Radio advertising is an easy way to reach a huge population. After all, 92% of adults listen to AM/FM radio every single week. But writing radio ads that reach your target demographic can be tricky. How can you be sure that your message will be absorbed? The answer lies in content. Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in 1996 that “content is king,” and that still rings true today.
Everyone’s writing process is different and there is no perfect step-by-step process to writing an ad, but remember these 6 tips for effective content:
1. Make it memorable
Remember those dreaded “attention getters” when writing papers and speeches in school? Turns out, they’re important in writing radio ads, too! Keep listeners from tuning out by grabbing their attention immediately with something they will want to listen to. One great way to do this is to highlight a problem your potential customers face that your products or services can solve.
2. Make it simple
Now that you have listeners’ attention, there are only two things listeners need to know: what product or service you’re providing, and how to get it. Don’t go into too much detail – a standard 30-second commercial is not long enough to tell your company’s backstory or list your inventory. Pick one product or service to highlight and one way for customers to find you. One of the best ads I’ve heard simply says “Google us!” at the end (granted, this only works with a strong Google presence – did you know we can help with that too?)
3. Make it valuable
When deciding what bits of information to include, keep your customers’ needs in mind. Don’t waste their time (or your budget) on unnecessary information.
Some major time wasters:
- Cliches. I hate to break it to you, but your “friendly and knowledgeable staff” is not special. No one is going to describe their staff as “rude and incompetent,” except for maybe super niche tourist places. What does your staff do to solve customers’ problems?
- Difficult to remember information. Street addresses, email addresses, and coupon codes are difficult to memorize and can cause major headaches if remembered incorrectly
- Common knowledge. Everyone knows “www” goes at the beginning of a URL, that the sky is blue, and that we need food to survive. Don’t tell listeners what they already know. Tell them what they need to know.
4. Make it consistent
Okay back up. Only one product or service? What if you can solve a variety of problems? What if your menu or inventory are constantly changing? Don’t panic – there’s an answer here as well. Consistency. Don’t be afraid to change your ad copy, but be sure to maintain some consistency within your commercials. If you offer your website as the best way to learn more, don’t suddenly tell listeners to call you. They already know your website URL, you can’t expect them to remember your phone number as well.
Jingles and slogans are also great ways to maintain consistency. One of our loyal clients, Taco Shop in Hays, Kansas, changes their ad every single month to highlight the new month’s specials. But their ads always end with their jingle: “Come on down to the Taco Shop, you’ve never had it so good!” I haven’t lived in Hays in years, but I will never forget that jingle.
5. Make it frequent
There is still truth to what Bill Gates said almost three decades ago: content is king. But if content is king, then we know that frequency is queen. What good is your message if listeners don’t hear it often enough to remember the important details? The average listener is not sitting by their stereo with a notepad in hand to write down every interesting idea they hear. They need to hear your message over and over again for it to stick. I’ve told you once, and I’ll tell you again: when it comes to daily ads, 8 is good, 10 is better, 12 is best, air 15 if you can afford it! See what I did there? Frequency.
6. Make it FUN
My Town Media general manager, Phil McComb, is fond of saying, “if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!” If you don’t like your commercials, you can’t expect potential customers to. When writing radio ads, try different attention getters, music beds, and story ideas until you create something that makes you smile.
Writing your first radio ad can be intimidating. Thousands of people are going to hear it so you want it to be great! Hopefully these 6 tips have made the process a bit easier.