28th October 2013

How To Write A Great Radio Ad

Creating a great radio ad script is not the same as creating a press ad or TV commercial. You’re writing for the ears, not the eyes. You’ve got to get your listener’s attention and hold it throughout the length of the spot. If you don’t, they can’t go back and hear it again. Radio doesn’t come with a rewind button. And you’ve got to do it all without visuals.

But that doesn’t mean your radio spot can’t paint a picture. In fact radio is theatre of the mind. Done well it can paint a picture, evoke an emotion and most importantly motivate and lead to an action. So how do you do it right? Here are our top tips for how to write a radio ad.

Be single minded

Focus is the key to good radio. If you’ve got a laundry list of features in your radio spot, you’ve already lost your listener. Remember, they’re probably driving their car, or stuck in a jam and their attention is elsewhere. Now is not the time to throw half a dozen ideas at them and hope they remember some. Instead focus on a single-minded message. Keep it simple. One big idea delivered well is easier to remember than 6 different ones. If you do have multiple messages to communicate then explore doing separate commercials for each message. That way each message has a chance to connect with listeners and be remembered.


Ever wonder why some of the best comedians started out in radio? Radio is the perfect medium for humour, and there’s nothing like humour to make something memorable. So if you can use an element of humour in your spot, use it.

Use sound effects.

Radio is theatre of the mind. In press or TV you can show images. In radio, you show them with sound. Special sound effects can make your radio spot memorable and paint a picture in your listeners’ mind. The sound of waves for instance can instantly transport your listener to the beach. While a great music track can get them up and running.

End with a call to action

If you want your listeners to respond to your commercial (who doesn’t?) make it easy for them to do so. Present them with one simple method of response. If foot traffic is what you want, focus on your location. If you want people to find out more, specify your web address. If it’s phone enquiries you seek, give them a simple number to remember. Be aware though that most people will probably be driving and won’t have a pen handy. By keeping your call to action to a minimum you’ll maximize the chance of response.

And there you have it. Our top tips on how to write an advertisement for radio. Now go find a quiet place, something to write with, and get writing.

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