As we move into the third week of Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN), we turn our attention to building platform—a built-in readership for your book or any other product you might want to sell. Every aspiring author or businessperson (writers are businesspeople) needs a platform. In fact, an agent or acquisition editor may reject a query or book proposal submitted by a superb writer or decide not to take on what they consider a great idea if the writer has no platform. Additionally, if you plan on starting an information marketing business, you’ll need a platform; these are the people to whom you’ll sell your books, e-books, teleseminars, and coaching products. If you plan to create a business around your book, you might want to sell the same types of products to the people who constitute your platform.
A platform can be created in many ways—by blogging, speaking, publishing articles, guest blog posts, hosting a radio show, etc. It also can be created with numerous media appearances.
Getting on Oprah or The Today Show can go a long way towards building a platform (and selling books), as can getting on many different radio or Internet radio shows and smaller television talk shows. However, if you make a media appearance and haven’t planned out how you will handle your time on the air, you might regret ever having gotten the gig at all. It could hurt you rather than hurt you. Or you might spend 10 minutes or an hour on the air and find it had no affect at all--few if any listeners will purchase a book, go to your website, sign up for your mailing list, or contact you.
For that reason, today media coach Michael Ray Dresser, host at Dresser After Dark, a radio show that features many authors each week, offers advice on how to prepare for a media appearance so you achieve your goals, whether those are to gain fans, followers, or readers or to sell books.
How to Prepare for a Media Interview: A Formula for Success
By Michael Ray Dresser
Book marketing experts know that authors who get excited about landing an interview may lose sight of the goal, which is not to gain media interviews, but to sell their books, products, services, or point of view. It’s sad, but true, that an interview does not automatically generate sales. Effective interviews generate sales; ineffective interviews merely produce entertaining or idle talk.
Authors who generate sales from a television or radio interview know how to communicate to any audience listening to that show. A book, a product or a point of view is sold when one listener “connects” with the guest because they recognize a common want, need or experience. Multiply those clicks of recognition and you multiply sales as well as new "fans" or readers.
Just the act of writing and publishing a book does not successfully bring you to this point. Learning to communicate with your audience verbally so they feel an emotional connection and then purchase your book involves taking certain steps.
The first step involves publicity. You need exposure—press releases, newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, and guest spots on nationally syndicated and local talk shows all over the country. This gets you out there, all dressed up, but then what?
Oops! Now you have to be in front of an audience and talk. You have to get interviewed for the first time.
The second step involves preparation. You must prepare yourself for your interview—for your big media debut. Of course, you know that doing radio or television interviews is an acquired skill. Rather than just chatting with the host, it’s a process with a strategy working toward a fixed finish line. You have to create your message in a way that feels real for your audiences. They have to see and feel themselves in what you say. Your interview has to convey your message in a way the audience relates to, a way that allows them to experience themselves in your words and stories.
Even if the show has an audience of 50,000 people, you must speak to your audience “one person at a time” and think of your interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a lecture to thousands. You speak to your audience not at them and learn to always make sure the effect or the result of your message matches your intent.
When you prepare such a strategy prior to a media engagement, you go into an interview prepared for any question and armed with the ability to bridge back to your message no matter what is presented to you. Remember your audience listens to be informed. They are there to be persuaded and, most of all, to be entertained. If you don’t inform and entertain them, you will be talking to an empty microphone. If you don’t connect with them, they won’t get up and buy your book or visit your website. They won't do what you want them to do.
Aspiring authors and established authors should invest in media coaching. For example, my program, Michael Dresser’s Communication Training, gives you the skills to use the media to effectively convey your message. Media coaching teaches you to leverage interviews to create book sales, feel more comfortable on the air and relieve the stress and anxiety that can come with interviews. The secrets behind creating effective presentations, whether it is on radio, television or a live venue, are available and learnable.
Until you find a media coach, keep these tips in mind if you get a chance to go on the air:
- Don’t bury your message in entertaining talk.
- Tie your message to an image or story.
- Speak to your audience one person at a time.
- Always leave your audience wanting more.
About the Author
Michael Ray Dresser, host at Dresser After Dark, is a talk show host with passion, skill and talent for coaxing outstanding content from guests whose messages shine with confidence, clarity, and relevance. His engaging interview style sets the stage for authors, experts, and trainers worldwide to captivate, inform, and inspire action.
His 27-year career in radio and media skills training got its start when he sat down behind a microphone at a radio station in Fairbanks, Alaska in January of 1983. Since then, he has interviewed thousands of radio guests from all over the world.
Dresser is a sought-after media skills trainer serving clients around the globe with his proprietary media skills training system, Michael Dresser’s Communication Training; interested individuals can take advantage of a free consultation. His forthcoming book, “Why Do They Listen? Creating a Compelling Connection with Your Audience Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere,” will guide experts the world over to achieve winning results through the power of engaging conversation.