Column: Tell - Don't Show Your Story with Long Form Radio

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If your successful television infomercials have not worked on radio, here are a few points you may have overlooked. They may sound like simple suggestions, but they are proven musts for long form radio success that we've learned from years of experience.

The key point to remember is that radio is not TV. On radio, you can't show beautiful people demonstrating the benefits of your product. On radio, you must paint clear pictures of how your product changes lives -- without the use of pictures. On radio, you must capture the imagination of your audience with words, not images.

In short, on radio you cannot show, you can only tell. This might sound like a disadvantage, but in fact it can be a powerful advantage.

Why? With sharp writing and experienced voice talent, a properly produced radio message can penetrate minds and potentially stir listeners' imaginations more than TV visuals. Getting listeners to identify internally with your product benefits will make your message stronger, more realistic and more memorable than watching actors demonstrate your product.

To be successful, long form radio must be tailored to meet the interests, needs and hopes of your audience. Radio listeners seek information dispensed by believable, friendly voices, not by hard sell. They are more likely to respond to your call to action if your message is presented as valuable, helpful information given by a show's host or guest speaker. A believable conversation between an engaging host and a knowledgeable expert, plus a few real user testimonials, will build the reality that is crucial to infomercial success.

Beyond focused scripting and straightforward delivery, in order to gain maximum response to your message be sure to select stations and programs with formats and audience demographics that match your product. Unlike TV viewers who flip through channels, radio listeners tend to stay with a station that provides them with programming that speaks to their particular interests.

Finally, to increase your chances of success, work with people who know long form radio; who know how to build a profitable infomercial from an already successful TV campaign; who can translate your TV infomercial into an effective radio format that penetrates your listeners' imagination. And, most importantly, use experienced radio professionals who know how to develop a media buying strategy that meets your particular needs, goals and budget.

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