5 Things you should do in your radio ads

Last week I tackled things you shouldn’t do in your advertising. This week, I want to be a little more positive. So, let’s talk about things you should do. Ok, this list could go on forever. With the right touch, almost anything can go into your ads and be awesome. So, I’ll try to keep it vague this week. Creativity is what makes good advertisements great. So, I’m not even going to try to give the seed of an idea. I just want to give you a direction to where you can find seeds.

Get a professional to write/produce them – This point is a little bit selfish since that is my business. But, I also do believe this full heartedly. For some reason everybody thinks they can write their own ads. It’s a little insulting actually. You wouldn’t try to fix your own busted transmission. You’d go to a mechanic. You wouldn’t remove your own appendix. You’d go to the doctor. So, go to a professional when you need your advertisements written. Not just that though. Believe in your creative team. You don’t need to like your ads for them to work. Most writers have seen thousands of campaigns come and go. They’ve seen what does and doesn’t work. Here’s the best tip though. The finest scripts that most writers pen are never purchased. Any writer will tell you that. The best stuff stays on the shelf. Why? Mostly because businesses are too afraid to run them. They may end up using a watered down version of the original copy, but it is always less effective. Hire a talented writer and trust their scripts.

Surprise people – A boring script will not be noticed on air. Your advertising budget will be wasted. Now, when I say “surprise people” I don’t necessarily mean you should run racy or offensive ads. I just mean air something that’s a little left of centre. You need to build a strong brand, and brands only become strong when they are recognizable. Being recognizable requires you do be different from your competitors. You need to stand out.  There are lots of ways to be surprising. Surprising can be being honest when you’re not expected to be. Surprising can be being upbeat when your category expects you to be relaxed. Surprising, is anything you don’t expect. An easy way to be surprising is to write out a list of what people would expect from an advertisement in your business category. Write as many words as you can. Now, write down the opposite word and think of a way you can incorporate that style into your next commercial.

Alienate people – What? Why would you want to alienate people? Another way to say this is “zero in on your perfect audience and speak only to them.” It’s ok to drive people away from your advertising if they aren’t people who will use your service. Chances are, the less you speak to them, the more you’ll speak to the people you want. So, if you run a tattoo parlour, it’s ok to offend people who wouldn’t use you anyways. You’ll probably become more endearing to people who will use you. If you’re running an ad to hire an accountant, speak in their language. Make the commercial unintelligible to non-accountants. In advertising, you’ll catch less fish with a wider net. They’ll swim between the twine. Use a spear gun.

Use a memorable contact – People need to know how to find you. These days, the answer is always online. If your website is hard to explain, you need to find a new URL. I always talk about redirect websites. I think they’re great. Basically, you’d buy a new domain name for any campaign you run and direct them to your own website. Here’s an example. I was helping a friend with an ad for a trucking company that was hiring drivers. There campaign was based around the fact that they don’t do slip seating. You may not know what that means, and as we learned in the previous point, that doesn’t matter unless you’re interested in applying on the position. Anyways, the commercial was entirely based on that one idea. The problem is, it’s hard to attach that idea to a certain company. People will forget. So, I suggested buying the site “noslipseating.com,” and redirect it back to the client’s site. It would be more memorable, and it would be trackable. All in all, make sure your contact info is memorable. It doesn’t even have to be your actual company name. Just make sure real people can reach you with it. The previous ad would have worked without even using the businesses name!

Talk about the listener – Too many businesses talk about themselves in their advertising. We’ve won this award, we’ve been in business for this many years, we care about you, we’ve done this, we’ve done that. It all doesn’t matter. The only way to truly capture the attention of the listener is by showing them why they should care about you. That is never achieved by talking about you. It’s achieved by talking about them. Talk about a need that they have and relate it back to your business. You never want to be the boring person at the party talking about themselves. You will always be more interesting if you talk about the person sitting across from you.

Like I said, this list can go on and on. I really do believe that there are many more ways to do advertising right, then there are ways to do it wrong. Yes, most ads are bad. But, they are usually bad in the same clichéd ways. There are an infinite number of ways you can be good. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be surprised by effective ads anymore. Everything would have been done already. Luckily, people are creative. There is always a way to connect with your listener if you’re willing to be a little brave. Be different. Excel.