your performance. 
  33. Ask for a testimonial. Often that MP3 will arrive with a note from the host saying how much they enjoyed the interview, or that "YOU were a great interview, he really kept our audience engaged," or "the phones rang off the hook when YOU were being interviewed." You can use those testimonials in future pitches and on your web site, blog etc.
Oftentimes the radio host will read those questions right in order. Other times they refer to our questions and include some of them. We do this to help the host in case they've not had a chance to read the book, which is often the case.
Make sure you know your own material inside and out and are comfortable with everything in it. You are the author of the book, or the press release and they'll ask you, "What did you mean about this or that?" You need to have the answer. You don't want any surprises.
The bottom line, RELAX, you'll do fine. The butterflies you're feeling are what will drive you to do your best! Just follow these helpful tips and you'll be a radio interview star!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Get Over The Fear of Starting Your Own Business

How to Get Over The Fear of Starting Your Own Business

Just the thought of starting a business can send your anxiety levels through the roof and usher in a state of panic. The myriad of thoughts swirling through your head, including questions related to your proposed product or service, marketing plans and potential for profit, can lead to more questions and doubts. This vicious cycle of doubt can derail even the best-laid plans for a new enterprise. Cast doubt aside and learn how to handle your fears when setting out on your own.

  • Evaluate your skills and take a realistic look at the business knowledge you possess. Fill in any gaps with additional research, training, education or mentoring. Prepare as much as possible for your new venture by developing a business plan and researching industry trends and statistics. Proper preparation can help clear up any misconceptions and provide much needed guidance when starting a business. Reassure yourself that you have what it takes to meet the demands of your new business.

  • 2
    Embrace your passions. Think of starting your own business as an extension of yourself. Consider not only possible profits when starting a business, but also consider the fulfillment that stems from following your heart and doing what you love for a living. Tap into this passion when times get tough and you feel like giving up. Let it fuel your creativity.

  • 3
    Write down your thoughts and ideas in a journal. List all of your concerns related to starting a business. Identify what is holding you back from starting your own business. Include notes related to procedures or regulations you need to clarify. Keep track of your accomplishments and successes as well. Review your journal entries on a regular basis to help keep you on track and provide motivation for starting your business.

  • 4
    Seek out help. Look for local business resources, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, and reach out when necessary. Utilize these resources for guidance on issues beyond your comfort level such as obtaining the necessary operating permits. Find an attorney and an accountant for help with legal and financial matters. Use these resources to your advantage by allowing them to clear up any doubts you have about business and financial matters.

  • 5
    Take it one step at a time. Start part-time if necessary to get your feet wet. Evaluate each aspect of the business and expand at your own pace. Refuse to be overwhelmed. Break each step or action into small, manageable tasks.

  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    You've Got New Visitors at Your Site. Now What?

    You've Got New Visitors at Your Site. Now What?

    In this article, you'll learn...

    • How to turn your website visitors into loyal customers

    • Three ways to customize your website content specifically for your audience

    • Examples of how others have perfected content marketing

    A Brick and Mortar Approach to Using Content to Get Visitors to Take Off Their Coats and Stay a While 

    Whether you're a B2B business, a retailer, or a service provider, your physical marketplace is limited by geography and, well, physics. In contrast, your online marketplace encompasses the vast sprawl of the Web. That means endless opportunity.

    But it also means that a single, centralized location point becomes more important than ever before—which might seem counterintuitive. Surely, if you've broken out of the limitations of a localized brick-and-mortar entity, you don't need to limit yourself online, right?

    Hardly. In fact, the diffuse nature of the Web makes having a center vital.

    Establish Your Base
    Think of that center as a nucleus of sorts. You need a single place that can...

    • Cater to inbound traffic (from social media networks, PR coverage, networking efforts, affiliate links, disparate online mentions, word-of-mouth, employee networking profiles, product write-ups, etc.)
    • Shape perception independent of the messaging of those external sources
    • Offer a meaningful, rich customer experience to site visitors

    Though businesses and marketers often invest significant energy and resources into driving customers to their sites, they often forget to provide their audience with satisfying experiences once they get visitors to the site.

    Only by creating rich experiences—in the form of content, features, interactivity, and the like—can businesses convert visitors into more than just passing window shoppers.

    Setting the Stage
    The notion that brands/businesses need to entertain, engage, or educate their audiences to elicit certain actions or behaviors is not new. In fact, it's the foundation of the "content marketing revolution." It's also what savvy shop and business owners have been doing offline for years.
    By creating feel-good or trust-invoking environments—through any combination of carefully-curated background music, friendly personnel, relevant reading material, insightful expertise, good service, ease-of-transaction, and so on—successful brick-and-mortar businesses know the importance of ushering in a buying mood to convert visitors into buyers, into return shoppers, and, finally, into loyalists.

    Whatever your ultimate objective—to drive sales, communicate your brand's promise, get the word out about your services, or some combination of those—you will need to do more than simply provide an aesthetically pleasing site with a shopping cart, basic product descriptions, or encyclopedic bios about your executive team or founders. Rather, you'll need to create an atmosphere that inspires and persuades, and maximizes the amount of time your audience is likely to spend with you, thereby increasing the time they spend thinking about you (or whatever else it is that you want them to think about).

    Creating a website that both lures visitors and gets them to stick around for a while requires applying the basic tenets of a well-run physical operation to your website strategy. And that means great content.

    After all, content is to a website what a great experience is to a boutique or office (think customer service, good reading material, an understanding of customer sensibilities, well-arranged products, music, fitting decor, and—hey, it happens!— free drinks). But let's not get too literal here: no need to put music on your site. (Why people still do this is beyond me.)

    Customize Your Content
    So, what different types of content should B2B and B2C companies consider when developing their sites with the customer experience in mind? To answer that question, you'll need to determine the following:

    • Your end objectives
    • The type of user experience your audiences demand or will respond to
    • Your company/product's value proposition

    Determine your end objectives up front
    Use the following three rules of thumb as a starting point:
    1. Most B2B companies' primary objectives for offering free content are (1) attracting prospects and (2) nurturing relationships with clients.
    2. B2C brands are generally trying to sell directly to consumers or raise brand awareness to increase retail demand and market share.
    3. Generally, both B2B and B2C companies are interested in increasing their customer databases for future marketing opportunities.
    Determine what type of user experience will allow you to best communicate with your key buyer types (personas)
    Ask the following three questions:
    1. What's the nature of your business or brand?
    2. What value does your service or product offer the end consumer? (In other words, is your expertise in a certain area your biggest strength, or is it your product's ability to make the consumer's life easier in some way?)
    3. Whether you have one or multiple buyer personas, what type of experiences would best speak to each?
    Determine which type of content will allow you to translate your value/promise into up-front value
    Broadly speaking, there are three types of content. Remember, though, that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive, nor do they need to be:
    1. Educational
    2. Entertaining
    3. Interactive
    Also worth mentioning is that, depending on the number of different buyer types you cater to, sometimes it will make sense to say the exact same thing in different ways, which might mean using a variety of content pieces or types to achieve a common objective. Knowing that different people consume information differently, you'll need to figure out how to achieve your business goals while giving your audience the best experience possible.

    An Example of How It's Done
    A good example of a B2B business that is successful at using a variety of content to stay top-of-mind, attract return customers, and get people to engage with the business on a meaningful level is HubSpot. The inbound-marketing software company's objectives are simple: demonstrate its value up front and create qualified leads as a result. In the process, the company also builds its database of contacts for ongoing communications.

    HubSpot's content can be split into two distinct categories: destination content and traffic-driving content.

    What I've termed the "destination content" is that which lives on the company's site and acts as a value-forward proposition for visitors—things like its Marketing Resource Center (free e-books, videos, podcasts, webinars, and more); an active inbound marketing community; an impressive collection of grading tools (for grading the marketing effectiveness of just about everything: your website, press release, Facebook page, or Foursquare efforts); HubSpot TV; a regularly-updated blog; free trials; and problem-solving landing pages.

    The traffic-driving content, on the other hand, is the content the company sends out to its growing database of prospects and clients to drive them back to the site and stay top-of-mind—namely, a regular newsletter, active social media accounts, and other email communications about new, free offerings.

    HubSpot's ongoing content program has yielded incredible success across all of the right metrics: significantly increased traffic, a fast-growing database of contacts, thousands of content downloads, speaking engagements, growing visibility—and, most important, a wealth of new business leads.

    Your Online Content Arsenal
    Although there are, no doubt, a million types of content you can use to lure in your customers and "decorate" what is ultimately your online showroom, the following are popular formats that have proven time and again to work (when done properly) as part of a larger, integrated marketing strategy:

    • E-books/whitepapers
    • Podcasts
    • Webinars
    • Blogs/communities
    • Newsletter/newsletter archives
    • Research
    • Tutorials (multiple formats)
    • Video
    • Mobile apps/Web apps
    • Online assessments/diagnostics
    • Contests
    • Giveaways/discounts
    • Great website copy
    * * *
    Just knowing the importance of thinking about your website as a business, physical store, or well-trafficked office (rather than as an informative online placeholder), will put you in the right mindset to launch your content strategy.

    And remember: A good strategy for social media, PR, or online audience generation will get people to come to your site; but good content—whether thought leadership, educational, or entertaining—will make them stay.