Timing

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When you REGISTER FREE and become a member at Spot Gravity, you’ll most likely see that a lot of the copy pieces are numbered. Well, there’s a bit of logic behind all of this.

Most radio ads are either 60, 30, 15 or 5 seconds in length. Given that fact, you can approximate how long your spot is by numbering the lines you write.

First open up a program like Microsoft Word and select a standard font – something like Arial or Times New Roman. Set your font size to 10. Next click on the numbering featured (near the bullet points area). Turn your CAPS on and we are ready to roll.

Use the following table to calculate how much text you can include:

Commercial Length:

Max Number of Lines:

60-seconds

15-16

30-seconds

7-8

15-seconds

3-4

5-seconds

1-2

Things to remember:

  • WRITE OUT ALL NUMBERS. For example, don’t type 100; type, ONE-HUNDRED. The reason is simple – pronouncing numbers take time. If you use digits when writing, you may fool yourself into thinking there’s more time
  • REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR. Don’t forget that breathing and natural pauses in syntax must be accounted for. So try not to cram too much copy into an ad
  • USE A STOPWATCH. Always time things out with a good old fashioned watch. Read at a normal pace. This will let you know whether you’re close.

Structure

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Great copy is not about cramming a ton of words into one ad. It’s all about grabbing the attention of your audience, delivering a message while holding their interest and giving them something to remember once the spot is over. There are several building blocks that will help you accomplish this.

Billboard: The most vital piece of your copy. It’s the very first few lines your audience will hear. It’s important to grab their attention and substantiate why they should hang around to hear what’s next. Your billboard should not drone on; make it 5-seconds or less.

Product/Biz Name: If you’re attempting to drive consumers to a business or product, be sure that the name is prominently featured. For 60-second ads, strive for 4-6 mentions. For 30-second ads, include 2-4 repetitions.

The Offer: All offers should be presented in a clear, attractive manner. Stay away from “laundry lists” and focus 1 or 2 key things that will get the audience to respond. Always keep in mind that the strength of an offer will be determined by the customer, not the business. Therefore, stay away from self-promotion and focus on things such as value, savings and quality.

USP: Everyone in town will most likely say that they’re #1 (in customer service, sales and etc.). If you jump in with the same rhetoric, you’ll be just another talking head. Hence, you’ve got to figure out a way to leverage the unique aspects of your business. This is your unique selling proposition – an angle on business that nobody has. Be sure that you feature your USP and you’ll be posed to stand out.

Call To Action: After I hear your ad what should I do? Whatever that thing is will be defined as the call to action. It may be stopping in at a location, going to a website, calling a phone number and so on. As you figure out what you want your audience to do, be sure that you don’t offer too many options. In fact, it’s advised that you only give one and repeat, repeat, repeat! For example, if your ad ends with a phone number, site it several times. Don’t introduce other contacts; you’ll just overwhelm everyone.

As you seek to construct your own pieces of copy, be mindful that all of these building blocks are need for virtually every ad you write.

Focus your writing

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We’ve always maintained that copywriting is part art – part science. While there are many things that one can do to achieve this balance, we believe it is important to step back and focus before writing. Start by answering these simple questions:  

  • This piece will be designed to do what?
  • What is my demo (demographic group/target audience)?
  • What matters to my audience?
  • Will you be penning things YOU want to say or things THEY want to hear?
  • What will make my message stand out from competing ads?

Your message can end up being incredibly creative or it could wind up being quite bland – neither matters if you are not moving your audience in your direction.

In the world of copywriting, results will always have the final say – focus on that as you write.