Creating Great Radio Ads Can Be an Advantage to Regional Companies

Knowing how to craft them is the hard work

For regional and mid-market companies, radio advertising can be instrumental in helping your company gain a competitive advantage, especially over national brands. Radio advertising is an economical & effective way to reach an audience but creating a great radio ad isn’t always easy. Advertisers need a clear understanding of what motivates and influences decisions for their target audience. In our twenty-five years, A3 media has done buying and ad development for nearly 250 companies and we’ve learned a few things that work well for radio.


One thing our team repeatedly sees happen is the heavy impact a minor change can make on radio spot.  Small changes can have a resounding affect. Like a well-rehearsed orchestra, the copy, music and sound effects must all play their parts properly. Don’t pitch them, talk to them. An ad, whether it’s radio or another media form needs to follow the same guidelines. Talk to them, be honest and let them know why your product is good for them.  

Precise articulation is what great radio ads are made of. Using direct language and messaging instead of clichés or generalities is what makes a great spot stand out from an average one. Don’t over promise. You need to speak locally and to the point. Without being blatant, make the listener believe you are a neighbor.

The KISS technique

At most, a radio spot is sixty seconds. That is a small window to grab a distracted listener’s attention. Driving a message that is simple and clear will stop listeners from becoming overwhelmed with too much information. Brevity is your friend. If you can tell your story in thirty seconds instead of sixty, it’s even better. One good point, made poignantly, will prove successful. If you have multiple messages create multiple spots. Radio spots are relatively inexpensive to produce and airing a variety of spots prevents burn out. Don’t crowd to much information into one spot. You’ll clutter the consumer’s thought process.

Create visuals with sound

Radio’s biggest challenge is relying solely on sound to drive a message home. Other media platforms can deliver brand messaging through visuals, but radio does not have that luxury. Relying on one sensory can however, be advantageous with the right kind of ad. The ability to tap into a listener’s imagination can be a powerful storytelling tool. Use a commercial as if you were writing a book. Let the sound and the message allow the consumer to use their imagination.

Narrow your audience

The best radio ads flow from an authentic connection between consumers and products. A common mistake is diluting a brand’s message in attempt to cover a broad audience. Advertisers often cast the widest net possible to avoid offending or excluding audience segments. The result is all too often bland ad copy that speaks to no one. Authenticity raises the bar of integrity and makes a brand credible. Don’t try to be all things to all people, you’ll end up being nothing to everyone. Zero in on a narrow population pool and produce creative that resonates and is relatable to that audience.

The offer

Radio spots that have a call to action can be challenging. DR advertising must inspire engagement from listeners and are typically campaigns enacted across TV or video platforms. Writing a promo code, website or phone number down while listening to the radio can inhibit a campaigns’ success. On the upside, if done properly, tracking the deliverables and results are much easier in these campaigns. It can be advantageous to see what moved your listeners to act and allows campaign optimization on the fly.

Strategy tips

  • Make the ad convincing. Give it a “wow” factor.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Creative messaging should answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” How will a product or service impact people’s lives in a way that will make life better, happier, or easier? Good strategies solve a problem quickly, safely, more effectively than the competition.
  • Jingles still work well for radio.

Whether you are interested in generating leads, increasing sales or just a bump in web site traffic, radio advertising when blended properly into your media mix, is a smart choice for regional, mid-market brands.