Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

How do you get good? How do you consistently create breakthrough, attention-grabbing, result-getting quota-busting radio commercials?

Well, some people can do it on their first ad and each attempt after that just gets better. For the other 99.9999999% of us, the best thing to do is NOT to try to create from the depths of our naiveté. Why? Because we’re gambling with other people’s money. Do that later, when you’ve got a track record.

No, for the rest of us there’s a time-tested method of learning. I defer to Helmut Krone (who worked with ad legend Bill Bernbach):

“Until you’ve got a better answer, you copy.”

Why? Because you have to get results while you’re learning your craft. So your early stuff might not be highly original, or win awards, but it will have a better chance of bringing results to those clients who’ve entrusted you with the creation of their messages.

Absorb as much good advertising as you can — print, radio, TV, online, billboards. It will inspire you, depress you and invigorate you, but most importantly, the process will teach you.

Study how the experts, the gurus, and the masters of the game do it. Don’t make the mistake of borrowing from the pretty good creators. Copy the best stuff you can find. See how they solved the challenges you’ll face daily.

Hey, I don’t mean copy the words. If you do it’ll come back to haunt you and undermine your reputation and that of your company. Copy the style, the attitude, the approach, the structure, the premises, the vocal inflections, sound effects, music and silence.

And you know what? At some point, your stuff will get better, more original and you’ll just “know” how to find the right angle to touch listeners’ hearts and find that delicate connection to their bank accounts.

And then, you’ll be one of the people that the rest of us will copy.

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