How to Write Great Radio Adverts
Radio copywriting can be the most fun and rewarding copywriting disciplne. But there are a few rules to bear in mind for the aspiring radio copywriter.
There's no buzz like hearing a radio advert that you wrote going out over the airwaves. Experienced copywriters with a decent sense of humour won't find radio adverts too tough to write, either. There are just a few pointers to bear in mind.
As a radio copywriter, you need to get used to the timeslots. Unless you're on big-budget national radio, that usually means quite short slots of 30 seconds or 20 seconds. In half a minute, you have a reasonable amount of time to sell. The shorter slot is OK for straightforward enquiries or bigger names.
Get used to the idea that radio copywriting is basically direct mail. This is your chance to talk directly to your target market – so do it in their lingo. Your aim should be to break your client's phone or bring down their website. Well, maybe not. But you get the idea. Response is key – so it's good to offer a discount or free consultation.
Always omit corporate dross in radio adverts. Focus on just the one idea. Throw six tennis balls at someone and they'll drop the lot. Throw them one and they'll focus on catching it. Leave out the long lists of features. Take a story approach. Think of your radio advert as a sort of 3D case study.
As a radio copywriter, you must always make your message fit your audience. On talk radio stations, go for an informative approach. On a music station, you can be more creative.
Timing is vital. As a radio copywriter, you'll find yourself reading your advert slowly, while keeping a close eye on the second hand. Knock off a couple of seconds in your adverts for take-up.
Don't get too creative. By all means go for it if you can be humorous and creative and sell all at the same time. But your client isn't paying you to be a court jester – and David Ogilvy said that what you say is more important than how you say it.
Don't go trying new tricks, either. There are a few tried-and-trusted formulae out there and you should stick to them.
The straight announcer – just one simple voice – is one of them. Dialogue between a couple of voices works well, too, because people respond to people.
Another popular variation is the 'slice of life'. In this, a scene presents a problem and the product comes up with the solution.
It pays to provide the name of the company and product early on. You should repeat it once in a shorter advert and twice in a 30-second radio advert.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is a well-respected radio copywriter. He currently works with several radio stations, thanks to his web page about radio adverts.