“Listeners make a decision to give their attention to your station in the first three seconds of your comments….or a commercial. We call this the remote control effect, similar to what TV viewers do when surfing channels. For radio, if the air talent fails to connect in the first few seconds, the result is often “tune-out” (Note: this is now proven from ratings data using meters for both radio/Arbitron, and TV/Nielsen). Even if listeners keep listening, they may turn their attention to other things and allow their radio to become background “noise.” There is a good chance their attention may drift to another device or a conversation. Great radio personalities engage their listeners from the first few words and give them a reason to keep paying attention. Well-crafted promotional announcements and commercials do the same thing. Lead with a strong benefit or a good hook. Get buy-in, and pay off on anything you promise. Attention spans are shorter now than ever before. Today there are multiple stations and competitive media, and so many choices. Imagine you’re on TV and the listener has the remote control aimed at the screen. That’s the best reason to edit into the finest content. If it sounds like lesser material or filler, leave it out.”
In today’s multi-media world, people are bombarded with tens of thousands of messages every single day on radio, TV, smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texts, Pinterest, Tumbler, print and so many more! How can you make sure your message is heard in the middle of all that clutter?
As John Lund said above, your commercial message must include ”a strong benefit or a good hook.” But what exactly does that mean?
It mostly comes down to features and benefits. For a mortgage company, advertising a 3.25% interest rate for a 30 year mortgage would be a “feature”. However, all the consumer cares about is that the 3.25% interest rate will save them $750 a month. So, the $750 in savings is the “benefit” and THAT is what gets the attention of your potential customers. NOT features!!
When thinking about benefits, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Why will they care? A benefit answers questions like:
- Will it save me money?
- Will it save me time?
- Will it make me healthier or help out a loved one?
- Will it make me look better?
- Will it improve my love life or get me a date?
- Will it make me smarter?
- Will it give me social currency? (Information I can share with friends and colleagues).
- Will it get my kids to behave and do their homework?
Separate from benefits, often a good “hook” will grab attention as well. A great example of a good hook is a radio commercial that airs on Washington DC radio stations. The commercial begins with the announcer saying, “Meteors are hurtling towards earth!” Well that sure got your attention, didn’t it? That’s a hook - it grabs attention right away. This statement happens to be factually correct, but don’t worry, none of these meteors are expected to ruin your weekend plans.
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