7 Steps To Write an Effective Radio Ad

by Spotiance

Let’s just get this out of the way. Most radio ads are terrible. There are a lot of reasons for this, and it’s not just that radio is not considered glamorous. In fact, many creative teams know how much fun they can have with radio, whilst giving the client something that is both memorable, and attention-grabbing.

But aside from the fact that many awful radio ads are quickly trotted out by employees of the radio station, account managers, or even worse, the clients themselves, there is no excuse for you not to produce a great spot.

And if you follow these 7 steps, you should have a radio spot that not only draws in listeners, but sells a lot of product and bags you some well-deserved accolades.

7 Steps To Write A Radio Ad:

radio ad to reach everyone

Step 1: Absorb Yourself In The Product or Service.

This is the first step in almost every kind of advertising you’re doing, from web ads to Super Bowl spots.

You need to know the product or service inside-out. How does it smell? How does it taste? How does it feel? What are it’s strengths and weaknesses? Don’t approach the radio spot until you know as much about your subject as you do the back of your own hand.

Read: How To Set Facebook Ads & The Difference With Google AdWords

Step 2: Read The Creative Brief. Several Times. 

Now that you’re full acquainted with the product or service, read through the creative brief with your account manager, creative director, or client. Make sure all of your questions are answered satisfactorily. You’ll need to know more than “it’s a radio ad for XYZ.”

For example, which station is it playing on? Howard Stern has a very different audience than Fox News or CNN. That will drastically alter the tone of your spot.

How long is it? 30 seconds? 60 seconds? Will you have to squeeze in a lot of legal jargon? If so, how much? You will be in re-write hell if you don’t get answers to all these questions, and more, so have all your ducks in a row before you start writing.

Step 3: Start Writing Whatever Comes To Mind.

It doesn’t really matter, but you need to pour your ideas out on paper. And that “old-fashioned” pen and paper is still the very best way to ideate, by the way. Sat at a computer, it is way to easy to think in a linear way, and to be distracted by the Internet, emails, and other diversions. With something simple like a pen and paper, a whiteboard, or a sketchpad, you can really do a brain dump and get everything out. Plus, you can start seeing ideas interact with others. Two words that have no business being together can suddenly spark an idea you may never have thought of.

also, read: 7 Overused Advertising Words To Use Carefully

Step 4: Hone Your Ideas, Audibly and Visually.

When you start focusing on ideas that have merit, think about how they will sound, and what visuals they will create in the consumer’s mind. It may be radio, but it can conjure up scenes and scenarios that would costs millions of dollars to actually shoot.

You can have 7-headed aliens riding dinosaurs through Times Square if you want. Just plant the seed, the consumer’s imagination will do the rest. And remember where your audience is when they listen to it. Can that environment play into it?

You Might Like To Read: 10 Best Marketing Strategies For Small Business?

Step 5: Don’t Be Annoying or Horribly Repetitive.

You’ll hear people telling you to repeat the name and number of the product or service at least three times, and perhaps even more. As a consumer, how do you feel about those ads that ram their name and phone number down your throat until you gag? It’s not good radio; it’s harassment.

Instead, you want to make your radio ad so powerful, memorable, and enticing that the consumer will be waiting to hear whom it’s from and how they can get in touch. These days, the website is enough. Oh, and another point. DO NOT imitate emergency service sirens in your ad. It will confuse and infuriate people.

Step 6: Read It Out Loud. Time It. Revise It.

You won’t get it absolutely perfect on your first read-through. Almost everyone writes “fat” or long. What you think is a 30 second spot will be 40 seconds, or more. You want the ad to breathe, not be crammed into the time. So, read it aloud, preferably to your art director, or another creative person. Then go back and make your revisions.

Were some words hard to annunciate, especially when strung together? Dump them. Were some sound effects missing, or were they distracting? Fix those problems.

Check: How To Swear In advertising

Step 7: Present Your Ad The Right Way.

You wrote the ad. You know it better than anyone. Do not simply send an email to the account manger, or client, saying “here it is!” No, this is an ad that needs to be presented verbally, either in person, or via a phone call or teleconference. Act it out, be enthusiastic, and make sure the effects are mentioned.

You can point out that the ad will time out a little longer for you to explain the sound effects you want to use. If you do it right, you’ll move on to the production part of the process, and that can be a whole lot of fun. 

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