Darren Rowse recently posted an article on ProBlogger about How to Get Media Coverage for Your Blog. Given that PR is my primary area of expertise, it's a subject pretty near and dear to my heart - I've decided to expand upon it here.
After reading one of the latest comments about someone doing a radio interview, giving their blog URL (www.IrishPolyglot.com) in the interview, and not seeing any increases in traffic because of it, I decided to start this series (yep, it'll be a series) discussing radio interviews and ways to make them work for you. The difference is that I'm going to talk about not only how you can get media coverage for your blog, but also for yourself as a freelance writer.
Radio Interviews - Are They Worth It?
I'm a fan of radio interviews (and their cousin - the podcast / Internet radio interview). Perhaps that stems from my background - before focusing on online PR, I worked in music PR. Much of what I did revolved around planning and implementing radio campaigns (getting tracks spun on-air, having artists mentioned or interviewed over the phone, or even having them booked for live on-air interviews and performances).
While I don't talk about PR much here, at NakedPR I used to periodically mention that musicians tend to be far ahead of most webpreneurs when it comes to using the Web for promotion - the same is true of radio coverage. They know how to "work it."
Radio coverage is certainly worth it if you can get it. The thing is, you can't measure radio influence through traffic alone. It isn't the Web, and it doesn't work in the same way.
Challenges of Radio Coverage (and what to do about them)
A lot of writers and bloggers neglect radio and podcasts, because they don't feel it applies to them. In truth, radio and related mediums can apply to anyone - you just have to face its challenges and learn how to use it to your advantage. For example:
- There's no direct link. Unless you have a unique phone number or URL setup for your radio campaign, you'll find conversions can be rather difficult to track. Don't expect traffic miracles. Instead understand that repeated radio interviews can do wonders for your name recognition. It's like with press releases - one isn't going to make your blog famous (likely). It takes repeated exposure to establish you or your blog as an interesting or authority source of information. The more listeners hear you being interviewed or mentioned, the more likely it is they'll remember your URL or think about you later, deciding to visit your site. The point? Stick with it.
- Timing is everything. It doesn't matter if you're being interviewed on the largest radio station in a major metro area if the timing sucks. If you're being interviewed during relatively dead airtime, where people simply aren't tuned in, you won't see results. If you're being interviewed when plenty of folks are tuned in, but they're not in your target audience (meaning they don't give a rat's furry little behind what you're saying, what you do, or what blog you run), you're also not going to see results. All you can do is know your audience. Can't get an ideal interview time? See if the show will be archived for you to promote on your own (they can also do wonders to emphasize your authority status with your existing audience).
- There's no visual. This is why URLs are tricky in audio promotion. Saying the URL isn't enough. If someone doesn't have something to write with, and you happen to spit out your blog URL, they won't have time to jot that down. This is one of the reasons brandable domain names are so valuable - they're often memorable. Even if people do try to remember your URL for later, they may have gotten the spelling wrong. Never just say it - spell it aloud. Note any hyphens that may be in that URL. Also watch how you're pronouncing things - if you sound muddled, you won't do yourself any favors. Say it slowly. Say it clearly. Enunciate every single syllable. Twice.
There's a reason musicians tend to do well on the radio, and it goes far beyond the fact that they're promoting audio-based products. They're generally more comfortable with the medium, used to presenting themselves orally to an audience in some manner (where others can find it nerve-racking and not come across quite as planned), and they tend to be extremely in-tune with their audiences (when they're around, what stations they'd be listening to, etc.).
Take a few notes from those artists. Prepare yourself. Prepare your site. And understand that offline promotion has benefits that can far outweigh simple immediate traffic - it's about exposure and recognition. Instant gratification is a Web thing. It doesn't quite work that way in the radio world.