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Mastering the Radio Ad

Jodi Sali

As a business, you want your marketing to cut through the clutter and make an impact. Build a better ad by making it memorable and effective. Don’t miss the two parts. Memorable can be funny. But, funny does not equal effective. You make it memorable AND effective by making sure it connects to your audience! So, let’s dive deep into our top five tips on how to make an impactful radio ad.

A good radio ad always starts with a well-thought-out script.

Write a Better Radio Script

There is a goal, a defined target, and a desired response.  In a sports metaphor—figure out what game you are playing before you start calling plays!   Before you attempt crafting that perfect script, there are 5 things you need to know.

  1. Know your USP – Your unique selling proposition is what makes your business different than your competitors! For the love of all things media—quit using phrases like “friendly and courteous staff” or “conveniently located.” Give real reasons your business is the best choice!
  2. Know your story. Your story defines your “why!” It is the foundation of how you differ from your competitors. What makes your story uniquely yours? Your “why” establishes the culture. Culture differentiates!
  3. Know what matters to your audience. Know your target and the things that matter to them. What matters to a 50-year-old man is not the same as what matters to his 22-year-old daughter. Focus on the target.
  4. Know the real world vernacular people actually use. Don’t use industry-specific vernacular. If you’re a car dealer, don’t say you have 300 units ready to move. Customers buy cars, not units. Remember, you’re having a conversation. Writing style matters! Quit trying to sound super smart and try sounding relatable … and quit trying to sound like a commercial.
  5. Know the one idea! Don’t try to cram so many thoughts into one commercial. Focus on one idea and let it naturally take root. Think of it like dating. You would not try to tell your whole life story on the first date. It doesn’t end well. Your advertising is like a good story. It’s the same idea. Work in chapters and remember it takes time. A commercial is one date—one chapter in your story. Be consistent, be relatable and then repeat it over and over.

The Bumper Sticker Method

One creative process I run through is an exercise I call “the bumper sticker.” If you had to boil down “what you do” to a statement that would fit on a bumper sticker—what would it say? Better yet, if your customers were the ones writing it—what would they say? Is there a connection between what you say and what they would say? This is more than a branding statement. It’s a connectivity test.

Let me give you an example about sandwiches.

  • Jimmy Johns—Freaky fast. How fast? Freaky – they own that word. And the statement has nothing to do with a sandwich.
  • Subway—Eat fresh. Take a wild guess as to the color of their straws.
  • Blimpie—America’s sub shop …. What does that even mean?

Both Jimmy Johns and Subway know exactly who they are, what’s important to their customers and their one idea! Everything else supports or builds on that foundation. Blimpie makes sandwiches … and?? Let me guess … they have a friendly and courteous staff? While they do make a great sandwich and actually do have an interesting story, nobody knows what makes them a better choice.

Using a Radio Ad to Amplify Your Voice

Your self-identity as a business is foundational to the success of your marketing and advertising. Radio is simply an amplification of you. It can build connectivity, or it can be fluff. Remember, your goal is to get into the conversation. If you are not part of the conversation, you have a 100% chance of not getting picked!

Being memorable is more than being funny or using the perfect music bed or even paying Sam Elliot a bazillion dollars to do your voice-over… it’s about connecting a product or service with one person at a single moment in time. Being effective is about making that connection when the time is right. That is the magic of connectivity! Every window of opportunity is different. Thus, the reason for consistency and frequency.

If you do it right, radio can be one of the most cost-effective multipliers of that connectivity. Once you have the right script, the artistry of creative production has the opportunity to make it shine! What are the secrets to amazing production for that great script? Stay tuned. In the words of Paul Harvey, “That’s the rest of the story.”

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