Radio Hed: Where Do You Get Those Stories?

Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

One principle I continually emphasize, because it works, is to make your radio commercials stories. Writers sometimes tell me they’ve run out of story ideas. Where do you get the seeds for these wonderful tales that will capture your listener’s heart, or at least her attention for a minute?

I contend that you’ll never ever run out of story ideas. You just have to know where to look. Your memory is a good starting place.

Make a list of everyone you’ve ever known. It may take awhile, and it’s a list you’ll continually add to, but begin right now. Your life is made of relationships. Every one has a story.

Start with your parents, grandparents, spouse(s) and all your relatives. Add your children, your children’s friends, teachers, all the associated parents and relatives. List your teachers, coaches, scout leaders, armed forces superiors, mentors, supervisors, counselors and bosses. Next, write down your coworkers from every job you’ve had, every person you’ve dated, and all their associated relatives and friends, every customer you can remember, your pen pals, plus all your buddies from when you were in day care to the present.

What about those people you come into contact with daily in person, on the phone, or by email: landlords, bankers, police, delivery people, paper carriers, neighbors, health care people, retailers, travel agents, behind the counter salespeople, car dealers?

Don’t forget the members of your clubs, volunteer, community, political and service organizations. This is only a partial list. I’m sure you’ll think of more. Do a little at a time or you’ll get discouraged and give up.

After every name, write as many words as it takes to remind you of an associated story. Some names will generate many stories, but each should generate at least one. Every story has power because it’s real.

Now you have a huge list of stories for radio commercials, and the beginning of your autobiography. Ask you friends, your spouse, your client for their most memorable stories. Every day, more stories are being generated, so you’ll never run out.

When you write a commercial, scan your list and select stories that will work for the audience, the advertiser and their benefits. Flesh out each story, amplifying the conflict and drama. Make the marketing part of the story, and you’ll take the audience along with you…right to the advertiser.

© 2002 Hedquist Productions, Inc.

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