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FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE YOUR RADIO ADVERTISING RIGHT NOW!

Copyright @ Radio Works 2008

            If you're concerned that your advertising isn't as good as it should be, you can do something about it, now. You don't need to be a creative genius. You don't need to know everything about advertising. The truth is, most advertising can be improved by avoiding certain common mistakes that get passed along because we don't know better.

1. Start from where your listener is

2. Stick to one chief point

3. Don't try to cram in too much copy

4. Communicate benefits, rather than features

5. Write simply, clearly, briefly

· 1 START FROM WHERE YOUR LISTENER IS

            Next time you're at a party, notice who seems to be involved in a conversation. Unless the person happens to be as inherently fascinating as, say, Lauren Bacall, it's probably someone who's attention is on the person they're talking to, rather than on themselves.  That's because we like it when people are interested in us. When they say "Let's talk about you," rather than, "Let me tell you about me." So why should your advertising copy be different?

 

So be a good conversationalist. Start by talking about them. Address their needs, fears, concerns, hopes... whatever you feel from your own experience will create a connection between you and them.

· 2 STICK TO ONE CHIEF POINT

            Be ruthless about this! If you have two or more main points in one commercial, you will whipsaw your listener back and forth until they can't remember anything let alone one thing. Furthermore, you need to support your main point with related facts, if you really hope to convince a listener that you're the one they want.

I know it’s tempting to go on pushing other products once you think you’re got their attention with the first one, but by adding information, you’re adding confusion.  They may not remember anything. You say you want to sell those other things, too? Create more radio spots, each with its

· 3 DON'T TRY TO CRAM IN TOO MUCH COPY

            We know, lots of advertisers say, "Are you kidding? Do you know how much airtime is costing me?  I'm gonna make every second count!" Good. But the way to do that isn't to squeeze in so much copy that both the announcer and the listener are gasping for breath. Because ideas need to breathe, too. 

In some cases, that may mean repeating a phrase or two, rather than introducing something new. Or expressing the same idea several different ways. It may even mean providing a few places for the announcer to pause and say (Gasp!) nothing.

Following this rule is especially important if you’re buying 30-second radio spots.  If there’s really too much to say in 30 seconds, better go back to buying 60’s.

 

· 4 COMMUNICATE BENEFITS, RATHER THAN FEATURES

            Almost any benefit will beat almost any feature. Because benefits, not features, are what people are really buying.  Smart advertisers know that most people aren’t really interested in the product itself, but in its effect: you don’t really need a drill… you need a hole.  So sell holes, and the drills will sell themselves.

· 5 WRITE SIMPLY, CLEARLY, BRIEFLY

            Good writing isn't "flowery." It isn't complicated. It doesn't need a lot of big, impressive words or obscure allusions. Rather than showing off the power of the writer's brain, it shows off the power of the idea. At its best, in fact, you don't even know good writing is there. In other words, good writing is transparent.

Lots of radio spots go awry when a writer includes stuff they think will impress the listener – “Family-owned and operated since 1947,” is one of my favorites.  Besides the advertiser’s mom, who cares?  It all gets back to writing with the listener in mind. What do they not you need to hear?

Finally, craft your words to move the listener to act, not to marry you. Use short words and short sentences. As if you were having a conversation. Because you are.

 


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