Writing Radio Ads that Work

Bad writing can mean the death of your radio campaign.writing

Because the power of radio relies so heavily on the quality of the copy, it is in your best interest to find a writer who recognizes this medium and understands how to target your specific audience.

Here are some tips for writing ads that will work and generate sales.

1. When Hiring a Writer

The best writers are those with broadcast experience. Radio relies on skill and salesmanship so you need someone who has an understanding of  direct response marketing. You also need to be willing to spend some money, as good writers aren’t cheap.

When hiring a writer, remember to let them write. Good writers will listen to you, but they will also do what is necessary to create the best ad to sell your product. Don’t get in their way and take over the project. Let them do what you hired them for.

2. Timing

Most radio spots are broken up into 30 second or 60 second segments. 60 seconds gives you twice the amount of time to get listeners attention. 30 seconds are usually good for well known products or a simply offer. We typically advocate for a 60 second commercial, as you need to mention the phone number or call to action, such as go to your website, at least three times. A 30 second advertisement is usually too short to include everything you need.

3. Call Now!

Since the main focus of direct response advertisement is to make the phone ring with inquiries, everything in the spot should prompt the listener to pick up the phone and call. Offer free consultations, free information or limited time offers to instill a sense of urgency in the customer. You want them to ACT NOW.

4. Selling Comes First

When you only have 60 seconds to work with, every single second counts. Get the listeners attention, make an offer and generate a response. That is your objective.  A good way to test if your ad is concise enough, remove the product from the copy. If you still have a complete concept, then your ad isn’t selling. The product, website, offer, phone number or selling idea should make up the entire spot.

5. Know Your Audience

This is key in any form of advertising. With radio, you have two options: Talk Radio and Music Radio.

With Talk Radio, your audience is ready to listen. Catching the listeners attention or blending into the surrounding talk are two ways to infiltrate talk radio. You want to encourage further listening.

With music radio, your ad will be an interruption. Your spot must peak the listeners interest before they can change the station.

6. Choose a Creative Format

There isn’t a set way to write a radio ad, however, here are a few creative formats that have been proven to work and get your listeners calling.

Straight Announcer- With a clear, straightforward copy and a strong, direct voice, nothing could be simpler for your ad. The announcer should speak as if addressing one single person. Asking questions such as “Have you ever…?” or “Wouldn’t you like…?” helps create a personal connection with the listener and makes the ad feel less like a lecture. With the right voice, this effortless approach can pull listeners in quickly.

Dialog – A typical example of this type of format, involves two people conversing with one another. One person is excited about a product or service and wants to share this information with the other person, who knows nothing about it. That person asks questions, while the other relays the information, thus divulging your product or services main information. If you have voices that match your demographic, speaking in a believable way, then this ad will come across as a testimony or referral, which is great for business.

Person on the Street– Asking real people what they think of your product is a great attention grabber. Get the person you are talking to on the street to describe how the product worked in their own words, or how it benefited them. Ask if they would recommended this product to others. Listeners will hear real people giving their true opinions and this will act as a testimony to your product. You can take this one step further by having the person on the street address the audience directly. Add in a celebrity endorsement or an experts opinion works great as well.

Vignette– This creative format, starts off with a short life scene exhibiting a problem. Then it cuts to the announcer who will describe your product as the solution. Time permitting, the life scene will continue, this time to show how your product has made their life easier. Make sure to return to the announcer to end the spot with a call to action and your 800 number.

7. Establish name identification early and often

Give the name of your company, service or product early in the spot. Since you only have 60 seconds, you want to establish everything your listener needs to know about your business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Repeat this information at least three times throughout the ad.

8. Use a memorable or relevant 800 number

Most radio isn’t interactive, like podcasts and apps like Pandora where you can click to call or purchase right from your phone. Most listeners are in the car or at work when they hear your ad. Therefore, they need to be able to remember your phone number if a phone isn’t within their reach.  A special 800 number relevant to your product, is very helpful.

9. Call to Action

Answer the question that listeners might have: “What do you want me to do right now?” Of course, you want them to call! Don’t be subtle about it either. For example, the announcer could say, “For a free brochure on how to get rid of extra weight fast, call 1-800-LOSE-FAT.”

10. Limited Time Offers

People respond well to limited time offers. It provokes a sense of urgency and urges a call to action. People don’t like to miss out on good deals. Establishing a deadline forces an immediate response.

I hope you found these tips for writing radio advertisements helpful! For more information, call us at 800-579-3031.

Direct Response Writing for Success

EngageWriting for Direct Response requires a different approach as compared with regular retail radio advertising that focuses on developing a brand and image. While some of the same key approaches are required for any successful radio campaign, here are some of the essential elements a direct response radio script needs:

  • Speak to the heart of the listener with a clear purpose to solve their problem. From the start, your commercial needs to be about the listener, not the product. How does your product or service provide benefit to them – their needs and desires
  • Present the unique benefits of your product in relation to how it solves the listener’s problem. You may have a product that is similar to your competitor’s, thus you must present a compelling unique characteristic that sets you apart. You can focus attention on a characteristic or benefit that your competitor is not talking about. Competing products may be quite similar, thus the advertiser who communicates a unique benefit will set themselves apart
  • Include a strong offer: A special limited time free trial, discount, risk free incentive, or low introductory price. You must communicate the idea that if people do not respond to your offer immediately, they will pay too much later or miss out. The stronger the offer, the stronger the appeal of your direct response radio copy, and the greater the response you will see
  • Refer back to the benefits of the product later on in the script after drawing in the listener on a personal level after stating the offer.  Repeat the offer in the CTA (Call to Action)
  • Your Call to Action should be focused. A phone number repeated, or a website.  Not both.  Don’t give listeners an option to call or go to a website. The result will be fewer responses.  Listeners should only be given one clear call to act
  • Consider using Vanity 800 numbers and URLs

It’s that simple. Is your message and offer compelling enough for the listener to stop what they are doing and call you now? So, start thinking about what your company is, who you are trying to reach, what gives you an edge, what is your incentive – and then give us a call and we can put together a direct response media campaign structured to succeed!