I happened upon a group of connected websites that I think are the same guy:
rtir.com (click on the “want to be a guest box”)
I was searching for radio station interview info in the US. The RTIR is some kind if small magazine that purportedly goes out to 4000+ radio producers. It is not cheap, starting at $877 for a single issue (The same is available on some kind of recurring deal @ $447 – I dont like monthly billing deals.)
When you fill in the RTIR form on the site you get e-mailed a link to this page: http://www.freepublicity.com/pdf/rateinfo_nlc.pdf
What caught my attention with that was two of the authors endorsing the product: Robert Kiyosaki who wrote “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” which I have read, and Dan Poynter, whose guide to self publishing I have also read. (And is oft recommended by our very own Research Guy.)
Whilst Googling them in an attempt to do some due diligence, I found mostly their own sites and a heap of suspicious blogs all extolling the virtues in a way that cannot be pinned down to anyone.
However, the list of authors promoting the scheme seems impressive, if true.
It was the Radio, TV and Interview Report (RTIR) that I was specifically looking at. I need US radio market exposure, and being in the UK that can be challenging in some aspects unless one wants to pitch individual producers, etc.
My experience up to now…….
I started off here:http://www.freepublicity.com/rtir/index.htm?10452 – filled in that little form and forgot about it. Two weeks later I got an e-mail (which didn’t look like a form e-mail) from some guy called Joe McAllister, linking me to the PDF I referenced above and inviting telephone contact in the event of any queries.
Well I did have queries, so I called him, and called him, and called him. No reply; only voicemail. I left a message with my US number and replied to his e-mail and there has been silence.
Pretty funny behaviour if you ask me for an outfit that is hoping to relieve you of a lump of cash.
That is why I am trying to establish if this RTIR publication is all its cracked up to be or just another wheeze hoping to pry money from the unwary. If it is the real deal that produces decent results for people, than I may persevere despite my dislike of poor customer service.
Well I got my call back today. The guy answered all my questions adequately.
I have been unable to find anything negative that is significant about them on Google or on a few forums. I have found many testimonials from authors whose books I personally know and have read.
My theory is free media, blogs and backlinks to the sales site are all very well, but only likely to shift books at a minimal rate based on specific Google searches. Getting the title in front of people thousands at a time is what is needed, and for that I need radio I guess. (As I am challenged for US TV by being in the UK)
I decided to give it a whirl. So we shall see. I will update this topic with what happens. Its an investment for sure, and I need to move a few hundred books to pay for it, but nothing ventured – nothing gained!
Well the cutsomer service has perked up. I got myself a US telephone number (that re-routes to my Skype), and these guys are calling me back now when they said they would, and randomly with the odd question along the way.
So progress……. they want a hard copy of your book mailing in, links to any media stuff, press releases, etc. that you have done already, then you get assigned to a copywriter. The Joe guy kept hold of mine and did it himself as I guess the subject matter piqued his interest a little.
Anyway, I made a deal for three issues, one in November (to make a start), one in December (for Christmas gift buyers), and one in late January (to catch Valentines day).
I got e-mailed a proof of the suggested copy for the first one. Subsequent ones will be tweaked to take account of the markets they are aimed at and any world events that could be linked to it, etc. The proof I got was pretty good, catchy and well put together I thought. I made very few changes to it and approved it.
Usually they use the authors photo, in my case he agreed with me that the books cover was much more striking, and we are using that instead.
So we are all set, first one out next month so we shall see……
Meanwhile, I set myself up with my first radio interview with a talk station in San Diego recently, to cut my teeth if you like. I got thirty minutes on air on “the dating couch” and it was pretty cool. I was able to identify my weaknesses and know what I will focus more on next time.
I guess its like anything, you start off a bit shaky, and gather confidence as you do it more often. I reckon you must be able to speculate a few quid on marketing, and these folks do seem to know their niche.
One other detail, I got a stack of audio CD’s from them in the mail, interviews and tutorials mostly, I havent got through them all yet but the ones I have listened to, were useful as prep tools. I didn’t notice it mentioned in the marketing that they sent those, so it was a surprise.
Summary: Quietly confident up to now.
A few months later:
Bear in mind my comments below are only about radio – not TV.
I got about 25-20 interviews from the deal. Some were big syndicated FM shows in the evening – they sold a few books. Some were AM drive time and daytime shows, which dont sell books (because people are working/driving and haven’t a pen to make notes).
I got a few spoof shows (one was on the list of “avoid these shows” they send you that I didn’t read) where they just want to wind you up.
You can listen to one of the first ones I did here: http://www.wjbc.com/Tabid/7997/default.aspx?AID=1820
Yes, I know I say “y’know” far too much and my attempts at neutralizing my accent for the US were not too good. But I was a beginner then, it was fun, and some guys bought some books and later landed at our conversation forums that evening.
Listen to it if you are inclined and have a laugh……….
It was for the Ron Ross Show WJBC in Illinois. I wasn’t as polished as I am now. I had had no media training then. I had no advance notice of questions and despite removing all cell phones and distractions from the room (as you do) didnt my damn fax machine ring – right in the middle of the interview – knocking me totally off balance?
How unprofessional is that?
Radio is not as easy as people think. “Yeah, you just talk and say stuff” they say. Sit me in front of you with a glass of wine and I can talk all night. But, on radio, you have to think on the fly, composing coherent answers to questions they don’t give you advance warning of. And it is live. It’s not as easy as you might think to make your thoughts come out as smoothly as you intend whilst compressing them into a 15 minute slot. You must also figure out a way to matter-of-factly introduce your website in there as well, while you are talking.
Like anything, some go great, some are terrible. The more you do, the better and smoother you get. My favourite was 94.5 FM “The Bull” in Toronto, Canada – I had a scream on there. They ran the show for extra time. WZTK 101.1FM in North Carolina was a good show too – we got lots of forum members from that one. The forum crashed that night from the traffic actually.
The Kim Iverson one was funny [that went out to Portland (KRSK), Denver (KALC), Austin (KAMX), Wichita (KFBZ), Memphis (WMC), Indianapolis (WZPL), Buffalo (WTSS), and Norfolk (WPTE)].
Do RTIR get you interviews? Yes they do.
Will you sell books? From a straightforward cost -v- direct sales on the day of interview, not really. However, how you work the shows is your strength. I don’t claim to be too hot, but I sold some books. If you are better, you may sell more.
Added to which, there are other benefits. Being a regular radio guest (and being able to holler about it on your websites) does give you some credibility. I made this page and have gotten other interviews and other media approaches from that since. I was contacted by Flash News in San Diego only today from that page.
Other hidden benefits: We have a big Russian women discussion forum. The radio shows did bring in some members to there. Some bought books later. Some may have told friends who bought books too. A busier forum means a better Google ranking and that brings in more people. Some of those click your ads and/or visit your advertisers. I see the radio shows as a contributor to that overall snowball effect.
I have since hooked up with some of the hosts I guested for on LinkedIn, and been offered other media stuff from there.
Many radio sites will give your website a backlink from their site. That all helps your Google ranking. No one link will make a difference, but again, it is the snow ball effect.
So is it value for money? Indirectly and eventually, if you use it properly, probably yes. If you just want to sit back afterwards and expect to sell books from it – no.
Would you use RTIR again? Now I know what I am doing, and what to expect, probably yes I would. I could do better next time I am sure.
Any advice for potential RTIR clients? Don’t be afraid to query and alter the copy they write. They work for you; you are paying them. Work with them and create the copy you think has a decent hook.
Don’t send copies of your book to small AM stations that want to give you 10 minutes on air. Many of them try it on (probably they sell them all on eBay later). Only send review copies to large FM syndicated stations who want to discuss the subject matter at length and maybe give you a long listener phone in.
Read the RTIR list of “shows to avoid”. If you find a new one, tell them. It will help others.
Always Google the host, the station and the location and read up on them before you go to air. Know the host’s style, listen to a previous interview maybe, know the listener demographic and tailor your interview correctly.
Accept phone-in shows willingly. The public will throw you softballs; they are not broadcasting professionals.
Don’t expect sound quality checks or much advance notice of the intended slant before air. Many small stations don’t even have researchers. You will be straight to air.
Some stations are so cheap that they ask you to call them! Yes, really!
Don’t be too eager to accept anything and everything if its not convenient. Cut your teeth on the small shows in order to shine on the big ones. Later you can pick and choose.
Think about your market. We sell a book for men on Russian women. It is pointless for me to be interviewed on housewife central low-watt AM in Idaho at 10am on Tuesday morning. The guys who will buy the Russian Bride Guide are all out working. New Jersey high-watt station on a Friday evening phone in? Yes please!
As someone who has work for and with RTIR, I would say this author’s advice is correct … except, for what he said about the content of the ad. If he says the writer wrote a good ad for him and he only had to make a few changes why would he encourage others to change the copy. The copywriter you will work with is a professional and KNOWS what is going to work. You wouldnt want that person telling you how to write your book, would you?