How to write a cracking radio commercial

Writing the script for a radio commercial seems an easy thing to do.

Mention the name of the company, the thing they want to promote, add a catchphrase or slogan, and end with a contact phone number – job done.

But like anything in radio, it’s all about the connection. Having the listener hear what’s being offered and then acting on the advert in a positive way by calling the advertiser to place an order.

As a radio commercial copywriter, you might need to decide if: The advert should be a hard sell or a soft sell? Should it be voiced by a man, woman or child? Will it need music? If so, what type of music? Sound effects as well? Maybe.

It all depends on what you’re selling, who you are selling it to, and how long you have – 15 seconds, 30, 45, or a full minute.

A book that can help you write copy that is appropriate for the advertiser and their target audience is Production & Copywriting in Christian Radio by Tom Terry.

I bought this book the other week because I was looking for some guidance on writing advertising copy for radio and those types of books seem few and far between. I also didn’t want to spend too much money as – for me – it was a passing interest, not something I needed to do my job.

I wasn’t put off by the title including the word ‘Christian’. If you run a Christian radio service, great. If not – it’s also great.

The book doesn’t really include too much about Christian radio, and while that may be the author’s chosen target audience – everything in the book applies to anyone needing to write radio commercials for the first time.

The book was first published in 2019, so it is pretty current. And among the nine key chapter headings are:

  • Basic copywriting
  • Targeting
  • Emotion, desire & need
  • Imaging
  • Fear, hard sell, testimonials, and humour

Now, if you are new to writing and producing radio commercials you can learn from listening to what the professionals produce. And while you might get to understand the ‘how’, you may not be able to comprehend the ‘why’. Why it was written or produced in the way you heard it.

And that’s where Tom Terry’s book delivers. Helping you understand the best way to get the right people to call your advertiser. The ‘right’ people being the ones who are likely to buy.

Good radio commercial copy is all about targeting the people who have either the desire or the need for what you are promoting. Because, as Tom Terry explains, if they don’t see a need for what you are promoting, you won’t have enough time to change their mind. So it’s best to tap into the consciousness of the people who will already want what you’re offering.

Search for Production & Copywriting in Christian Radio by Tom Terry at The Book Depository. (affiliate link)

Steve Hart

Steve Hart

Steve Hart is a journalist and editor based in Melbourne.

You may also like...