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Radio commercial scripts guide

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Radio commercial scripts need to be tight, focused, and attention-grabbing. Find out how to create these scripts and get inspired.

Radio commercial scripts guide

Even though we’re in the dot-com era, radio advertising is still an effective way of influencing an audience. According to Pew Research Center, 83% of Americans tune into a terrestrial radio station at least once per week, creating a huge audience for radio ads.

But you need to create a good radio commercial script to take advantage of that audience. Catchy jingles and quality voice overs can only take you so far. These tips help you get to copywriting right so your audio ads appeal to potential customers.

How to write a great radio commercial script

Scriptwriting is a complicated process, especially writing a radio promo where you may only have a few seconds to convey your message. These tips help you to create a radio commercial script that keeps the listener’s attention and doesn’t go too long.

Tip 1 - Identify your target audience

Every effective radio ad begins with the scriptwriter understanding who’s listening. What does that person look like? What are their problems, needs, and desires?

To answer these questions, create a persona for your ideal buyer. Then, write your radio spot as though you’re speaking to that person.

Tip 2 - Start with a hook

Just like the bait on the end of a fishing line attracts the fish, so does the hook at the start of your radio ad grab a listener’s attention.

For instance, you may have an announcer read an interesting fact or pose a question that gets the listener’s mind churning. Even a silly sound effect can grab attention, creating a lead for the ad itself.

Tip 3 - Work from a script template

If you’re new to radio ads, you may find that formatting the script is an issue. You don’t have visuals to rely on, and your voice actor needs to know exactly what you want them to say and, crucially, how you want them to say it.

Script templates resolve these issues by giving you the formatting, allowing you to focus on the copy.

Tip 4 - Evoke mental images

As mentioned, you don’t have visuals to evoke imagery with a radio ad. Instead, you’re relying on the words you share to conjure the visualization.

There are several ways to do this:

  • Create a short story that transports the listener to the problem scenario before presenting your product as the solution.
  • Share testimonials or case studies as social proof for your product.
  • Create a conversational script in which two people emulate a conversation the listener may have in real life.

Social media can be a great inspiration for evoking emotion, as many businesses and influencers use clever narrative devices to keep their audience’s attention.

Tip 5 - Find the right voice

Just as a great voice actor can do little with a bad script, so does a great script require the right voice.

You could work with voice over or advertising agencies to find a good voice actor for your radio ad. However, you can also access services like Speechify Voice Over Studio, which provides access to hundreds of AI-generated human-sounding voices.

Tip 6 - Craft a call to action (CTA)

What do you want your listener to do after they hear your ad?

Whatever your answer to that question, that is your CTA. If you want the listener to call, give them a phone number or share a website URL so the listener can learn more about you online. Crucially, the listener must receive the next step to follow to make your ad effective.

Get inspired with some of the best radio commercials

It always helps to check out some radio advertising examples that may inspire you in your own scriptwriting. Here are two great ads that grab attention.

McDonald’s - The “Driver” ad

Curiosity is such a powerful force in radio advertising. With its “Driver,” McDonald’s starts with a driver narrating her own driving to the listener. Eventually, you discover that this narration leads her to a McDonald’s drive-in, where she orders a bacon roll.

From there, the ad promotes the roll, but it’s that initial narration that hooks the listener. It’s weird to hear somebody explaining how to drive to themselves, with that weirdness grabbing attention.

Disney+ - The “Trailer Game”

With this radio commercial, Disney advertises its Disney+ service by encouraging the reader to play a game. The ad plays the sounds of various movie trailers, with the challenge being to guess the film that matches the trailer.

Audience participation is the key to this ad’s success. The listener gets wrapped up in the guessing game, leaving them in a prime position to hear the CTA, which tells them they can watch all of the films in the ad for just $5.99 monthly.

Give your radio commercials the perfect voice with Speechify Voice Over Studio

You have to strike a balance with radio commercials. The script needs to be tight, especially if you have a short segment, and the voice acting must be on point and clear.

Voice acting is a struggle for many, as it’s hard to find the right voice for an ad. That’s where Speechify Voice Over Studio comes in. Based on Speechify’s text to speech technology, Speechify Voice Over Studio offers audio recordings of your ad copy in minutes.

You can choose between hundreds of voices and dozens of languages, with full control over pitch, speed, and inflections. Try Speechify Voice Over for free today.


What should a 30-second radio ad say?

A 30-second radio ad should contain a hook to grab the reader’s attention, ad copy that delivers your offer, and an effective CTA.

What are the three types of radio ad scripts?

There are far more than three types of radio ad campaigns. Still, three of the most popular include live reads by the show’s host, testimonial ads involving real customers, and produced spots requiring voice talent.

How do you write a 15-second radio ad?

Being concise is the key to a 15-second ad. The best ads keep the word count down, delivering an offer and a call to action in a limited time.

How do you write a radio ad for a school?

When dealing with specific demographics, such as the parents of schoolchildren, your ad needs to appeal to logic and emotions. A successful radio ad for schools will focus on results and the student's experience at the school.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.