How to Write a 30 Second Radio Ad for Beginners

Anybody can write an ad for radio, but writing an EFFECTIVE ad for radio is an altogether different story. The easiest spot to write for a beginner is a:30 spot. 60 second spots tend to get monotonous, and 15 second spots have to be spot-on, pun intended.

When writing your ad, consider the basic message you want to get across. Is the client having a sale on a product, or just getting their name out there? Is it a holiday theme? Summer? Fall?

· Avoid trying to make an ad funny. Most of the time, it just becomes ineffective. You can make people laugh, or you can make them want to buy your product or service. Which is more important to you?

· Consider what’s called the First Mental Image and the Last Mental Image. In the most effective ads, these are the same.

· Avoid stating the obvious to the consumer. Stating, for example, that Pizza Hut sells pizza and pasta is a waste of time. Let your customer instead learn something new, like they’re on sale!

· Use lots of descriptive words to ‘paint the picture’ for your customer.

· Write your copy to ONE PERSON. Imagine the customer, and talk to them directly.

Let’s take the following example:

Piping Hot Pizzas Now! Hurry in to any Columbus area Pizza Hut weeknights from 5 to 9 and get our top-selling pizzas for $10 each with no wait! Add our garden-fresh salad bar for $3 more! Find us online or call 888-HOT-PIZZA for the location nearest you. Fresh mozzarella, spicy pepperoni, and savory Italian sausage pizzas – $10 each all week long! Come in to Pizza Hut for Hot Pizzas Now!

Let’s break this down. Notice the 1st and Last Mental Images are the same: Hot Pizzas Now! This is what the customer will remember the most.

The middle of the ad is very descriptive – using words like hot, fresh, garden-fresh, top-selling, spicy, and savory. These reinforce the original message – Hot Pizzas Now!

Notice we don’t list every item Pizza Hut has to offer. Why? People already KNOW what Pizza Hut has to offer. What they don’t know is that they can get them without a wait and for only $10. That’s the idea we sell. We don’t list every location. Most people already know where their local Pizza Hut is. It’s redundant, a waste of valuable attention – but we do still have to have a contact method, which we include – online or 888-HOT-PIZZA (yes, I made that up, but who knows? If you call that number you might actually get a hot pizza… ) Lastly, the call to action, which includes the First Mental Image – Come in to Pizza Hut for Hot Pizzas Now!

Okay, try writing an ad. Let’s say you’re writing for a reputable jewelry company in the area. Who’s your audience? Try to be very specific. Are you writing to a man shopping for an engagement ring, or a daughter shopping for a mother’s day gift? How old are they? How much money do they make? What is their motivation for buying? WHY would they want to buy from your company (or your client’s company)?

Now, write to them. Speak to them as a friend. Let them know how you can help, or why you are in a better position to help. Do you have better prices? Better selection? Better quality? Are you closer? Are you the only store in town? Do you have something new they’ve got to come in and see? Write it down.

If your audience is a young woman on a budget shopping for mother’s day gifts and you’ve written an ad on how you have the largest and most beautiful diamond selection in town, you’ve just lost a client. This young woman thinks, “Wow, they sound really expensive… ” and she’ll go to JCPenney.

If your audience is a successful, rich, businessman looking for an engagement ring to really wow his girlfriend into saying “Yes!” and you’ve just written an ad on lovely sterling silver charm bracelets on sale all month long for $149, he’s going to go right past you and look for a more ‘elite’ store. It’s very difficult to write an ad to everyone.

Consider this:

From Flawless Diamonds to Memorable Trinkets, find everything you need at Richmond’s Fine Jewelry. May through July, come shop our exclusive collection of chocolate or canary diamond engagement rings and get a certificate for $500 off a purchase of $4000 or more. Our sterling charm bracelets make a lovely gift for that special woman in your life, come in today and get a free “Mom” charm with each bracelet. Only at Richmond’s Fine Jewelry in Evergreen Plaza.

What is going on in this ad? First we have an expensive, exclusive collection being offered only to the elite, then we try to hock sterling charm bracelets. Our audience is left dazed and confused.

Better to write two ads!

For the woman who captured your heart, capture hers with a flawless, sparkling diamond from Richmond’s Fine Jewelry. Through the month of July, shop our exclusive collection of chocolate or canary diamond engagement rings for a truly unique gift that will make her melt. Only through July, at Richmond’s. Fine jewelry, designed to capture her heart.

The audience in this ad is very clear. Who am I talking to? A wealthy man in love. He has to “wow” her, and it can’t be any ring. It has to be exclusive, unique. Notice “through the month of July” – not only does this imply that the customer better hurry, it also implies a limit on time and quantity. This creates an impression that this is an elite, highly sought, desired product. Man, he’d better get in there and buy this if he wants to marry that lady. Lastly, the First and Last mental images are the same. Capture her heart. That’s what he wants.

Okay, let’s go for the next one.

Show mom you care this Mothers’ Day with a gift from Richmond’s Fine Jewelry. Our exclusive sterling silver ‘A Mothers’ Love’ charm bracelet will be a reminder throughout the year of the love you share! With every gleaming bracelet, we’ll include a sparkling birthstone charm. It’s more affordable than ever to give the gift of Richmond’s. Let her know how much you care with Richmond’s Fine Jewelry, in the Evergreen Plaza.

Okay, so the First and last mental images, again, line up. Let’s look at the middle. Sterling silver. It says “something nice from the jewelry store” without “ouch, that’s too expensive, I could never afford that!” We give an offer, showing a savings, and mention how affordable it is – but notice, we don’t say it’s more affordable than ever to give sterling silver – because it isn’t! Anyone could certainly go to Walmart and buy sterling, but we don’t want to devalue the brand. What do we say? It’s affordable to give a gift from Richmond’s this year. Ahhh, something special, elite, yet surprisingly affordable. For once. Get it? Good.

Alright, try writing your ad – keep in mind the above bullet points, and read it back aloud when you’re finished. It may also help to have someone else read it back for you. As I mentioned in a previous article, if hiring a Voice Artist to voice your ad, be careful of your punctuation. Ellipses will be read as longer pauses or thought pacing, commas as short phrasing marks, exclamation points as excitement, and italics as emphasis. If these are absent, a talented V/O artist will most likely put them in, but don’t put them in if you don’t want them there. I can’t tell you how many producers have sent back copy to me that I voiced exactly as written and told me not to pause (where there were ellipses) and not to emphasize (where there were italics). Save yourself the time and your V/O artist the frustration and watch your punctuation.

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