If oldies come on, I can’t help but sing along (do-wa-didee-didee-dum-didee-do) with flashbacks to hot summer afternoons spent running errands with my mom in her minivan and my baby brother in the back seat. If it’s country music (80’s and 90’s, none of this newer nonsense), I’m in my dad’s ‘67 Chevy truck, hand-cranking the window down and avoiding the scalding metal seat buckles.
These days, I jump between SiriusXM®, music on my phone, Spotify, and even still, regular FM stations, depending on my mood and whether the sunroof is open. Countless studies have researched the effects of music on the human brain, and have proven that music is a visceral experience that can run so deep as to impact the physical body to the point of reducing pain and anxiety post-surgery.
While the way people listen to music may vary—through radio speakers blasting America’s top 20 hits while working in the shop, via earbuds playing the latest episode of their favorite podcast during the morning commute, with a portable radio streaming updates of the Brewers game while grilling in the backyard or headphones playing a workout station on Pandora—radio is still a popular medium for catching some tunes. Whether we know it (or want to admit it), the commercials that play in between songs still have a way of sneaking into our brains.
Radio is not dead. I repeat: radio is not dead.
Contrary to some opinions, video didn’t kill the radio (star). It might be ‘old-school’ because it’s been around a long time, but it’s still an effective and inexpensive way to reach a large audience. Each week, 93% of Americans tune in to some form of AM/FM radio, including 95% of millennials, and the listener base is becoming increasingly diverse. If you have a business to market, an event to advertise, or a product to promote, consider throwing your hat into the radio ring with the following tips.
- Find the right voice to personify your brand. Voice talent is remarkably easy to find these days, so there’s no need to record yourself (stick to your strengths, people). Picking just the right voice can help you convey a message that resonates with your customers and personifies your brand (like the Pure Michigan commercials). Consider gender, age, speed, tone, and be sure these align with the script rather than clash. Listen to samples online, and while you’ll usually know it when you hear it, get a few unbiased opinions just to be sure.
- Paint the right picture—with awesome words. There are no visuals, so your words must paint the picture in the customer’s mind (close your eyes and think about all the things that need to be written into the script to really connect with your audience). Voice, music and sound effects play a role, but you have a very short amount of time (15, 30 or even 60 whole seconds) to grab your audience’s attention, tell your story, and then get them to act. A well-written script is built on the strategy of your campaign and must be crystal clear—every word counts.
- Be picky about the time and place your ad airs. Advertising OneWheel boards on a rock station? Makes sense. Promoting a florist on the classical station? We get the connection. Selling senior living apartments on the pop channel…? Not so much. There are countless stations and channels to choose from in a variety of formats, including FM and AM, Spotify, Pandora and other online stations, or even inserting an ad into a relevant podcast. Think about who your audience is, why your message matters to them, then get really specific about the stations or platforms you choose. The more specific you are, the more bang for your buck you’ll get and the more you can stretch your dollars into more air time.
Radio has a lot of moving parts (script writing, finding voice talent, recording and producing the radio spot, selecting the right stations, scheduling air time and more), and luckily Writing by Design can help with that. We get strategy, and we’ve got the script-writing piece in the bag (listen for yourself), and we’ve partnered with experts for top-notch production, customized music, and unique voice talent.
Want the complete radio package—from strategy to script writing to production? Contact us for a flat-fee estimate on your next radio project.
With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business and more than 11 years of diverse marketing experience, Tara understands that clear communication is the key to customer satisfaction. Whether it’s consumer product goods, higher education, insurance, or healthcare, developing a solid strategy that leads to concise, targeted messaging creates a framework for successful projects and sustainable growth. Tara is experienced in writing copy, designing ads and recording radio spots, and is responsible for leading the Writing by Design team and its clients through each communications project.