1) It’s Targetable Podcasts give advertisers the luxury of nailing down their target audience. Podcasters have the freedom to talk about any topic. From “new moms”, “wine and good food”, “health hacks”, “fancy cars” to “wilderness survival tactics”, you can find a plethora of podcasts that will reach your perfect customer.
2) Podcasts Provide a Word of Mouth Platform When a listener’s favorite host reads the commercial, it’s just like a friend telling them to try your product. Listeners trust the host and value their opinion. Also, many podcasters will provide added value and include your product on their website or mention you in their trusted blogs.
3) Time Podcasters typically are not restricted by time and when segments need to start and end. They can be as long or short as it takes. Because of this, you can get improved and nontime restricted content.
4) Podcast Listeners don’t Skip your Ads Podcast followers are less likely to skip your ad because they are loyal and attentive to the show. Ads are typically read in the beginning, middle and sometimes end of the show. Listeners want to hear the show and often the ads are integrated in such a way that they sound like they are part of the content.
5) The “Untouchables” are Listening Those 18-34 cord cutters and ad blockers are listening to podcasts now more than ever. The research shows that they actually listen to the ad, too.
6) You can Better Measure your ROI The most popular way to track success are through unique checkout codes, vanity URL’s offered in the ad or a drop-down menu with a selection of sources from which they “heard the ad”. While not flawless, they offer a few easy ways to gauge how your podcasts are performing on each specific show.
7) Your Commercial is Evergreen Most podcasts embed your commercial in their podcasts and it will be heard anytime a listener downloads the specific show you were in. Some loyal listeners listen each week to their show, but many download and save the show to listen in the future. Listeners continue to hear your commercial weeks, months and even years after your paid run. That can mean free impressions and increased results long after your schedule has ended.
8) Over 80% of Listeners can Recall your Brand
Midroll did a recall study and found that listeners:
* 80% could recall at least one advertiser in each episode
* 67% could recall a specific offer or promo
* 51% were more likely to buy the featured brand in the show
9) You can Easily Test Different Offers Because hosts record their shows typically on a weekly basis, you can change your offer as needed each week. It’s a great platform to test new offerings and new promotions without “production” costs, if the hosts are reading your commercial in the show.
If you are ready to include podcasts in your plan this year, here’s what you should consider:
* You should plan on testing with at least $10k a month.
* Be prepared to pay cpm’s of $15 to $20 per commercial.
* You need to be open to testing different podcasts that reach your target audience.
* We suggest giving each show a minimum of 4 weeks.
* Be ready to send out your product to the host so they can try it and get familiar with it before they read your spot.
* Some hosts will be more effective at endorsing your product than others.
Bottom line, podcasts are working and brands like Audible and Blue Apron are just a few of the advertisers who have jumped on board and are realizing the great potential of podcasts. Isn’t it time that you got into the mix?
Our seasoned team at Media Partners Worldwide can help you get started.
Reach out to us at 800-579-3031 or email me at [email protected].
Because the power of radio relies so heavily on the quality of the copy, it is in your best interest to find a writer who recognizes this medium and understands how to target your specific audience.
Here are some tips for writing ads that will work and generate sales.
1. When Hiring a Writer
The best writers are those with broadcast experience. Radio relies on skill and salesmanship so you need someone who has an understanding of direct response marketing. You also need to be willing to spend some money, as good writers aren’t cheap.
When hiring a writer, remember to let them write. Good writers will listen to you, but they will also do what is necessary to create the best ad to sell your product. Don’t get in their way and take over the project. Let them do what you hired them for.
Most radio spots are broken up into 30 second or 60 second segments. 60 seconds gives you twice the amount of time to get listeners attention. 30 seconds are usually good for well known products or a simply offer. We typically advocate for a 60 second commercial, as you need to mention the phone number or call to action, such as go to your website, at least three times. A 30 second advertisement is usually too short to include everything you need.
3. Call Now!
Since the main focus of direct response advertisement is to make the phone ring with inquiries, everything in the spot should prompt the listener to pick up the phone and call. Offer free consultations, free information or limited time offers to instill a sense of urgency in the customer. You want them to ACT NOW.
4. Selling Comes First
When you only have 60 seconds to work with, every single second counts. Get the listeners attention, make an offer and generate a response. That is your objective. A good way to test if your ad is concise enough, remove the product from the copy. If you still have a complete concept, then your ad isn’t selling. The product, website, offer, phone number or selling idea should make up the entire spot.
5. Know Your Audience
This is key in any form of advertising. With radio, you have two options: Talk Radio and Music Radio.
With Talk Radio, your audience is ready to listen. Catching the listeners attention or blending into the surrounding talk are two ways to infiltrate talk radio. You want to encourage further listening.
With music radio, your ad will be an interruption. Your spot must peak the listeners interest before they can change the station.
6. Choose a Creative Format
There isn’t a set way to write a radio ad, however, here are a few creative formats that have been proven to work and get your listeners calling.
Straight Announcer- With a clear, straightforward copy and a strong, direct voice, nothing could be simpler for your ad. The announcer should speak as if addressing one single person. Asking questions such as “Have you ever…?” or “Wouldn’t you like…?” helps create a personal connection with the listener and makes the ad feel less like a lecture. With the right voice, this effortless approach can pull listeners in quickly.
Dialog – A typical example of this type of format, involves two people conversing with one another. One person is excited about a product or service and wants to share this information with the other person, who knows nothing about it. That person asks questions, while the other relays the information, thus divulging your product or services main information. If you have voices that match your demographic, speaking in a believable way, then this ad will come across as a testimony or referral, which is great for business.
Person on the Street– Asking real people what they think of your product is a great attention grabber. Get the person you are talking to on the street to describe how the product worked in their own words, or how it benefited them. Ask if they would recommended this product to others. Listeners will hear real people giving their true opinions and this will act as a testimony to your product. You can take this one step further by having the person on the street address the audience directly. Add in a celebrity endorsement or an experts opinion works great as well.
Vignette– This creative format, starts off with a short life scene exhibiting a problem. Then it cuts to the announcer who will describe your product as the solution. Time permitting, the life scene will continue, this time to show how your product has made their life easier. Make sure to return to the announcer to end the spot with a call to action and your 800 number.
7. Establish name identification early and often
Give the name of your company, service or product early in the spot. Since you only have 60 seconds, you want to establish everything your listener needs to know about your business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Repeat this information at least three times throughout the ad.
8. Use a memorable or relevant 800 number
Most radio isn’t interactive, like podcasts and apps like Pandora where you can click to call or purchase right from your phone. Most listeners are in the car or at work when they hear your ad. Therefore, they need to be able to remember your phone number if a phone isn’t within their reach. A special 800 number relevant to your product, is very helpful.
9. Call to Action
Answer the question that listeners might have: “What do you want me to do right now?” Of course, you want them to call! Don’t be subtle about it either. For example, the announcer could say, “For a free brochure on how to get rid of extra weight fast, call 1-800-LOSE-FAT.”
10. Limited Time Offers
People respond well to limited time offers. It provokes a sense of urgency and urges a call to action. People don’t like to miss out on good deals. Establishing a deadline forces an immediate response.
I hope you found these tips for writing radio advertisements helpful! For more information, call us at 800-579-3031.]]>
As part of this rah-rah, decennial pep rally for podcasting, I’ve been assigned to ponder the grim future of terrestrial radio. You know—AM/FM. That stuff your parents used to tune in with the old-fashioned knobs on their cars’ dashboards. Antiquated call letters. Staticky Eagles songs. Brontosaurish broadcast towers rusting away on forgotten hillsides.
“Can radio even survive?” asked my editor, gazing dreamily into the middle distance. “No one listens to it anymore. What will become of those radio airwaves now that podcasts have taken over the world?”
His concern is sweet. But terrestrial radio doesn’t need his pity. At least not yet. According to Pew’s State of the Media report from earlier this year, in 2013 a full 91 percent of Americans 12 and up listened to traditional radio at least once per week. That number is barely changed from 2012, or for that matter from 2002. America still tunes in.
Yes, I know, you and your buddies are deeply into Serial, you haven’t listened to FM in years, corporate radio sucks. But people like you do not reflect the actual state of the marketplace. And frankly, Jeff Smulyan is getting mighty sick of your podcast triumphalism.
As founder and CEO of Emmis Communications, Smulyan owns an armada of radio stations—including behemoths like Power 106 in Los Angeles and Hot 97 in New York. When I ask him whether terrestrial broadcast outlets like his can survive amid the podcast renaissance, he scoffs at the question’s premise. “Terrestrial radio’s biggest problem right now is it has no cachet,” says Smulyan. “Podcasts only eat about a less than 1 percent chunk of my business. Internet radio streaming is 7 percent of the American radio industry, if that. Things are beginning to fragment, make no mistake. But we still made more money before lunch today than Pandora has made in its entire history.”
“We still made more money before lunch today than Pandora has made in its entire history.” Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Communications
Radio continues to be a useful, profitable technology. Consider: For $39,000 in annual electricity costs, Power 106’s broadcast tower can reach 15 million people in Southern California. There are no incremental charges involved—when an additional person tunes in, it doesn’t cost the station a dime. Not so on the Web. Each time you click a streaming radio channel, or download a podcast, it’s as though you’re making a collect call. Somebody’s paying to send all those data packets your way. The more people tune into a streaming broadcast, the more the broadcaster must spend on servers and bandwidth. According to Smulyan, if the roughly 3 million people who actually tune in to Power 106 on the radio each week (out of the 15 million the station’s broadcast tower can potentially reach) all suddenly switched to listening over cellular networks, it would cost him about $1 million annually to send out the data, and would cost them more than $1 million to receive it. (Whether they noticed these costs, or their cellular provider ate them, would depend on the nature of their cellular plans.)
Even if Smulyan paid to send out all those data packets, they’d still fail to reach a lot of people. Many rural communities don’t receive reliable broadband. Some people can’t afford the broadband that’s available to them. Not everyone owns a smartphone (though if you do, Smulyan wants you to know that it already has an FM chip inside it, which wireless carriers only need to activate for you to listen to over-the-air signals). Older people, and the less tech-savvy, sometimes have trouble figuring out how to find and listen to podcasts. Or how to connect their phones to their car speakers. For these folks, terrestrial radio remains a terrific option. It’s already installed in their cars. And if they want to listen at home, they can buy a Sony AM/FM receiver for about 12 bucks, operate it with ease, and enjoy the river of content that flows out of it for nothing more than the cost of a pair of AA batteries.
To be sure, terrestrial radio still faces profound, looming problems. For one thing, the industry as a whole is crippled by debt. In the wake of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, radio ownership groups were newly permitted to buy multiple stations in the same market, and the cap was lifted on the total number of stations they could own nationwide. This set off a wave of acquisition and consolidation. Huge firms like Clear Channel (now known as iHeartMedia) gobbled up every frequency in sight, borrowing money to afford suddenly booming station prices as everybody else went on buying sprees, too. Those investments turned out to be folly, particularly after the advertising market crashed during the Great Recession of the late aughts. iHeartMedia remains smothered in debt—$20.7 billion of it, as of September. Other radio ownership groups are in similar straits.
All that consolidation had further consequences, as well, as companies paying to service their debt trimmed costs by cutting regional flavor out of their station portfolios. Local DJs were canned, local staffs were downsized, and local programming was ditched in favor of prerecorded, homogenous, national fare from the mother ship. “When you think of the podcasts that are making an impact, ones like Serial and WTF,” says Paul Riismandel, a veteran radio broadcaster and the co-founder of RadioSurvivor.com, “those are very host-driven and talent-driven. Marc Maron makes WTF great. Sarah Koenig and the This American Life team make Serialgreat. When you think about commercial terrestrial radio, where’s the talent? They haven’t invested in the same way. The only breakout radio star of the last 10 years is Sean Hannity, and he wasn’t new.” These days, big-time commercial radio connects with very few passionate listeners beyond the realms of conservative political talk and sports gabbing.
Public radio is a different story. How comfortable is NPR with the Internet? In 2010 it declared that its Rdoesn’t even stand forradioanymore. It foresaw early on that its audience would steadily move online, and it made its peace with that.. It kept on nurturing in-house talent and creating shows—such as Planet Money and Radiolab—that were unique and that translated well to the podcast format.
NPR is proof of concept for commercial radio companies: It has bred a culture in which terrestrial stations are still relevant, but the Internet is welcomed as an opportunity and not feared as a threat. Some initiatives from traditional radio companies (like iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio) have begun to feed terrestrial radio content into online apps. The problem is, the traditional radio outlets aren’t producing any content worth listening to—no matter how you listen to it.
The reality is that the Internet will win out, sooner or later. There’s no stopping it. Though the audience for audio has been growing overall, nearly all that growth is happening online. For good reason: Online you can fire up your favorite podcasts whenever you please—instead of tuning in and hoping against hope that something you’ll like is on. There’s much wider variety to be found on the Web, with thousands of niche programming choices—instead of a mere 30 stations on your FM dial. From the point of view of a person recording a podcast in her garage, it’s a breeze for her to distribute audio content over the Internet, with little in the way of startup costs. Like, for instance, she needn’t erect an enormous radio tower.
Of course, that garage podcaster will suddenly be smacked with huge data costs if her show becomes a hit. For this and other reasons, radio engineer and activist Pete Tridish predicts that terrestrial radio will always have a useful role to play. Tridish got involved with small-scale radio operations out of frustration with the consolidation that happened after that 1996 telecommunications deregulation. He helps engineer over-the-air operations for rural communities, groups of farmworkers, and such, sometimes placing small broadcast towers on the tops of buildings. When I spoke to him, he was about to help establish a station for a Navajo college in Arizona. “Just because we have word processing now doesn’t mean there’s no place for the pencil,” he says, “and just because we have the Internet doesn’t mean there’s no place for radio.”
He suggests a few reasons why terrestrial radio will stick around for a long time:
Most of us don’t feel the cost of the data we’re using when we stream online content. But this could be changing. “Half the public still has no idea whatdata metering is,” says Smulyan, “but we find it changes consumption completely when people see what they’re paying for the data they use.”
Due to some complex legislation, it can be less onerous to pay artist royalties when you play music over the airwaves than when you send it over the Internet. For this reason, last yearPandora bought an FM station in South Dakota, in an effort to qualify as a terrestrial broadcaster.
When the revolution comes, radio will be vital for the propagation of seditious content. It leaves no digital footprints. And the NSA is unlikely to hack into your transistor boom box and track what you listen to.
When the zombie apocalypse arrives, radio will save your hide. Anyone with a generator and an antenna can broadcast radio, and everyone listening hears the same key information in real time.
In 2010, NPR’s then-CEO Vivian Schiller prophesied: “Radio towers are going away within 10 years.” Four years later, that pronouncement is looking awfully silly. Radio towers haven’t gone anywhere, as that previously mentioned 91 percent of Americans could tell you. Radio companies still haul in billions of dollars in revenue. Even as terrestrial radio is overshadowed by podcasts and streams, it will continue to hold a place in our media landscape.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the Eagles just came on. Need to nudge the antenna a bit to get out the crackle. Ah, radio—you give me such a peaceful, easy feeling.