The other day, I listened to a podcast interview of a new author. I found myself cringing as I listened to this new author make a number of rookie mistakes. Just as a book that is poorly written turns readers off, so does an interview that is poorly executed.
Media coverage—whether this is in print, radio, television, or podcast format—is a great way to gain exposure for your message and your book. Securing media coverage can help grow an audience for your book.
If you are taking the time and effort to pursue media interviews as part of your marketing strategy, don’t waste your efforts by making the following rookie mistakes that will cause the audience to lose interest.
1. Saying “Buy My Book” in the Interview.
Do not ever say “buy my book” during a media interview. Your job is to give people interesting information that entices them to want more. It’s okay to talk about your book, but don’t tell or ask the audience to buy your book. Most show hosts will ask you to tell the audience how they can buy your book. If the host does not, then you can work your website into the interview. For example, you might say something like: “On my website at authorname.com, I offer more free tips on how to improve your prayer life.”
2. Alluding to Your Book in Every Answer You Give.
Don’t talk about your book the whole interview. You need to entertain and educate the audience. Authors who mention their book in every answer on a show sound like they are conducting a sales pitch. A media interview is about giving the show’s audience useful information or entertainment that enriches their lives.
3. Not Sharing Statistics or an Anecdote or Story.
Information is great, but story makes the information stick. Think about a recent sermon you heard. Which do you remember more easily: the points the pastor made or the stories he told? Be human and interesting in your interview. Share stories or interesting statistics to drive your message home.
4. Inserting Extra Speech Sounds.
In the interview I listened to, the author sounded like she was sighing after every question the host asked and before she gave her answer. I am sure that she was using the sound to help her gather her thoughts, but it sounded like every answer she gave took effort. Avoid using extra sounds, especially “um”. Extra speech sounds are distracting and make you sound less professional.
5. Using Words or Phrases the Audience Might Not Understand.
Each area or region in the world has saying that are indigenous to the area. People who live in these areas know what these sayings mean, but those outside often don’t. For example, in the South, you might hear the phrase “I’m as fat as a tick.” This doesn’t mean the person thinks he or she is fat, rather it means he or she is full after a good meal. Be cognizant of the fact that your audience might not be familiar with words or phrases you use. If you choose to use them, simply take the time to explain what they mean to your audience.
6. Forgetting to Say Thank You.
Be sure to thank the host for having you on the show and the audience for their time. In the interview I recently listened to with the new author, the show host kept thanking the author for being on the show. It took three tries before the author finally said a simple “thank you” back. Be a gracious media guest and say thank you.
Your ultimate goal in a media interview is to make your audience feel a connection with you. If they feel a connection, they are more likely to check out your book and buy it.
If you are a new author seeking media interviews, one of the best things you can do to learn how to be a good media guest is to watch or listen to interviews of experienced authors. One podcast that interviews a number of seasoned Christian authors is The Experience Jesus Calling Podcast.
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Photo courtesy of William Stitt.