Radio Advertising Space: The Creative Process

An effective advertising or marketing campaign is thoughtfully, carefully and creatively prepared. Radio advertising is no different. Airtime can be filled with ads that annoy the listener, or enchant them. We’ve all heard radio commercials that actually make us change the channel, just because we’ve heard them too often (or perhaps, hearing them once was too often).

When space is purchase for radio advertising, it’s important to understand the creative process and utilize the best possible talent to deliver the ad messages. Sometimes this is the owner of the business; sometimes, it’s not. Many business owners have attempted to provide the talent for their radio commercials, only to realize failure because they weren’t the right talent for the job. We’re not all supermodels; neither are we all qualified and right for voice-overs to be broadcast on the airwaves.

Radio stations usually incorporate airtime talent as a part of the commercial fee, but may not have the most creative or right talent for the job. It’s up to the advertiser or advertising agency to monitor the process of ensuring the proper person is assigned to be the voice on the radio spot. If not, you get what you get from the radio station.

It’s important that someone representing the advertiser sit down with the creative director of the radio station to discuss the direction, goals and results expected from the advertising. The radio station may bring up additional charges for using their talent. It’s important to know the fee structure up front (residual payments are sometimes secured for airtime talent as each commercial is aired, which could be quite costly down the road).

Repetition is important in any advertising program, and this is especially true in radio. When you listen to the spot, make sure it won’t be too wearing on the nerves of the listener after they’ve heard it for the third time in an hour. By the time the spot has been created and refined, the advertising agent or client may be sick of hearing it already. But the general public hasn’t yet heard the spot, so don’t give up yet.

Purchase an advertising schedule designed to reach the target audience effectively, and stick to it. It’s difficult to measure direct response to a radio spot, since most people won’t walk in the door and tell you they heard your ad on the radio. The best way to measure response is to gauge whether sales are up or down.

Make sure the advertising space is devoted to reaching the target audience, or the one you most want to hear it. Use words they want to hear, and in the tones they’ll respond to best. This isn’t too difficult, but it can take a trained advertising professional to know how best to appeal to the listeners the advertiser is trying to reach.

If a good media plan has been prepared, and the advertiser has communicated enough information about both the product and the buyer, this becomes a simpler process. Only through analysis of the ideal buyer, and why they should want to buy the product, can an effective advertising approach be determined, which may or may not include purchasing radio advertising space. It can be a great way to reach a specific audience.