I had an interesting conversation recently with someone regarding their frustration in getting a 30 second radio commercial produced. The frustration came from the fact that the voice didn’t really match the business appropriately. That happens sometimes.

But as the radio commercial buyer, you’re not powerless. Ask for a “spec” – basically a test run of your commercial before it goes to air. The stations I work with do a lot of “spec-ing” – it’s a good thing to do, because it really demonstrates whether or not the commercial has a chance of working for your business. Listen to the spec carefully if you get one done… Will it resonate with your customer base? Not just the copy but the voice too. If not, then try to define clearly in your mind how you’d like it to sound.  Here are other questions to ask yourself and arm yourself to speak intelligently with the radio or TV station about your commercial purchase:

  • What, besides the copy, will make it stand apart from the rest?
  • Will it cut through the clutter?
  • Should it be voiced by a male, a female, a child, an elderly person?
  • Do you want someone specific voicing the spot?

Now having said that, be cautious. Some radio personalities cost “extra” – or you have to sign an exclusive agreement with them. Or you may want an out of market voice – which will also cost extra. You need to decide what’s important here – ask for what you really want. Radio stations (and TV stations) want your business and they would like to have your repeat business.

No matter what, it’s your money and it’s your business reputation on the line, I mean…on the air.