When I am writing a promo script… I always remember the old maxim drummed into my by a Program Director… “Keep it short, sharp to the point. No Waffle. More actuality from prize winners and most importantly it must have that one thing…”
What they meant in their long winded way of saying it was…
- Keep the promo short, under X seconds (X being your standard commercial length or fixed promo length).
- Keep it to the point… what is the prize, when can win it?
- How you can win it can be left off, if it is a cue to call – but all other times you need to say it.
- Include reactions from previous winners (not the same one used all of the time)
- Include the Sponsors Name!
- That one thing!
That ‘one thing’ by the way is the hardest thing to include – it is the feel, the genre of your station, the taste and texture of what you hear on air, and identifies your sonic branding with the promotion.
Why is it so hard to nail down?
Because not only do you need to check off your list of inclusions, but it needs to be in the style of your station, with sonic branding included, eg: tag lines, slogans, crew/show names if it is only happening in one show and call signs or station name.
That’s a lot to unpack in any script – but it can be done… there is a secret.
The secret is… have a style guide.
That is – have a written and agreed to format that all promos will stick to. And it needs to include only 5 things, such as:
- Station voice to use to record the promo.
- Maximum length/duration.
- The ‘EXACT’ slogan or names to be used.
- Your call sign/station name in agreed format.
- Style of music bed or effects to be used.
Now you have those you can start to write your script – making note of those things on each script and using the Promotion Breakdown to simplify your message to sell the promotion to the listening public.
To give you an example, I once received a Promo Breakdown which was 2 pages long – way… WAY too complex to put into our standard 30 second promo format.
After putting in the essentials from our style guide, I had less than 22 seconds to fit in the promo concept… which was an overly complex ‘do this’ then ‘do that’ to register online, then we will call your name out on-air and you have X amount of time to call back… so I simplified it down to:
“See our website for details, if you can qualify to enter, register your details and listen to SHOW NAME to win BIG PRIZE DETAILS HERE, <GRAB OF PREVIOUS WINNERS x2>, when we call with PROMO/SPONSORS NAME on SHOW NAME with HOSTS on STATION NAME”
As you can see from this – even that script is too long, over the years our style guide was simplified and made the usual 8 second ‘must includes’ into a 5 second version… giving us more time to sell the promotion and the station.
The point is, know your promo ‘must includes’ by having a style guide already set up to follow – you can then spend your time concentrating on writing the best promo you can that covers all of the must haves.
Making sure that the sponsor is happy, the talent is happy and the details are covered to get listeners to enter your promotion.
Our style guide is attached to my wall, and my promo scripts already have them written in there ready to roll for when the next Promo Breakdown hits my in-tray – and it saves me a lot of work, and a lot of time.