What makes a good audio ad?
And how do you go about writing one?
Well, let’s start at the start.
Like any creative writing, writing copy for audio ads has to follow a classic, time-tested, three-part model; Beginning, middle and end.
Although your advert may only be 30 seconds, you still have to hold listeners’ attention in order to get across your message effectively.
So, let’s take a look at when goes into each of these three sections.
In the opening 5 seconds of your advert, you need to grab people’s attention and set the tone for the rest of the advert.
If your brand is quirky, you might choose to open with something a little off the wall – perhaps a sound effect, a distinctive voiceover style, or an intriguing copy line like this absolutely genuine line I once wrote for a Dentist:
“Teeth are the toes of the face…”
Not every brand is the same though, and what works for one may not work for another.
A high-end finance firm, for example, may prefer to set the tone of their advert with a slow, deep, reassuring voice.
Whatever suits your brand, it’s important to get this bit right. The success of these five seconds will determine whether people listen to the bits you really want them to listen to – the Middle and the End.
CAPTION: “Teeth are the toes of the face” may not work for every advert.
Now you’ve got your listener on the hook, you need to make sure they don’t wriggle free.
You need to start telling them what you want them to know – your offer on a new product, or what your book is about.
Start this section with your strongest angle first.
You are the Rolling Stones, and this is the O2. People will listen to your album tracks, sure… but only after you’ve played “Paint It, Black”.
You may have a few different key messages to get across, but hit the listener with your most engaging one, then introduce the secondary key messages. By doing this, you ensure that they have fully bought into your brand or product and that they will make it all the way to…
You’ve done the hard work.
You’ve got people through the metaphorical door, and you have intrigued them with your offerings.
Now, seal the deal and tell them where to get your product / find out more / get in touch.
Otherwise, what was the point?
As well as keeping that simple framework in mind, here are a few other tips that will help you make the most of your 30-second spot.
Start with the stuff you need. Write out your key messages and you call-to-action first, so you know what needs to go in the script.
Add the stuff you want. This is the creative bit at the beginning, the tone-setting, and any creative callbacks you want throughout your ad.
Then strip it back. It’s always better to over-write. So, once you’ve got everything down on paper, you can start stripping out bits to get back down to your 30-second time limit (or however long your spot is). This may be the odd word here and there, or, if your creative is strong enough, it might be better to remove one of the lesser key messages to give the ad a greater impact.
So there you have it. Copywriting 101.
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