When you achieve a leadership position in the journalism business – whether that be within a newsroom or running your own publishing business – promotion becomes an indispensable part of your work duties. You’ll need to become a spokesperson for your efforts – and that includes appearing on radio and television programs to promote your work and the brand name of your publication.
In my experience, many reporters freak out at the thought of becoming a source. Especially a source on camera or on a live mic. But you don’t need to be nervous or feel intimidated. You’re a communications professional, after all. If you feel comfortable asking questions, you should feel comfortable answering them, too.
Or, at least, you should feel comfortable with learning how to answer them. That’s what we’re going to talk about today, and next week, here on OJR. I’ll be listing some of my tips for writers and editors who need to appear on radio and television to promote their work. We’ll start with radio today, and add some television-specific tips next week.
First, you need to get the gig. Use the contacts you’ve built during your career. If you’ve got a project, a site or a book that you think would be of interest to the audience at a particular show, reach out to the people you know at that program and offer yourself as a guest. Keep the focus on the audience, though. Don’t “pull strings” or call in favors to get on shows where you or your work isn’t a good match. That won’t help you build readership or sales, and will only damage your relationships with colleagues. (Not to mention their relationship with their employer. No one wants to be the one responsible for booking a bum guest.)
Next week: Tips for handling a TV appearance.