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How Do You Write a 30-Second Radio Ad?

There is no formula for writing a 30-second radio ad. There is no one “right” way.

Here is a bare bones, 7-step structure that will enable you write a serviceable radio commercial quickly…assuming you have adequate knowledge of the product or service being advertised.

Step 1: Identify the Call to Action.

The Call to Action is the one action you want the targeted listener to take as a result of hearing your ad.

Because the Call to Action almost always belongs at the end of the spot, with this method you’re beginning by writing your ad’s ending.

In fact, when writing radio copy, I almost always begin with the Call to Action and then work backward.

Step 2: Determine Your Approach.

My favorite approach is Robert Collier’s copywriting dictum that successful advertising enters a conversation the targeted consumer already is having.

Why is it my favorite?

Because it’s easier to quickly establish rapport by going where the consumer is, rather than trying to coax the consumer to come to you.

With certain campaigns, you need to start the conversation. This most frequently occurs when introducing a new product or service…which may require you to make the listener aware of a problem they didn’t know existed.

Step 3: Establish Empathy.

Radio advertising solves problems.

Those problems are the consumers’.

Make it clear that you really do feel their pain, that you understand the problem and its ramifications.

Step 4: Amplify the Pain.

After you’ve identified the targeted listener’s pain point, don’t move on to your sales pitch. Instead, build upon that pain.

It’s not enough simply to identify the problem.

Remind the consumer how serious that problem is to them.

Step 5: Offer the Solution.

There’s no point in highlighting the problem without making it clear that you have the solution for them.

Step 6: Write an Opening Line that Reflects Your Approach.

Most copywriters begin with the first line of the commercial.

Step 7: Make Sure Your Story Flows Naturally and Easily.

Even a 30-second, single-voice radio spot that speaks directly to the consumer needs to be a story.

If you were to break up your copy into paragraphs (as you’ll see in the example below), each paragraph is the equivalent of a chapter in a book or a scene in a story.

The story isn’t stitched together. Instead, it flows easily and naturally.

Let’s Put This All Together.

Here’s a sample commercial script that took me 10 minutes to write.

It took me twice as long just to describe the process for you.

Can you spot each of the 7 copywriting steps?

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