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Sales Tip - If You Build It (Right), They Will Listen

Lots of commercials catch the listener's attention with an interesting story up front, and then lose it with all the selling or marketing information that follows. So your listener's been enticed to pay attention, but you haven't rewarded them for staying for the whole commercial.

An improvement on that scenario is to place the marketing material somewhere inside the commercial in the "donut hole." That way the entertainment value at least "wraps around" the marketing, so that the conclusion of the story, the punch line, the surprise occurs at the end, giving the listener something to stay tuned for.

The ideal commercial integrates the entertainment and the marketing throughout the commercial so that you couldn't remove the marketing information or the entertainment portions and have it still work. Each element is dependent upon the other. Each amplifies the other.

A good test to see whether you've developed something that combines both elements, and also creates a story that is truly unique for that advertiser is to substitute another advertiser's name for the one in your commercial. If the commercial still "works" with the new advertiser's name, you might want to rethink what you've written, because in some way you've created a spot that is so generic that it advertises a category instead of an advertiser.

A commercial should be a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end with the entertainment and marketing dependent upon each other. If listeners are entertained while being sold, they'll stay for the entire commercial, not just the first time, but every time they hear it.

Source: Veteran radio consultant and creative copywriter Jeffrey Hedquist (www.hedquist.com)