Pro tip: Before you grab a mic to record an ad, grab your keyboard first.
There’s a lot of thought and planning that goes into that 30-second ad you hear on your favorite podcast or radio station.
Here are some tips that should make your radio or podcast ads much more effective.
How to Write Podcast and Radio Ads
#1 Start your ad with a payoff
The most effective ads throw listeners off—in a good way. If you begin your spot with an outcome, you’ll “hook” them enough to listen to the rest.
For example, one Audible ad starts with: “There’s another way to get away this summer…” Okay, what’s the way? Hello? Please… We have to know…
#2 Cliche characters are okay
There’s no time for character development in a 30 second spot, so in this case, stereotypes win.
So just use obvious characters that represent your ideal customer profiles, have them solve a pain point, and you’re done. Simple as.
#3 Write for the eye
Words can create vivid images in your mind. When writing your audio ads, try to write them as if you’re describing something to someone who can’t see.
Use tastes, sights, smells… and use these descriptions to help your listeners create a mental image. It’s easier to memorize and recall these kinds of ads.
#4 Make the ending rewarding
The last line is as important as the first. And the way you deliver the climax will determine if the ad “sticks”… or fades into obscurity.
So your call to action (CTA) has to be snappy, clever, and most importantly, memorable. Like this collaboration between Adidas and Recode Running Festival:
“What if the greatest running shoes just got greater? Grab this thing we call running—tear it up, and Recode. Adidas Ultraboost 19. Reboosted.”
It’s an effective ad and CTA… in less than 10 seconds.
#5 Be conversational
Your finished ad shouldn’t sound like an ad. It should sound like a regular person talking to another person. So before you start recording, do a few takes where you pretend you’re speaking to a friend.
Also, write like you speak. This will help make your copy more natural, which is important when you have to condense a lot of information into such a short spot.
Here’s an example from Dollar Shave Club:
“Look guys, we started this company because we were sick of overpaying for razors. And I know I’m not the only one. In fact, the four blade razor market is a billion dollar industry. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and we proved it.”
This ad is successful because it speaks to a very specific pain point—the high cost of razor blades—and offers a solution. And it does so in a conversational tone that feels natural and unforced.
#6 Use sound effects sparingly
Sound effects can be cheesy, but when used sparingly, they can add a touch of levity or drama to your ad. Just don’t overdo it.
A few well-placed sound effects can make your ad more effective, but too many will just leave listeners scratching their heads.
Here’s an example of an ad that uses sound effects effectively:
In this ad for Sonos, the sound of the home theater system turning on is enough to let us know that this product is worth checking out. And the company doesn’t try to cram in any additional bells and whistles.
So there you have it — six tips for writing better audio ads.
If you keep these in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating spots that stand out from the rest.