by Jim Van Dusen
Sometimes you can make your stations sound better just by making some small changes. Here are Five words you might want to think about eliminating from things you write. You should agree with most of these… keeping in mind there are exceptions to every rule.
5. Located – In radio it’s redundant. Not much debate about this one. I remember Dave Foxx calling this a “useless, waste of a word” at a summit in 2000. He’s right. Why say “located at” when you can say “at”. You could use the extra space to say the client name again. Instead of, “Ernie’s shoe store has three locations, on Main, on Smith and the newest location, located at Park Mall” Try, “There are three Ernie’s Shoe Stores, on Main, Smith, and the newest Ernie’s Shoe Store in Park Mall”.
4. Details - Details are BORING. No one likes details, yet we keep telling our listeners to go somewhere to get them. Sometimes writers try “For all the Exciting details”. Nice try. How about “Find out more” or “Learn More”? People like to learn more. Or use that space to repeat what you want them to do. “Make sure you’re in the draw to win that new car! Go to (website)”.
3. Will - This one you might disagree with, but here’s the explanation. To me, “Will” is an empty promise. On Facebook, how many times do people say they will be at an event and then don’t show?
The event “will take place” is so passive… it doesn’t help you picture yourself there. The event “Takes Place” puts the picture in your mind. It means it’s happening. Using the phrase “is happening” is another story. Let’s use this example, instead of “The sale will start tomorrow” try “You start saving up to 50 % tomorrow”.
2. We/us - Yes there are exceptions for this, but I’m talking about local clients getting local announcers to read their commercials and say we and us throughout. The main argument Radio people use for “They”, instead of “We” is, that it’s pretty obvious the station announcer doesn’t work at the store. Here’s a better one. When you say “We have a great selection”, it sounds like the client is bragging about themselves. When an announcer says “They have a great selection” then you’re basically endorsing the client. We’re the client’s wingman! Better yet, skip “they” and just say the client name again. Ernie’s Shoe store has exactly what you’re looking for, because Ernie’s has the best selection”.
1. Attention (Bismarck)! - Don’t know about you, but I don’t respond to shouting the word attention or the name of my city. Hey, I live in Bismarck - I will give this message my full attention! True, some curious souls may give the commercial a five second window to find out what the yelling is about, but this approach is the equivalent of throwing a wide net with big holes. Wouldn’t it be better to start with a strong convincing statement designed for your real target?
Maybe you’re thinking, “This goes without saying Jim – why even bother putting this in an article?” But then, why do we hear these words in so many commercials? Clients. The reason for this article is to give you ammunition to defend taking these words out when you send back the script and say you just “made a few tweaks for time”.
Next month, five phrases we could do without in radio… and no I’m not talking about “Helpful Friendly Staff”… though that’s certainly up there!