How to Write for Radio

When writing for radio it is important to remember that you are writing for listeners - so your technique will be a completely different approach to writing for print or television. Unlike these two channels, your viewer can only listen to what you have to say - they don't have the ability to visualise or re-read your message.

Writing for radio is a discipline in itself. In fact, writing for an audio production of any kind, is an art form that must be learnt in order to succeed! With radio you are writing for listeners; you usually only have 30 seconds to convey your message to the audience; show your core target market "What's in it for them" and provide contact details and preferably a call to action - all the while producing an entertaining audio production that is likely to entice your customer base in the first place. Sounds complicated, doesn't it? In actual fact, writing for audio productions is alot easier than it sounds - you just have to write in a conversational manner and be rather quick to the point.

Radio is a completely different medium to print, online and television, hence a rather different approach must be taken in order to get the best bang for your advertising buck. However, just with any form of marketing, you really need to understand your customers in order to appeal to them. Here are a few helpful tips to bring your radio commercial to life:

1. Understand Your Customers' Needs
You've heard the saying: "What's In It For Me?" or 'WIIFM' - this is hugely important when targeted your core target market - no matter what marketing channel you are using. Learn to understand your customer base, and how your products and / or services will benefit them. Really define whom you are targeting. Businesses often make the fatal mistake of targeting a larger more diverse audience, which often makes it harder to clearly and cleverly get your message across to your core target market, resulting in less leads.

2. Brainstorm your Ideas
Sit down with one or two of your colleagues and discuss potential ideas for your radio commercial. Make sure to put yourself in your customers' shoes, choose your unique selling point and then stick with just one idea and in point form, write down a structure for your audio advertisement.

3. Choose your Voice Artist(s)
Your production company will have a library of professional voice artists for you to choose from. You will get great inspiration by listening to their voices, and selecting a voice artist who matches the personality of your brand and your audio commercial. Make sure you choose a voice artist who is likely to appeal to your customer base.

4. Start Drafting your Script
It's now time to put your thoughts into words. Remember to write the script for your customers - you want your voice artist to sound as though they are 'talking' to your audience, not reading to them - so be mindful of this when you are writing your radio commercial. Make sure your business name is mentioned at least two times for a 30 second commercial. Let your script sit for a couple of hours and then come back and revise it after you have had a proper break.

5. Time your Radio Commercial
Get the stopwatch out and time your radio commercial. Remember this is an audio production, so read your script just like you would want your voice artist to read it. Don't read too fast, nor too slow. You wouldn't want your voice talent to rush through your advertisement, so if it is too long, then you will need to revise the script.

6. Select Background Music and Sound Effects
Sit down with your production company and discuss options if you have decided to liven up your audio advertisement with either a sound effect or royalty free music.

7. Submit to your Production Company
Once you are happy with the radio script submit it to your production company ready for your voice artist to bring your creativity to life and wait for the magic to happen.

Radio is a very exciting medium, and has been proven to be a very successful channel for many brands. Having said this however, it is important to do your research first. Put strategies in place and understand your customers, know who exactly you are trying to reach; and how you are going to get their attention.

Make sure your script is clear and concise and not too congested. Negotiate with your radio reps, ensure your advertisements are placed at key times when the bulk of your core target market are listening and make sure you are consistent in your audio marketing campaigns.

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