It’s fascinating having an ad-supported podcast. I’ve developed a good sense for what does and doesn’t work in audio, and for how people respond to the spoken word. Every word counts. Word order counts. Phrasing counts. And looking over some of the scripts that would-be advertisers have proposed suggests some of the copy-writers would benefit from knowing how human beings process spoken information. With audio, work less and you’ll get a bigger result.

Brevity—not length—is what’s important! People only remember the last 5-10 seconds, so a 30 second ad is useless unless it provides actual value to keep people listening. Some ads try to tell a multi-minute story or just try to jam as many features into the ad as the dialog can handle. Listeners want benefit to them; they’ll fast-forward, otherwise. Start with your benefit to the listener and make your ad short. People will be willing to listen, and they’ll get the message.

Your last few words are key. If people only remember the last few seconds, then whatever you want them to remember belongs at the end of your very last sentence. End on your call to action. Phrase it so your very last word is the URL you want people to visit. In a podcast, people listen on the run, so you need to make it easy for them to remember that one thing when they get back to their desk. If you say your URL and then keep talking, your next sentence will knock the URL out of your listener’s short-term memory!

Simple, simple, simple. People don’t remember multiple points. We want people to remember our ten key features, or our three requests. They won’t. One message is all you can do in a spoken ad.

Short. Repeat. End on action. Short. Repeat. End on action. Short. Repeat. And end on action.

How to Write an Audio Ad

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