If you’ve listened to some radio ads lately you may have picked up on something, right as you punched the button to change the station. And that is that most radio spots, and by that I mean about 97%, are boring or just plain annoying… and boring.
One reason is that many advertisers rely on the radio station to write and produce their spots, and who can blame them? The station usually offers those services for free. And the word “free” is the operative word here as in, “you get what you pay for” free.
Most radio stations make their account executives take on the added job of writing the copy. Still sound good to you? Think about it. These are the same persuasive A type personalities who persuaded you to purchase airtime on their stations in the first place. What do you think they would rather be doing? Stay strapped to their desk writing your ad copy, or out selling more time and making commissions off another sale? Plus, most have as much experience writing convincing ad copy as you do. So, they either have to write it themselves or pawn it off to the production guy who really, really doesn’t want to write it. After all, he’s not even making any commission! All he knows is that he’s got ten commercials to pound out including yours, (which is another reason many radio spots sound the same) before he can punch the clock.
Now, based on that info, do you think the account executive or the production guy really gives a rats behind whether or not your spot is creative and effective? “No” is the correct box to check here.
If you take away anything from this article, let it be this: the content of your radio spots are as important as the time you’ve purchased for them. And as proof in your ears, many advertisers miss this point entirely. They end up paying a small ransom for their schedule, demand that the account exec send them their run times daily, and completely forget the most important part: the message.
Let’s review: you’re not a copywriter, the account executive would rather lose a limb than write it, and the production guy will give you about 10 minutes of his or her time knocking it out. What’s the solution? Hire an expert. After all, would you perform your own appendectomy? Let’s hope not. Some things just aren’t worth cutting corners for. Or body parts.
So where do you find someone who will write and produce your radio commercials? There are several avenues to explore here. I would be nuts not to mention my agency at this point, The Eisenberg Agency, because we specialize in radio creative and catching listeners by the ears. But, aside from that shameless plug, you can ask your radio account executive to suggest someone, or you can search the web. Another idea would be to call the company whose spots you’ve heard and liked and ask them who did their radio. Of course, it would be a plus if the company or writer you chose has had prior experience writing for your particular business, but if they’re good it won’t really matter.radio strap
And just like the example above, when it comes to hiring a creative agency, you still get what you pay for. Be prepared for quotes that are all over the big bucks map. You may find a copywriter who will write the ad and then farm it out to a production house. You may find both in one shop. Just be sure and ask to hear and read samples of their work. Effective radio copy should perform two tasks: It should make the listener want to hear your spot again while informing them about your product or service with ways to reach your company.
There are many do’s and dont’s when writing copy that your copywriter should already be aware of. For example, you may hear some local ads that feel the need to repeat their phone number and/or website address so many times it makes your ears bleed, but the truth is, radio is primarily a branding tool. By that I mean it works over time. Don’t expect the listener to remember everything that is said in your spots. Especially while she is driving down the road, answering her cell phone, deciding what to have for dinner, and keeping the kids entertained. Just keep your message simple, wrap it up in a clever way, and run the heck out of it.
Finally, and I feel the need to say this on behalf of all fellow copywriters out there – let the professional copywriter write the copy. You should supply them with bullet points, the most important points you wish to get across, but let them work their magic and trust them to know what will and won’t work on the radio. And if you are a closet comedian and feel the need to express yourself, try amateur night at the local comedy club first before spending your hard earned money on a spot that you and your fellow employees think is just freakin hilarious. Also, when giving your copywriter bullet points, keep in mind that trying to fit in more than three or four of them may overwhelm the listener’s ears and make them tune your spot out. Sure you’ve been in business for over 12 years, but listeners don’t have to hear about every item or feature you have. I can’t tell you how many spots I hear daily where the poor copywriter was forced to try to change the laws of physics by cramming 3 minutes of copy into a sixty second spot.
Your radio ads could be the driving force behind your brand while at the same time driving your cash register into make those little ringing sounds if done right. Good luck and I look forward to hearing your spots. Actually, I look forward to writing and producing them. (Yes, another shameless plug.)