Writing copy for broadcast ads may seem tougher than writing for print. Actually this task is not more difficult.
Resist the temptation to have the radio or TV station write your copy for you. Doing so usually results in your ads sounding and looking pretty much like ads for everyone else.
Understand that all media can and do provide help with your ads but they do not have the staff nor the expertise to go in depth on your individual marketing situation.
Deadlines always trump creativity in any medium you choose. When you run a radio ad, you are speaking to a captive audience. The listener has to change the station or turn down the volume in order to tune your ad out.
Speak to the radio listeners directly. If you do, they may listen. If you do not, you and your ad will be toast.
Start with an engaging headline . . . a strong opening that tells the listener what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. Complete your ad by telling them what you have already told them!
Lastly, urge listeners to take some kind of action: buy your product or service; call for an appointment; send for a free report, etc.
Just as in print choose a single theme in broadcast ads. Never use bullet points from print ads. Spoken words or phrases that are disjointed rarely make it to the brain of the listener.
Avoid empty words and puffery. Writing radio commercials is a VISUAL exercise. People actually SEE words. It actually takes longer to say something and have it heard than it does to write it and have it read.
The average 30 second radio spot should be no more than 70 words (130 for 60 seconds). Those words should include your name or the name of your business no less than three times.
There are two types of radio stations: 1) background music stations that are listened to somewhat passively and 2) foreground stations like talk radio that require listeners to pay attention.
Match your ad with the format of the station. Generation Y and business execs do not respond to the same voices or vocabulary.
Just as in print, repetition in radio is crucial to your success. If your budget is tight, consider running your radio spots in the same time slot every day for one week.
Drop out a week and come back in for another seven days later on. This strategy will help your break through the clutter. Just as in print, radio has its own clutter.
At the risk of stating the obvious, TV is a visual medium. Some say (correctly) that the medium is the message. Visuals are critical when you use TV . . . more important than actual words.
Television ads sell primarily by stirring up emotions. Viewers rarely remember details of your TV ad, but they do remember how your ad made them feel. It is your the job of your TV ad to make viewers feel motivated.
Get to the point . . . quickly. You have two to three seconds to get the TV viewer's attention. That means you need the visual equivalent of a strong headline.
A strong headline is a necessity for any kind of ad--print or broadcast. Blow the headline and you blow the ad. No headline, no chance. Weak headline, little chance.
If your TV opening is strong, you then have no more than five seconds to engage with the viewer to get across what your ad is about.
Miss this window and viewers will tune out or zap your ad with their clicker. Benefit copy in TV ads (what is in it for the viewer) need to be visual. SHOW and Tell is the name of the TV ad game.
Show your benefits and show your logo. Get them both up on the screen. Don't forget to show your address and phone number.
Use a voice over to recite these vitals as they are being shown. Always monitor results. Someone saying they saw or heard your ad does not comprise results.
Old style advertising that entertains, but does not sell, is rarely cost-effective. Saying something clever and hoping people remember just does not cut it anymore. Results are the name of the ad game for small businesses no matter the medium.
Bob Schumacher books and articles give entrepreneurs a clear coffee-shop English perspective on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.20do80.com for a complete directory of his articles and books.