With radio advertising, you have just a few seconds to grab the listener’s attention and then present your message. So it’s important to know and understand the characteristics that separate a truly effective commercial from one that’s quickly forgotten.
Copy writing for radio is an art. It takes into account the need to “cut through the clutter” and motivate people to take action of some kind, whether it’s to buy a product or service, go somewhere and do something or donate money to a cause. With radio, there’s nothing for them to see or to hold or take with them, so what you say and how you say it is of paramount importance.
Radio commercial production involves three essential elements: the copy, the music and sound effects and the voiceover talent. Any one of those can derail your effort to get results if not handled properly.
Well-written copy will be grammatically correct, conversational and simple. A common mistake is to try fitting every possible bit of information into the allotted 30 or 60 seconds. None of us is capable of absorbing a laundry list of information regarding a business – especially while we’re working or driving. It’s far better to emphasize two or three copy points at the most and rely upon the fact that your commercial will be heard many times by the average listener. Keep in mind that two-thirds of your audience during the week is away from home – either at work or on the road.
Music and sound effects should always enhance and not distract from or drown out what’s being said. For some messages, no music at all is the best approach and can help your commercial stand out in the midst of others.
Arguably, the most vital of the three elements of radio advertising is the voice over talent. That’s because he or she is your surrogate, presenting your message in that brief moment as if face-to-face with the listener. It’s no simple matter to create trust and believability in a few seconds simply by using one’s voice. A survey of 74,000 people found that 97% of them rated voice over as very important. So give very careful consideration to who is going to voice your commercials.
There’s no doubt that radio advertising remains a powerful way to reach potential customers. In the United States, over 90% of us listen at some point during an average week, and we typically stay tuned for over two and a half hours at a time.