by Tracy Johnson
Local interviews can be a great way for your show stand out from voice-tracked or satellite-delivered national radio shows. With the right guest, you can add entertainment value to the show while endearing yourself to the local community. This is especially useful for solo shows.
One segment of local guests many shows shy away from is that guest from community organizations. Why? Well, obviously, the topics just don’t seem entertaining, fun or interesting.
But the content and connections made from a short appearance can be beneficial to your show and radio station for weeks and months to come.
Here are seven ways to maximize the value of community guests.
Set up a form on your website for interested parties to request time on your show. This doesn’t have to be a public form. It could be a hidden page that isn’t linked on your site. However, having a “Want to be a guest on our show?” link could result in some guest ideas you hadn’t considered.
The objectives of the form are:
1) Gather lots of contact info. You’re not just getting one-time guest information. You’re building a database of contacts of local movers and shakers. You can use them as experts when you need them. Having a pool of resources to draw on can be a big advantage.
2) Get details. While the idea of talking about a 5K charity run doesn’t sound exciting, a particular element of the 5K could be what drives the entertainment value of the conversation. Get the backstory of their cause or event and mine it for the angle you can take.
3) Verify their interest. Being on your show is a big deal, a big valuable deal. Truly interested groups will be happy to take the extra steps necessary to request a slot on your show. If they aren’t willing to fill out the form, move on. This will help filter those just looking for free publicity.
At a minimum the form should get info on the organization, unique elements of the event, a website link, the names of two people who will be visiting the show and contact info. Also ask for a video or photos. This helps you pre-promote their appearance online.
Strongly encourage two members of the organization to be on the show. If one of the two is more outgoing, you can focus more of the conversation on them.
There’s nothing more awkward (or boring) than a spokesperson that has nothing to say. Or, they seem fine before going live. Then they freeze.
A few days prior to their arrival at the studio ask your guests to send details. If you run public service announcements, you can add it to your rotation.
It also helps to record a second PSA that can air in the future, or you can use it on your website to go along with the interview archives. If they record a video, it’s even better.
The people behind your local community organizations are overworked and underpaid, so greet them with hot coffee, fresh pastries or bagels, and a few stations freebies.
Follow these guidelines for managing guests and you’ll be golden.
But most importantly, these community leaders should feel welcomed. Community leaders are community connectors and it simply makes good public relations and business sense. Give them a great experience, and they’ll spread it to others in the community. That makes you a bigger star.
Be sure you have a backdrop with your logo, a banner or sign you can pose in front of. And don’t just share the photo the morning of your guest’s visit.
Recycle it the day before or morning of their event, along with a link to their website. If you have a Twitter account, tweet the photo, using their @mention to make it easy to share.
Share the photo with your guests and ask them point blank to “share this on social media”.
After the show, upload the audio and/or video to your website and share it on social media. And make sure your guest has the link so they can share it with their contacts.
If something noteworthy happens in the interview, share the audio with news outlets. You might even send a press release with sound bites from the show.
Parts of the audio can also be used to add some punch local newscasts.
Use the best one or two soundbites on the show later in the week of the event. This is a great way to re-emphasize how local your show is and it makes you sound like you’re really in touch with the community.
Local guests can be useful, if you prepare properly and treat them as part of your show. Put in the time to make them sound great, and you’ll be rewarded with a ton of credit for being involved in the community.
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