Radio Hed: Build Your Commercial Campaign as a Continuing Story

Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

What kind of story would capture the interest of your advertiser’s audience? A twisted fairy tale? An outdoor adventure? An unexpected business case study? A mysterious love story?

• Ask: Who uses your client’s product or service? How does your client help those users get what they want? 

• Each advertiser is different, so one type of story will be better suited to them than others. Pick an appropriate genre.

• Your starting point for a story could be: client stories, customer stories, behind the scenes stories, the making of… stories

• Plan your story. Write an outline then flesh it out. Build in plot twists. Decide how this story will make people want to hear it progress and make them want to contact, visit, or interact with your client. Brainstorming with colleagues can help make this easier.

• Don’t try to pack the entire story into one commercial. Create a campaign. Each spot in the campaign can be an episode in the story. Outline each episode.

• You might start each episode with a provocative summary of the last one.

• End each episode with a tease, a cliffhanger, a reason to look forward to the next one. You could lead listeners to your client’s location or web site to find out what happens next.

• The commercials don’t have to be :60s. Sometimes a series of :10s can be the most intriguing (and will help your client afford more frequency).

As you craft your stories, remember, showing works better than telling.

Don’t tell me your pizza is delicious; give me a scenario with people in the break room fighting over the last piece.

Don’t tell me your service will save me money; tell me a story about what someone does with the money they saved.

Don’t tell me I can meet someone at your club; write a mysterious tale about someone returning each week at happy hour trying to connect with a certain elusive person who has captured his/her heart.

Don’t list all the maladies your medical treatment facility can remedy; deliver the continuing saga of a family who gets into one physical injury crisis after another.

We did a series of episodes a few years ago for O’Charley’s Restaurants. The campaign increased their business 52%, and people called the stations asking to hear the next “episode.” Those kinds of audience requests are a rare occurrence, but the revenue increases are more likely with a campaign that engages listeners.

Exercise your storytelling chops. Craft a campaign that breaks through the wall of mediocrity.

Want some assistance as you write a continuing story for your client? Email jeffrey@hedquist.com. I’d love to help. 
© 1997-2014 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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