It’s easy to be tempted to ignore or at least not be excited about the prospect of an interview on a small radio station. Some authors think a tiny station will have few listeners, and it may not be worth the time to do the interview.
First, this isn’t necessarily true. Think about it: How many people does a small, 1000 watt station in the middle of New York City reach? Millions.
Second, you never know who is listening. We’ve booked authors on stations as small as 250 watts in remote areas of the country. In fact, a famous Smith Publicity story regarding an interview on a tiny station has been told many, many times. It drives home the point as to why every interview is important, and also gives an example of what a clever pitch can do.
We had a client, a tax attorney, who specialized in settling tax issues with the IRS. You’ve surely seen commercials for such professionals; a person comes to them owing large sums of money to the IRS, and they reduce the debt through negotiation and other tactics.
Our client was making a heavy publicity push in the months leading up to tax day in April. Although he didn’t have a book, we promoted him the same way we do authors. We came up with a clever pitch: “Why Size Does Matter When it Comes to the IRS.” During a conversation with his publicist he mentioned that the size envelope a person uses to mail their tax return affects the chances of getting selected for an audit.
So, the pitch worked and we were booking dozens of interviews a week. He was a great client; he did everything and anything we set up.
We received a request for an interview from a station in South Dakota, a tiny 500 watt station in a very rural area. Realistically, probably a few hundred people, if that, would hear him on the air.
He did the interview, and the next day received a call from a listener who heard the interview. It turns out this man had been driving through South Dakota and stumbled upon the station. It also turned out this man was a multi-millionaire who was in a jam: He owed millions in what the IRS identified as back taxes. He engaged the services of our client.
The end result: From that one interview on that tiny station, and that one person who happened to be driving through that town, our client made $800,000. He had saved his client about $6 million, and earned his hefty commission.
Another brief example also illustrating the power of word-of-mouth publicity:
We had a client with a book about UFO’s. We set up an interview on a very small radio station in Maine, again, one with very low wattage in a remote area. One of the people who heard the interview in Maine was the head of a northeastern U.S. chapter of a very popular UFO association with many offices across the nation. After hearing our author, she immediately e-mailed her fellow chapter heads, telling them about the author and book.
Our author’s Amazon.com rankings shot up from 300,000 to 162 over the next few days, and she began receiving requests for bulk purchases of her book.
One interview. Tiny station. One person catapulted the sale of thousands of books.
Finally, just this week, one of our authors did an interview on a smaller market radio station. The result: and ABC producer heard the interview, became interested in the author and is now in the process of taping a three day interview for a national television broadcast.
It can be hard to imagine, but these small steps can and often do lead to bigger opportunities.
Dan Smith is the Founder and CEO of Smith Publicity Inc. Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity is one of the world’s leading promotional firms, specializing in book publicity. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, the company has worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and businesses representing a wide range of industries. The Smith Publicity reach is international with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. For more information about Smith Publicity, Inc., please visit www.smithpublicity.com.