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How to Write a Pitch Letter for Radio Bookings

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content=”[NOTE: I reorganized your “dos” and “don’ts” for flow; you’ll want to make sure you’re OK with the reorganization”>[NOTE: I reorganized your “dos” and “don’ts” for flow; you’ll want to
make sure you’re OK with the reorganization

 

 

How to Write a Pitch Letter for
Radio Bookings

 

by Joanne McCall

 

<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>Writing
a great pitch letter for radio interviews <ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>isn’<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>t
brain surgery or rocket science, but if you want to get booked for an
interview, there are some definite do’s and don’ts that you need to follow. You
can save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration by taking these
suggestions to heart. In addition, you can avoid being labeled an amateur by
producers, and make them want to work with you again in the future. Here’s how
to make that happen.

<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″> 

The DOs

 

● The<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>
most important thing to keep in mind when booking radio shows <ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>isthis: datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>you are not pitching a book—you are pitching
a show idea.
This cannot be emphasized too strongly. P<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>roducers
are not interested in your book, but they are interested in knowing how
you might be able to provide a great show for their listeners.

 

● It’s<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>
important to datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>put aside your ego<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>
and learn to think like a producer. How do producers<ins
cite=”file://localhost/mid/Unknown20061230T20399624″ datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>
think? They are always asking themselves: <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> datetime=”2006-12-30T20:54″>What guest and topic will entertain or
educate my listeners and make me look good?
Satisfy those two
needs, and you’ll get your booking.

 

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Do your homework. Be sure your topic matches the
interests of a show’s target audience. For example, it doesn’t make sense to
pitch a book on teaching children manners to financial shows. Don’t be seduced
into sending out massive numbers of pitch letters to every producer out there,
hoping a few will stick. This is not a good way to make friends or build
relationships; it just annoys people.

 

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> Include your contact information at the top and
bottom of the pitch letter. List your name, email address, and telephone
number.

 

● Make sure the subject line
of your letter or email is an attention grabber—something that will pique
a producer’s interest and entice the producer to read the letter it introduces.

 

● Come up with one
sentence—two at the most—that perfectly captures your concept or
hook. This can be challenging, but it’s imperative. When writing your letter,
present your hook immediately. No one is going to read and reread your entire
pitch letter to figure out what you are trying to say. Get to the
point—straight away.

 

● Be clear and concise.
Remember, less is more. Your pitch letter should never be more than one page.

 

● Use bullet points. They’re
easy to follow.

 

● Have another pair of eyes
look at your pitch letter before you send it out. We can’t see our own
mistakes, but others can. A professional editor is your best choice for this
job. Don’t blow your credibility—or your chance at a show—because
you accidentally wrote there
instead of their.
(Grammar counts!)

 

● Be available to receive
phone calls and emails. If you have voicemail, check it frequently, and respond
to messages immediately. Remember, producers are looking for guests; if they
can’t get in touch with you, they’ll move on, and they may book someone else
right away.

 

● For every pitch letter you
send, be willing to make a follow-up call. Sometimes producers like an idea but
get distracted and forget it. A phone call can secure the booking. (Note,
though, that some producers prefer to work strictly via email; get to know the
preferences of the producer you’re working with.)

 

● When you call, be prepared
to say, quickly and concisely, why the topic you’re pitching is helpful and
relevant to that producer’s listeners.

 

● Before you speak with any
producer, prepare to answer the questions, “Why this author? Why now?” You can
be sure that, as they read your pitch letter, producers will be asking
themselves those questions. It is up to you to provide the information very
quickly.

 

The DON’Ts

 

● Don’t make producers work
to understand your message. Limit the content of your letter to your hook, a
quick intro about your idea, and a promise to send more information if the
producer is interested. That’s it—really! Don’t ramble on and on. Don’t
tell them everything about the book. The object of the pitch letter is to whet
their appetites and get them interested in talking to you further or asking for
more material.

 

● Don’t be boring. Make sure
your letter zings. If your pitch is dull, producers are likely to think, <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Dull guest
.
Nobody wants to book a boring person for airtime.

 

● Don’t send email
attachments unless you have been specifically asked to do so. They’ll probably
annoy the producer, who will simply delete them.

 

● Don’t be overly friendly
if you don’t know the person. Remember, this is a business transaction. Be
personable, but don’t act as though you and the producer are best friends.

 

● Don’t promise anything you
aren’t sure you can deliver. If you say you’ll send more information on your
topic, do so right away. Become someone a producer can count on. Keep your
word, and you’re on your way to building a relationship with the producer that
may even lead to regular bookings.

 

● Pitch letters are not
advertisements for a book. Don’t turn yours into one. Remember, you’re pitching
a show idea, not your product.

 

● Don’t be a pest. There is
a fine line between being persistent and being a pain. Learn the difference.

 

Joanne McCall is president
of McCall Public Relations, specializing in generating national and
major-market publicity. Her clients include bestselling author and
international business consultant Brian Tracy, <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>New York Times
bestselling author Melody
Beattie, and Dr. David Simon, co-founder of the Chopra Center for Well Being.

 

 

 

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