Buying Radio Time? Read This and Don’t Waste Your Money

Buying First off,Buying Radio Time? Read This and Don’t Waste Your Money Articles let me say, I’m not knocking it. But read on and see how to use it to your best advantage.If you’ve been in a direct-to-consumer business for even 6 months, or are listed in the phone book, you’ve probably been pitched to by a radio station.No doubt you’ve listened to, and then quickly deleted, messages from account execs from stations from all formats. Maybe you’ve even entertained them in your office. Hopefully you didn’t have to sanitize your phone or office afterwards.

Well, radio can be great way to garner awareness cheaply… ahem, inexpensively… if you do it right. But, remember… 97.823% of all radio ads S-U-C-K. That leaves you to carry the banner for great radio advertising. And when you do, you will get noticed. Believe me, you will get noticed.Why do so many radio ads suck? Between the screaming car ads, and nasally voiced business owners who should never get anywhere near a microphone reading their own ads, and the next “turnkey” business opportunity, they are all dressed in their plaid suits and resorting to hucksterism. They want your money and they want it now.

They forget one thing. Well, actually a lot of things, but the main thing they forget that people are not tuning in for their ad. Listeners want Rush, Rome, Al, Laura, music, sports, news, or whatever. People aren’t saying, “Gee, I gotta hear great heating and air conditioning ads today!”Your ad is interrupting what they listen for. By nature, you are already behind the eight ball before you start in radio. But there is hope.

First off, do NOT let a radio station employee write your ad.If your exec isn’t a writer (you may luck out in that some radio execs are copywriters in training looking for an agency gig) and you don’t insist, your ad will probably get written by either: The Station Producer- who may have already written 4 or 5 other ads that same DAY, who doesn’t have enough time to fully attend to your needs, and thereby wasting your money; OR a Disc Jockey (strange term- they don’t spin wax anymore, Daddy-O) whose annoyed he or she has to write an ad, or who’s not a talented writer to begin with, also wasting your money; OR by The Intern, Secretary, or Other Employee – who may relish the opportunity, but may not have the writing chops yet, or is being pressured to write something “quick and dirty” so it can produced and on the air — also thereby wasting your money.

You have creative control and the ultimate yay or nay, so feel free to choose your writer. Hint and Shameless Plug: entering in your browser window will direct you to an excellent radio writer.

Now, when it comes down to concepting and reviewing scripts, remember this: Radio is called Theater of the Mind for good reason. Use it to your advantage. Recall your disadvantage before starting.

Cleverness will grab attention. But… it must be on strategy to be effective. Give your writer ONE benefit to express. How does that benefit resonate with the target audience? Even if you have a “mundane” or “boring” product or service, there IS cleverness to be had. Give a good writer enough information, and they will find it.

A few of the BEST radio ads I’ve ever heard was for a soil conditioner. Yup. A soil conditioner. Two voices. One performed by the writer. The other performed by mid-level (read… talented, and non-union) voice talent. Writer as The Hick Farmer. Non-Union Talent as the Smart Farmer.

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