Radio Advertising Commandments – Part 2

In my last article, we left off at Radio Commandment number 4 Thou Shalt Pick The Right Music BedIf you’re going to produce a radio spot that has the most bang for the buck, you have to make sure that every word “sits” comfortably on the music bed (background music). You can record the announcer first and try to match the music, but it’s a lot smoother when you pick the right music from the get-go.What I typically do is run a few different tracks as I read the spot over in my head. What I’m looking for is a music bed that flows and a matching cadence in the read.I want to make sure that if I’m pitching a limited time colossal sale that the music is exciting with a strong beat and essential music “posts” (where certain words get pushed by a musical punch or stop).When I find the sound that I’m looking for, I then begin to re-write the spot making sure that I take advantage of the various musical modulations, punches and “holes” (silence) where each key word is as impactful as possible.Believe me, when a well written spot is married to a great music bed, the fireworks happen and listeners not only hear it – they feel it!That being said, let me state that some of the best commercials I’ve ever been a part of, have had no music bed at all!In these cases, the power came entirely from the announcer who was able to take every cherry-picked word and make it his own.The best “cold voice” (spots without music) radio commercials were the ones that had the least amount of words, the greatest amount of meaning and the strongest emotion.Now you might think that male announcers dominate the airwaves and you may be right. But there are female voices that do incredible work.Which brings me to Radio Commandment number 5. Thou Shalt Pick The Right Talent For Your Radio CommercialWhile great copywriting may be the key to a successful radio campaign, it is the announcer, who opens the door!There are many great sounding announcers in the marketplace, but sadly few, who understand the importance of verbal foreplay. The innate ability to roll passionate words around effortlessly, bumping and grinding each syllable into a heated and euphoric grab for your attention – and money.It is these wordweavers who you should seek out.How do you find these voices? A good place to start is on the internet. Just key in “voice over talent” and you’ll find plenty of demos to audition. How will you know who’s good? Simply listen. If they move you – take their name, email and find out what they are offering. In some cases, you may be fortunate to find someone who is also an accomplished copywriter.A question I often get asked is whether a male announcer is better than a female announcer.I think a lot depends on what you are selling. For example, I’d be hard-pressed to use a male voice if I’m selling menstrual pads. I’d also find it less convincing if a female voice were selling shop tools.Interestingly, I think women can get away with selling more products than men- however, I believe men seem to have a more commanding and convincing presence.Which brings me to Radio Commandment number 6 Thou Shalt Believe In Your ProductNothing irks me more than radio spots that hammer away at listeners with zero conviction. Spot after spot of useless unconvincing dribble to buy this, call here, shop there and the most redundant and pathetic of them all…quality, service & price!Is there any business out there that isn’t about quality, service & price? DUH. Well…hmm, maybe banks. Let’s face it. Everybody in their right mind wants the best quality and service at the lowest imaginable price. Enough already!The fact of the matter is, that your radio spot should evoke those sentiments without having to spell it out.Remember – it is a classy spot that says quality for you.Relating how you make sure to always do a little bit more for a customer, says you’re into service.And letting your listener know the difference between the regular price and the sale price while throwing in some added-value offer certainly says there won’t be any objections to the prices.In other words, you can’t sound believable if you’re echoing the same redundant information as everybody else. Believability happens when truth prevails.You can sell $2. t-shirts and pretend they’re great, or you could say something like “…and we’re stuck here with these posh, really high-end 100% baby-soft cotton t-shirts that have these, like, minor flaws because of some imperfect dye run that no one would really notice anyway, and heh, for $2. you absolutely can’t go wrong, so come by before you feel sorry….that you didn’t…”- blah blah…The matter of fact, conversational & up front tone, brings you into the announcer’s “I’m your friend, listen to me – I’m offering you advice” space. And it works.It is believable. It is real. It is reliable & convincing.And that means you’ve just gained another excited customer.This brings me to Radio Commandment number 7 Thou Shalt Use Radio To Make Friends & Build TrustCreating a relationship with your listener is a long term commitment and important for sales today & tomorrow. But making friends on radio will take more than a serious up front spot. Spots can and should at times, be humorous. As long as there is a sense of imparting truth.In fact, humour is a wonderful tool because it entertains and radio is in the entertainment business. Yes, I know that talk radio is very serious and not entertaining, but that is what is only on the surface.But getting back to using humor. It’s a great way to grab someone’s attention, win someone over and invariably, make a friend and a potential customer. But it can also work against you.In fact, the most successful award-winning radio commercials that have used humor have left many people scratching their heads trying to remember the advertiser. A case of “that was so funny that I didn’t get what product they were selling.”What went wrong? Simple. The product name was not intrinsically linked to the punch line or plot line.The least you ever want a listener to walk away with, is the product name or company name and have it relate to the good feeling that they’re feeling. One day that listener may need to decide between your product or service and another. The one they’ll go for is the one that will “feel good” to them and is offered with the feeling of a trusted friend.People definitely have a relationship with the radio station of their preference. It starts with the morning announcers who talk to you in your very private bathroom as you dry up from a shower or shave & strutt naked to the morning music.They tell you all kinds of information over breakfast. Some even gets in and gets stored in your subconscious. And they guide you safely through traffic to your morning destination. The alert you to impending storms, washouts and the like.This happens every working day & even weekends – 365 DAYS A YEAR! Is it a wonder that over time, radio is the best media key to unlock a listener’s inhibitions and build up a place of trust in their lives?Talk about trust. Listeners are not the only ones you want to win over.In my next article, I’ll discuss Radio Commandment number 8.Thou Shalt Use Radio To Build Strong Business Alliances.

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