From an advertiser’s perspective, the average 30 or 60-second radio commercial represents a point-in-time golden opportunity to tell a story, reach the listener deeply, and seal the deal in terms of reinforcing the value of the brand and turning the call to action into, well, action.
How to Create a Great Radio Commercial
Here’s a rundown of some tips to draw upon as you consider how your own message might look – or rather sound – on radio, and how that perfect radio commercial needs to be crafted:
Your Radio Ad Should be Credible
Honesty is the best policy. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Avoid dramatizations. Don’t scream your message. Don’t sound like the huckster on the corner at the county fair. Just tell your story and let your product or service speak for itself.
Funny Radio Ads Can be Effective
A bit of humor can go a long way, but make sure it aligns with your chosen theme. And over the course of a campaign, make sure you vary the message to keep it from going stale.
Use Problem/Solution Structure in Your Script
You’ve only got a few precious seconds to convince listeners why they should care. A problem/solution-based approach covers a lot of ground in no time at all.
Your Radio Ad Voice Over Script Should Speak in Specifics, Not Generalities
The more focused and detailed you are, the more you stand out. Every car gets great gas mileage, but only yours can cover 800 miles on a tank, enough to get you from here to Vegas and back.
Focus Your Offer
Whatever your offer is, it must relate to the product being sold – this is not a time to be vague.
Write Your Ad with Your Audience in Mind
Your listeners are likely at the wheel, so they can’t just drop what they’re doing and write it down. If you’re using a phone number – which hopefully is an easy-to-remember one to begin with – repeat it at least three times. Split up the last four digits into two sets (for example, 2377 becomes twenty-three, seventy-seven)
Avoid the ‘Next 30 Callers’ Trap
Most of your listeners are driving, and you want to avoid having them think they will be too late. Punch the ending. Always end the spot with whatever you want them to remember most.
How the Radio Voice Over You Choose Matters
Do you know what kind of voice you want? Picking the right voice is of great importance as that voice will brand your company and likely be the first point of human contact for your customers.
The attributes of your brand voice, as well as the target demographic you’re trying to appeal to can have influence over whether you decide to go with a male or female voice over actor. When it comes to gender, there are no hard rules. For instance, some companies may select a female voice as a way to appeal to a female audience, where another company may also choose a female voice, with the intention of connecting to a male audience. Your choice of gender depends wholly on your brand and what you feel will resonate best with your target customer.
Age, Accent and Style
Remember to think about the age, accent, style, when selecting a voice. Write down what you know about your customers and select a voice that best reflects their demographic and meets their specific needs. Research has shown that most advertisers prefer to select a voice over that sounds the same as their target audience.
Creative Request Form Template
Use this creative request form template to build the perfect radio spot. This format is a great way to communicate your needs directly to your creative team, and get everyone on the same page.
- Company and contact name:
- ZIP/Postal Code:
- Tagline or Slogan:
- Target Audience:
- Target Geographic Area:
Best Practices For Booking Your Radio Campaign
To get the most out of your next radio station buy – and maximize the mileage from any campaign – keep these tips front and center:
Stick to prime time. Many radio stations will insist on spreading your commercials around the clock. They’ll dangle cheap slots in the wee hours of the night to offset the relatively higher costs of morning- and afternoon-drive airings. They call them “wide rotators,” and you shouldn’t take the bait. Remember when your audience is captive: During the drives to and from work. Anything else that doesn’t connect you with your target audience is a waste of resources.
Ask for bonus weight. Purchasing a certain number of spots over a given period of time can give advertisers leverage to ask for more. Make sure bonus spots air during times that meet your marketing requirements.
Consider mixing produced spots with local host endorsements. Some outlets allow local hosts to endorse advertisers’ products and services on-air. Depending on the talent, this can be a powerful reinforcement of the brand’s value proposition, as listeners who may not otherwise be interested might very well chime in if their favorite host is a fan. Study the on-air talent roster to better understand who might already be providing on-air endorsements.
If you use local host endorsements, visit often and make thoughtful gestures. Relationship-building is crucial to establishing powerful campaigns. It raises the power of a simple endorsement to a personal message that resonates even more strongly with listeners.
Leverage promotional value. Look to the promotion department to expand the reach of a given campaign. Many stations will add promotional consideration in exchange for providing value-in-kind products and services for giveaways, remotes and other on-site and on-air activities. Negotiate larger multipliers – example: advertiser provides $1,000 worth of product in exchange for $10,000 in promotional value – by entering negotiations with a firm plan.
Treat online streaming as a bonus. Many radio stations will ask for additional payment for online streaming. Don’t pay for the privilege. Instead, ask for it as a bonus. Bandwidth is cheap, and unlike conventional ad slots, it doesn’t compete against other commercials for online airtime. Asking for it to be tossed in is an easy win.
Ask for interviews. If the radio station is a news-talk format, ask for interviews with local hosts. Not all stations will bite – careful separation of editorial and advertising-based content often precludes such arrangements, while some on-air formats simply don’t have room for interviews – but it’s worth researching the station to see if it’s even an option.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Ask for examples of similar advertisers’ successful schedules, then work with your broadcast partners to replicate the formula. Keep in mind that different approaches may work differently for individual stations, formats and markets. But generally, broad understanding of what worked previously under similar circumstances can maximize the potential for a successful campaign.