How To Write a Radio Commercial

The most memorable radio commercials are those that are fun to listen to, which usually sticks in one’s head long after the ad has finished airing. Radio commercials must be written with the audience in mind. It needs to have humor. It needs to be informative. It needs to be attractive.  It is important to know your audience. You need to know the demographics of the listeners you are targeting: their age, their sex, their economic status, and even their preferences. Most of the time, the genre of the show that a commercial will be airing in would dictate whether or not an ad will be effective.

Consider your target audience.
Different formats of radio shows are usually fashioned depending on the demographic it serves. To come up with an effective commercial, you need to listen to other commercials in the same genre to see what makes them tick. Listeners will be more inclined to listen to your commercials and find interest in your product if they are properly targeted and formatted. For instance, listeners of intellectual talk shows would be attracted to commercials that appeal to the mind. Listeners of showbiz talk shows would, meanwhile, be attracted to celebrity endorsements.

Use your imagination. Airing advertisements over the radio is not like airing a commercial on TV. With radio, you cannot project images onto a screen. Rather, images are created by listeners in their minds. Therefore, make sure you use keywords and phrases that will inspire and incite them to visualize your product in their heads. Be descriptive as possible.

Choose the voice. You also need to choose the personalities who will endorse your products. Will it be a known host or celebrity? Or will the commercial be read by a professional voice-over announcer or host? Either way, he or she must be enthusiastic about the ad, in order to attract listeners who have nothing but the voice tone to listen to. These personalities should also be relevant to the product or service being advertised. For instance, a famous race car driver can best read a commercial for motor oil. A restaurateur can best read a commercial for a food item, and so forth.

Determine the length.
Commercial spots on radio might vary in price, but these are usually split into 15, 30 or 60 second spots. A commercial, therefore, needs to be concise, given this time constraint. Also, some stations might impose a limit as to the allowable number of times that you can insert the business or product name in a commercial. Usually, you can do this two times for a fifteen second commercial, while a thirty second commercial allows for three mentions.

Once you have prepared a draft, you or the voice over announcer can practice reading using a stopwatch so that you will be able to pace the material at the time allotted. This is especially useful for live-aired commercials. Chances are, you will need to sue some sound effects in making the final cut. Therefore, you also need to give ample time for those sound effects when you are timing the commercial.


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