The following article is excerpted from my good friend and talented radio voice and commercial producer Jeffrey Hedquist's monthly Radio Hed Lines newsletter. In writing and performing radio commercials, Jeffrey is adamant that you have to tell stories. Here's what he says:
People love stories. Best-selling books, top movies, the best radio commercials are great stories. Like a play, your commercial should have conflict, tension and resolution. Each character in a radio commercial, even if it's a simple one voice spot, should go through a transition, show some development.
One character might change from a skeptic into a believer (at least partially). Another might start out frustrated and become fulfilled by the end of the commercial. If all your characters change as they would in a play, you'll sustain your audience's interest.
More than the voices, sound effects, music and technological tools available, your ability to tell stories is the greatest skill you have. An interesting story will involve your listener's imagination, and the story becomes more their own, because they've participated in its creation.
Then, instead of trying to sell reluctant customers, you're simply building marketing elements into a story that your audience is helping create. Magic? You bet, and it all happens around the individual electronic campfires we call radios.
Jeffrey Hedquist creates short stories for the radio at Hedquist Productions, P.O. Box 1475, Fairfield IA 52556; 641-472-6708; Fax 641-472-6708. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more story resources, visit his web site at http://www.hedquist.com.