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By: Dick Taylor, CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
The words you use can make all the difference in the outcome of whatever you’re trying to do. Visual mediums can get lazy with wordcraft, thinking the visuals will carry the message. Radio can’t.
Colleges teach two kinds of writing: creative and journalistic. One is made of whimsy and the other is fact-based. Effective radio ads are written to persuade. Few do.
In my sales class we spend time exploring how to write messages that cause the listener to see themselves doing what it is we want them to do. People must first envision something in their mind before they will ever actually do it.
Walt Disney said: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
So you’d think that when my students produce their radio ads in their sales presentation during finals week they would be filled with persuasive wizardry. They’re not. They’re filled with all of the tired old clichés that comprise most radio ads. Why, because they’ve been brainwashed with them without even realizing it. Even though they have no impact, rating a big zero on the persuasive scale, they are still filling their brains.
Clichés Have No Father
While we’ve all heard them – like “plenty of free parking,” “committed to excellence,” “fast friendly service,” “these prices won’t last long,” “in business since 19–,” – and know them, we have long stopped connecting them to anyone or any business. They are in a sense orphan phrases that fill-up an advertisement but don’t deliver the goods. And they usually are what cause an advertiser to say “radio doesn’t work.”
You don’t listen to clichés and neither will anyone else. Stop using them.
George Johns is a famous programming consultant and he puts it this way:
“He who controls the language controls the budget.
We don’t Bing or Yahoo things we Google them.”
Google means search. It’s why the parent company re-branded itself from Google to Alphabet.
What’s Your Point?
Whether you’re selling advertising for your radio station(s) or you’re writing radio copy for one of your clients, you should distill your message into a single compelling sentence.
The last presidential election had two candidates. One candidate made a consistent, compelling point and the other had a “basket of deplorables.”
Long after people have forgotten all the dry details of the race, they will never forget those red ball caps and that single compelling sentence.
It’s a New Year and time to stop using worn-out words and tired old clichés. To quote the great advertising man David Ogilvy:
“You cannot bore someone into buying your product.”
Reprinted by permission.
Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.