How to Write a Radio Ad: 10 Tips for a Great Radio Script


We may no longer be living in the Golden Age of Radio, but that doesn’t mean radio can’t be an effective advertising medium today.

In fact, a whopping 93% of American adults listen to radio every week which is higher than their mobile device and television usage. This means radio advertising can still be a great way to reach your target audience.

The key to a successful radio advertising campaign is writing a great script. Every second must count when you have one minute or less to get your message across.

Here’s how to write a radio ad that engages and converts using these ten tips.

1. Know Your Audience

Radio stations tend to attract different demographics. Besides choosing appropriate ones to reach your intended audience, you also need to use the right messaging.

Millennials, for example, are not going to respond to a tone aimed at Baby Boomers. You need to understand your audience’s likes and dislikes and avoid talking to them in a way that could insult them or by using words that aren’t part of their everyday conversation.

Do your research on the demographic you wish to reach before you begin writing your radio script.

2. Create a Strong Hook

You need to get your listeners at “hello”, and that means writing a strong opening. This is perhaps the toughest portion to write because you want to draw them in and keep them listening to your message.

There’s no magic formula for this; you may open the ad with an announcer asking your listeners a question, two people having a conversation, music, or something else. But whatever you come up with, it needs to be engaging enough to pique interest.

3. Keep it Simple

Your radio ad needs to get to the point quickly. You don’t have the time to tell a really long story—and your listeners would lose interest anyway, especially if they’re waiting for the channel to get back to the music or show. So keep your script simple so the audience knows right away what you’re selling.

A good logical formula to follow when writing a radio script is creating a strong opening followed by your product’s top benefits and why they need it. Then close your script with a call to action.

4. Empathize With Your Audience

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. See if you can understand their problem or frustration and how your product or service can help. Then make it clear in your script that you understand their problem and how you can solve it.

You may want to amplify their pain a bit during the ad by reminding them that their problem won’t go away on its own. Then tell them what you’re selling can do for them.

5. Use a Jingle or Music

You can probably think of a half dozen advertising jingles off the top of your head, so considering using one yourself in your radio ad. Radio relies solely on audio to make an impact, and a bit of catchy music sets your brand apart and makes it easier for your listeners to remember what you’re selling.

You can also include sound effects and voice actors to create a story and add further interest. You want your listeners to form mental images from your message, so make the most of sound. 

6. Stay Away From Tech Speak

Avoid using big, complicated words in your radio ad even if you’re promoting a product or service that’s on the technical side. Think of how you would explain to a friend what your product or service is all about. If your audience doesn’t understand what your product delivers, they’re not going to buy it.

One approach to get around this is to focus on how the product or service will make your audience feel versus giving an in-depth description of its benefits.

7. Hire the Right Voice Actor

Your narrator’s voice should be appropriate for your messaging. A deep, booming male voice won’t be a good choice for selling personal feminine products (unless you’re doing so with humor or they’re playing a part in the script.) Hire the right commercial voice over actor who strikes the tone you’re going for.

8. Be Original

How many radio ads can you recall on any given day? For many listeners, all radio ads tend to sound the same, especially when they’re focused on driving.

If possible, try to make yours stand out a bit. This may include using humor, music, sound effects, and other elements if appropriate.

Instead of hiring one voice actor, consider hiring two who can have a conversation back and forth about your product or service to make it more interesting.

9. Trim Words and Rewrite

As we’ve said, every word needs to count when writing a great radio ad script. Be prepared to pare it down and make every sentence concise and impactful.

After writing your script, you’ll want to read it out loud and make sure it fits the allotted length of the radio spot. Nine times out of ten on your first draft, it won’t. If a sentence can be reworded with fewer words and still get the message across, edit it.

10. Wrap up With a Strong Call to Action

You want your listeners to take action after hearing your advertisement. Make it easy for them by providing clear information at the end, whether it’s a phone number to call or a website address to visit.

Have a special or limited time offer or discount? Make that part of your call to action as well.

It doesn’t hurt to repeat your jingle and have it sing your number or website—as mentioned, music makes it easier to recall information. Or make sure the number or website is simple so they’ll remember it.

Learn How to Write a Radio Ad That Sells

Now that you know how to write a radio ad that sells, remember that writing an engaging script takes time. Don’t expect to have a winner on your hands after the first try.

Check out our Brand Promotion section for tips on other marketing channels you can use to sell your product or service.