guidelines for writing radio commercials
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Guidelines for Writing Radio Commercials

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Guidelines for Writing Radio Commercials. 1. At the top right corner of the page, type your name, the client’s name, and the length of the spot (e.g., :30).

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1. At the top right corner of the page, type your name, the client’s name, and the length of the spot (e.g., :30).

2. Practice your spot out loud (including sound effects and music). It should time out to about 3 seconds short of its official length. (A :30 second spot should time out to about :27 seconds.)

3. Anything not spoken as part of the commercial is typed in all capital letters. This includes speakers’ names. Describe the tone of voice or personality of the speaker when it’s distinctive.
4. Sound effects are indicated as SFX and underlined. Music can be included as a sound effect. Indicate the number of seconds required for all sound effects and music.

Be realistic about the sound effects you specify. They must be instantly recognizable to the listener.

5. Be sure to describe (in caps so it’s not read out loud) the sound effects and music so a producer will know what they’re supposed to sound like.

6. Type abbreviations of elements and names of speakers along the left margin. After the last letter of the longest name or abbreviation, tab over 5 spaces and begin typing dialog and descriptions.

7. Repeat the product name at least 3 times during the spot. Use a tagline like you would in a print ad to help position the brand.
8. Remember that it takes, on average, about one second to read aloud 16 typed characters.

Straight (one voice, no SFX or music) commercials can be delivered at the rate of about 160 to 170 words per minute. But it’s best to limit 60-second commercials to no more than 153 words and 30-second spots to no more than 75.

Sound effects and music reduce the number of words you can include.

9. Capture the listener’s attention quickly. If you haven’t "hooked" him/her in the first 3 to 5 seconds, you never will.

10. Use short sentences and simple writing. Avoid using numbers such as phone numbers or street addresses.