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Effective radio ads and how to produce them

The very first AM radios were used in the 1920s. By the 1930s, the move to FM broadcasting was complete. The 1960s saw the introduction of inexpensive, portable radios. With this, radio took over as the most pervasive medium on the planet. Today, over 5 billion people across the world listen to the radio regularly.

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

While 70% of radio listening still happened on FM channels until late 2018, digital streaming is today’s thing.

According to a report published by the Recording Industry Association of America, there is a growing demand for content on digital streaming channels like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and more. In fact, 75% of the Association’s earnings in 2018 came from online streaming. Not just this, there is also a growing demand for conventional radio shows to be streamed online.

So, what does this mean for marketers? Well, it means that radio still plays a vital role in today’s entertainment industry, and you should include radio advertising in your marketing campaigns if you wish to attract and engage customers.

5 important elements every radio ad should have

So, now that you know why to invest in radio ads, let’s look at some must-include elements to have in your ad:

Distinctive branding

Every marketing message — irrespective of medium — should possess the distinctive brand identity your brand is known for.

Excellent scriptwriting

Your radio ad is only as impactful as the message it gives. This is where scriptwriting becomes important. Writing a commercial voice over script isn’t easy. It requires expertise and product knowledge. Choose a company that is renowned for creating scripts for radio ad voice acting projects.

Great voice actors

Voice acting uplifts the radio message by giving it soul and making it memorable. Your radio ad should use experienced voice actors who can bring credibility to the message, while also bringing their creativity to the table.

A hook

The hook refers to that attention-grabbing, hard-hitting first statement of your radio ad, which compels listeners to listen to your message. Every radio ad must have a hook, as this is the only way to set your ad apart from countless others.

An irresistible offer

Finally, a radio ad is incomplete without an offer that the audience just can’t turn down. This offer could be in the form of benefits/features or discounts/prizes. Make this section the meat of your radio ad for the best results. Call-to-actions rule!

cup of coffee with a mobile phone and EarPods
Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

Five types of radio ads you should commission today

Now, let’s look at the different types of radio ad formats you can use for your campaigns:

Jingle ad

Jingles make for very recallable radio advertisements. They’re fun, they can be hummed, and they are very impactful. But, if you’re planning on writing a commercial voice over script for a jingle, invest in a good scriptwriter as the wordings can make or break your ad.


One often hears “This show was sponsored by….” That’s a sponsorship ad. These types of ads are great when placed with prime time radio shows or during hours that have the highest listenership. Here, you won’t need to develop ad copy yourself, but you will have to pay for the ad placement.

Straight read ad

These ads are the audio version of text ads that you see on website banners or in newspapers. These ads are read by voice actors, and the delivery determines how effective the ad will be.

Customer testimonial

Customer testimonial ads are those where an actual customer narrates an anecdote that involves using your product/service. But most times, companies can’t have customers record the ad themselves; instead, you can use voice actors to do it for you.

Live reads

All of the above ads we’ve talked about are pre-recorded ads. But a live read is an ad that the presenter reads live while broadcasting. These ads are very impactful as they are ‘endorsed’ by the presenter. The more popular the presenter, the higher the effectiveness of the ad.

How to produce the most compelling radio ad

Determine the focus of your radio ad

An advertisement is effective only when it is focused on a particular target audience. Understand who your audience is and what their listening habits are. This will help you determine the type of messaging, ad format, and ad air time to choose.

Get your team to brainstorm script

man and woman brainstorming a script

Once you know who you’re creating the ad for, it’s time to sit down and brainstorm ideas for the script and delivery. Consider both original ideas or new-age versions of old radio ads your company may have used before.

Write the script

The script of your radio ad determines the fate of your ad. When writing, include a hook that cannot be ignored. Next, when drafting the core message of the ad, consider the nature of the offering. If it’s a technology product, use a logical appeal. But, if its an insurance product or a holiday service, use emotional appeal.

The script for your ad should address one question – “How will listeners benefit from the product/service?

Hire voice actors and record your ad

Voice overs are just as important as the script. In fact, even more so, because you can only hear the message on the radio and not read it. You’ll find the best of the best voice actors on Voice123 — and many will be able to produce an master a perfect radio ad for you.

Purchase airtime and schedule your radio ad

Finally, purchase airtime on the channel of your choice (both traditional radio channels and streaming platforms are equally good). Prime times on radio usually are between 6 AM and 10 AM in the morning and 7 PM and 11 PM in the night. 

Have fun!


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