Anyone can produce a radio ad. All you need is a script, a voiceover and a recording studio. Decide what you want to say and off you go and record it. What’s difficult about that? Well, nothing really. It’s true, anyone can produce a radio ad, but not everyone can produce a good radio ad. And what do I mean by a good radio ad? Well, I mean an ad that people will actually listen to, and one that will convincingly sell the benefits of the product or company in a creative and compelling way.
Radio has often been described as ‘theatre of the mind’ and it’s for this reason that radio can be so compelling. A few carefully chosen, well executed words can conjure up a totally unique image for every person who hears them, and often these self-created images are far more powerful than any chosen for us (as they are in TV and print advertising). When we hear a well-written, well produced radio ad, we should be able to see the pictures immediately. We should be able to imagine ourselves driving that car, eating that pizza, or getting fit in that gym.
Got a checklist of things you need to say about your product? Then don’t use radio advertising. Cramming too much information into a 30 second slot is basically a big fat waste of your money. Copywriters and radio stations will be happy to take it from you, and will write your ad and air it for you no problem, but it certainly won’t get the results you’re looking for. Your radio ad must be single-minded. It should have one clear message, selling one key benefit, with one clear call to action. Ask your customers to do one thing and one thing only and don’t give them a choice. If you try and suit lots of different people by suggesting they phone, go online, call into the store or whatever suits them best, you actually paralyze response.
Give your words plenty of time to breathe. Think about the chatter that is going to surround your radio ad and produce something that will break the rhythm. Most radio presenters talk a lot, so if you produce an ad where there isn’t much talking at all, it will really stand out. Of course, it’s not always possible to do this, but at the very least the voiceover should be able to deliver the script without having to read at a hundred miles an hour. Yes, the engineer can speed up the delivery in post production, but it’s no good having lovingly crafted copy if the VO ends up sounding like a chipmunk. This is a particular problem with terms and conditions, so if you have loads of them radio may not be the best medium for you.
Choose the right voice over. Think carefully about your target audience and the kind of voice that is going to be appeal to them. Also think about what kind of voice is going to suit your product. If you’re advertising a gym, a young, vibrant voice with lots of energy will set the right tone for you. If you’re selling coffee, a smooth, rich, velvety voice will match the characteristics of the coffee. If you get the voiceover wrong it doesn’t matter how well written the ad is or how often it’s repeated. It just won’t hit the right note!
When done properly, radio advertising can really make an impact on response rates. Just remember to keep it clear, concise and focused.