A co-worker gave me a copy of this book (I think as a joke – I hope) and for someone in radio – honestly it was not worth the cover price they paid for it. Review rating (if I ever gave one) would be 2 STARS!
I know now that the co-worker was trying to be funny, and I get that… but this book is one of the many things that truly get my goat and get me very angry, especially books that claim to cover everything about copywriting.
The thing is that they never, EVER, consider commercial radio copywriting. Okay, very, very rarely do they consider our industry – and I want to know why?
A search through the entire book uncovers the word ‘radio’ 3 times: 2 other times, in the same table talking about media types and benefits.
And once in the summary of one of the chapters where it isn’t even mentioning writing a commercial, but press or news releases… “This means that if you are quick, you can have your comment on the morning’s big story in the journalist’s inbox before he arrives at work. This speed of response benefits both you, as the promoter, and the paper, for it enables printed media to, in some ways, keep up with more spontaneous media such as radio.” ARGH!!!!
Okay, I am going to take a breathe, and a moment to consider – maybe this book has some good ideas in it still, even if not directly related to radio copywriting.
Okay, now back to the business at hand…
I know that the author Robert Ashton has written some very good books (20 so far), some of which I own and can highly recommend (‘Sales for Non Sales People’ is very good, as is ‘Life At 50 for Men’).
But (if I must) back to the book – it sets out to teach you the basics built around a week, starting on Sunday through to a Saturday – and while it is obvious that this book is targeted at someone who does not work in the industry as it seems to be more based on creating copy content and press releases than copywriting for commercial purposes. The fact is that he gives this much away on page 5 of the book with “effective business writing captures attention, arouses interest and prompts action.”
So he is actually not writing advertising or copywriting, but writing copy for business promotional purposes.
As it says on the cover: SUNDAY: Work out what you want to say. MONDAY: Put yourself in your readers shoes. TUESDAY: Learn the art of letter writing. WEDNESDAY: Understand Advertising. THURSDAY: Become a popular press commentator. FRIDAY: Discover why most promotional print says too much. SATURDAY: Explore some other ways to work with words.
Look, I will be honest – I got so angry reading this that I didn’t make it past chapter 2, and skim read the rest of the book looking for anything that would redeem it in my eyes – but I found nothing that couldn’t be written down in a couple of pages for a radio copywriter to consume and possibly use.
I mean, apart from the basics that every copywriter that has existed knows to focus on your end results, know your intended audience, and have a call to action.
In fact the best part of the book (and the part that I did find myself reading) was the FACT CHECK questions at the end of every chapter – some of which where spot on and where great questions to ask yourself when writing. This is why in my fictional star rating it is 2 stars not 1!
Look, I honestly can’t recommend this book for a radio copywriter to read and skill themselves up in – but if you have never, ever written a press release or web copy – then this might help you.
This brings me to my final whinge: Why is it that there is so few books for people in the radio industry to help to upskill themselves and write copy? This is one of the major reasons why I started this website and started to put up these posts. But maybe this is just my own narrow view of the industry and books available to us. If you have some recommendations or know of some books that may be of some use to everyone else – then please let me know in the comments below – cheers.