5 Tips for Developing Radio Creative That Get Results Now

Basic human nature is the same, no matter where you go. For instance, people often need to be told what to do instead of merely given a suggestion. They find a sense of security in familiar sights, voices, and sounds. They also love a good story.

Great radio creative leverages these and other aspects of human nature into interesting and highly engaging commercials. Just like human nature, exceptional radio copy has some common elements, no matter where you go. In this blog, we'll discuss five tips to develop radio creative that will drive results right now.

Catch the Listener's Attention

The world of radio advertising is a crowded place. It may be hard to stand out, especially if your company is fighting with several other businesses over the same demographic. Furthermore, radio ads must compete for attention with whatever else is going on in the listener's environment.

With this in mind, your radio spots should contain a strong, attention-grabbing introduction that will break through all the noise and distractions vying for the listener's attention. There are several ways to accomplish this. For example, auto dealers are notorious for running loud, over-the-top ads to win attention. However, some dealerships deliberately play against type, which intrigues their target audience. As a result, more consumers pay attention to their ads.

End with a Call to Action

Sometimes, when we've had a good night's sleep and are on our third cup of coffee, we can pick up subtle hints and run with them. Other times, we need someone to tell us what to do. 

Radio listeners are no different. Some advertisers try to roll out subtle CTAs that sound more like suggestions than imperatives. Strong, direct calls to action are usually much more effective in influencing listeners to take the next step. Instead of merely thinking about the commercial, or wondering what he should do, the listener can make a quick decision and immediately engage with the company (or take whatever action is required).

Law firms are known for their strong CTAs. For example, the Isaacs & Isaacs law firm in Indianapolis, IN, publishes radio spots with a distinctive CTA: "Call the Hammer." Then they provide their easy-to-memorize phone number. There is absolutely no doubt about the next step the ad is urging listeners to take.

Know What's Environmentally Appropriate

It's important to understand that different listening environments call for different advertising techniques. For instance, a mother that's multi-tasking while cleaning the house should be addressed differently than a mother listening to the radio on her way to pick up the kids. One situation may require simpler and more direct phrasing, while the other may call for a more descriptive copy.

The Salesforce ads from Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast are a good example of this. Since the audience will probably be listening to the podcast in an undistracted setting, the ads are long, descriptive, and full of reasoning points geared towards the business and professional demographic.

Include Sonic Branding

While catchphrases are nice, one of the big advantages of radio advertising is the ability to "sonically brand" a jingle, a sound, or even a consistent voice (think of the Allstate "You're in good hands" commercials). This approach will make your radio ads immediately recognizable and help generate TOMA (top of mind awareness).

McDonald's provides a good example of sonic branding. Who isn't familiar with those five notes at the end of every McDonald's commercial?

Tell a Relevant Story

No one likes being sold to, or coerced into a certain action. However, everyone loves a good story. Create an engaging narrative to absorb your listeners' attention. Moreover, throughout your story, weave in a narrative thread that answers the key question on your listeners' mind: "What's in it for me?"

Of course, your story doesn't have to be extremely fanciful, or start with the words "once upon a time." It must be relevant to the interests and sensibilities of your audience. The Motel 6 radio commercials narrated by Tom Bodett are a great example of low-key, but effective storytelling - and they all end with the same recognizable catchphrase: "We'll leave the light on for you."

Developing Effective Radio Creative

The five tips above are common elements throughout radio advertising that can drive results. Of course, not all of these tips need to be used in one radio spot; in fact, it may be difficult to incorporate all of these suggestions in a brief 30-second commercial. Moreover, it is important to use discernment when implementing these five tips. For example, an interesting introduction for one listener may be boring to another.

However, keeping these suggestions in mind when developing future copy can help you improve the overall quality of your ads, maximize your radio creative impact, and contribute to your company's growth.

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