Repeating repetition repeatedly isn’t necessarily a bad thing

repetition of question mark

Many people have a strong aversion to repetition. It isn’t that they can’t tolerate others repeating a message; it’s that they don’t want to risk echoing their previous efforts when developing their marketing communications materials. The concern about repetition crops up most often in planning for ongoing marketing programs, such as social media or customer … Read more

The most natural-sounding videos are carefully scripted

shooting videos

If you’re shooting a video and want comments from company officials, customers, and other stakeholders to sound completely natural, make sure you script them before they say a word. Think it’s counterintuitive that the best way to make the people in your videos sound unrehearsed is to put words in their mouths and have them … Read more

On-hold scripts: write for the ear to be clear

on-hold scripts need conversation

In the hundreds of hours I’ve devoted to waiting on hold for people, I’ve listened to many messages that are nothing short of torturous. I’m not talking about reminders that I’m being kept on hold because my business is incredibly important – the problem usually shows up in the sales messages that pop up every … Read more


The vast majority of people listen to radio to be entertained, informed, or a combination of the two. If you have to write promotional or public-service copy that will be broadcast, it’s important to keep those points in mind.

It’s also important to remember that radio doesn’t have a rewind button. In fact, that’s more important than most people who create radio announcements realize. With a print ad, a website, or a brochure, it’s easy for the reader to scroll back, glance back, or turn to a previous page if he or she misses a key piece of information. That can’t happen with a radio commercial.

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Nearly everyone likes humor. We enjoy telling jokes, and we enjoy hearing them. So it comes as no surprise that companies try to spice up their advertising by using humor.

They reason that humor will catch the reader’s eye or listener’s ear, and make them more amenable to the sales message that will soon follow. Unfortunately, more often than not, those attempts at humor backfire.

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Before starting my own business, I worked for five different ad agencies. As part of my job at each, I had occasion to write a variety of scripts — for everything from radio commercials to TV spots to presentations and training videos. Each of those agencies expected scripts to be set up a certain way, and most presented that way as “the industry standard that everyone uses.”

Yep, you guessed it. All five formats were very different.

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There are several little things you can do to make your radio commercials more effective. First off, it pays to catch the listener’s attention right away, and there are two sure-fire ways to do that. One is to start the spot with some sort of loud sound – whether it’s an odd sound effect or an opening note of music.

Another way that’s particularly effective in a dialogue spot is to have one of the actors use someone’s first name. That signals the ears that a conversation is about to follow, and whether or not we admit it, we all like to eavesdrop.

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