"Creating great radio ads is hard work and an acquired skill."
So writes Bob McCurdy, president of Katz Marketing Solutions, the national marketing unit of the Katz Media Group, a division of Clear Channel Communications.
Right on, Bob!
That statement ought to be printed in 60-point boldface type, framed and posted at the desk of every radio advertising salesperson, sales manager, general manager, operations manager, production director, copywriter, producer and board op at every radio station in America.
Right next to it should be posted a list of clichés that from henceforth are banned and must never appear in a radio commercial without severe consequences to the perpetrator or perpetratrix.
Creating good radio commercials is painstaking, time-consuming work.
Anyone undertaking the responsibility of writing advertising for a client must understand the fundamentals of advertising — what works, what doesn't, and why. This information is available readily in books, on CDs, videos, online, in the library.
Writing good advertising involves an investment of time for research, to understand the advertiser's customers, as well as his product/service, market, competition.
Avoid These Like the Plague Clichés that should be forever banned from radio commercials include:
"for all your ______ needs"
"conveniently located at ___________"
"the friendly folks at ___________"
"the professionals at ___________"
"your ________ headquarters"
"and much, much more"
"just in time for ________"
"like never before"
"the sale you've been waiting for"
"lowest prices of the year/season/ever"
"it's that time of year again"
"we sell the best and service the rest"
"our service is second to none"
"our friendly, knowledgeable staff"
"you heard it right"
"it's happening right now"
"(Season) is right around the corner"
What's your favorite cliché that should be forbidden in radio copy? Tell us email@example.com. It involves think-time, before and during the process of writing, editing, tweaking, refining and polishing, spinning words into gold.
It involves choosing an appropriate spokesperson. Extensive casting opportunities may be out of reach for many stations, but thought should still be given as to who should deliver the message. Often the advertisers themselves make great spokespeople.
(I can hear the protests rumbling from the "professional" bench already. Don't bother. I've been writing for and coaching ordinary folks for years, decades really — with consistent, bankable results for the client. It can be done. Just takes a little more time, patience and perseverance, that's all. Want to hear examples? I can provide you with plenty.)
Great production won't compensate for poor copy. If you can't have both, put your money into the copywriting. Great copy always trumps great production.
Invest in improving the quality of your advertising copy for clients, and the inevitable improvement in their results will keep them on the air.
It's just that simple.
And because it is, there's no reason it can't be done.
Rod Schwartz, owner/creative director of Grace Broadcast Sales and a 36-year radio sales veteran, shares stories, commercials and advertising lessons in his blog. He invites radio advertising professionals to join the conversation atwww.rodspots.blogspot.com. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.