Is your radio really working? – by Chris Howden

I written thousands of radio commercials – many of which have been very successful in terms of ROI. But others never really had the chance of working as hard. Here are some tips to avoid if you’re using radio as one of your mediums.

Avoid radio packs

Radio packs are frequently used by radio stations to drum up sales towards the end of the month. The sales team is behind budget, so all the reps have to get on the phone and start making cold calls selling packs. “Hey you get 60 spots across 3 stations for just $2000” or something like that. Now if you’re a long time advertiser on radio – this can be good for you. It’s a cheap way to boost an existing campaign. But if you are new to radio, then think very hard. Because unless you have a killer offer to make to the consumer – it won’t work. Radio packs by their very nature are distressed inventory. Unsold time in other words. So the time may be in slots when there are fewer listeners – like midnight to 4am! They can also be a mix of stations that don’t really connect with the audiences relevant to your business.

The faster you go, the bigger the fail

The more you rush, the worse it gets. So you decide to book a radio campaign, great! But it’s Friday and the campaign is going to start on Monday. Oh dear! Guess what’s going to happen? The rep will brief it in the the radio creative guys. They will look at it and go “Crap it’s on air Monday!” Then they will bash out the very first thing that comes into their heads – because that’s all they can do. The rep shows you the script, you say…Ohhhh ok….and the station records it with their standard jock voice over a little bit of music and wham – it’s on air. Nobody will pay any attention to it and it will pass like a ship in the night. So give things time. Make sure the creative guys have all they need to do something good.

Do the “Who cares?” test

Think very hard about what you want to say in your radio ads. Remember, consumers are busy and bombarded by messages all day long from every medium. So does what you want to say have any real interest? Is it news? Is it relevant to your audience? Does it set you apart from the competition? Or are you just saying something generic? Don’t waste your money saying stuff that anyone with half a brain already knows – and pretty please don’t say: Plenty of parking, New Zealand owned and operated, it’s just a waste of air time.

Chris Howden is a Creative director and Copywriter. You can get in touch with him by visiting his site