Recently I was working with someone who wanted to improve their promo scripts.
I took them through the process that I use, walking through an idea that I have stolen from the “Save The Cat” by Blake Snyder book, and added in my own twist on Blake’s process.
I thought I would share it with you today. It’s not hard and basically breaks down to a 5 sentence process…
- Write down your must haves for the script; That includes your station id/slogan/frequency/call signs, whatever you would normally put at the end of the promo – put that in first.
- Next at the top of your script put in your hook, or description of what the promotion is about. If this is a pre-promote promotion script – if so you need to say something along the lines of “starting next week”. If it is a script that is to run during the promotion, you may need some more details – after the promotion, you need the basics and lots of grabs of the winners and activity.
- The second line should have in it the name of the promotion (if you haven’t put it in the first line) and then something that makes people want to pay attention, usually I put what prize is up for grabs. You want to focus in on the emotion of the prize win if you can, will it change their life? Make their summer a cooler one? Give them a meal out? Whatever it is you want to appeal to the emotional win here.
- The third line is your ‘save the cat’ line – what is it that has to be done in order to win the promotion. Sounds simple – but if your promotion is complex you need to boil that down to the simplest message you can make it. Is it a ‘cue to call’ a ‘enter online’, whatever it is you need to tell people about it here. PLUS: When the competition is running (eg: just in DRIVE?)
- The fourth line is for your sponsors, who you need to thank, and any other detail that may be required, eg: tees and cees (se website for details), etc. It’s unfortunate but some states and countries rely on a LOT of disclaimer details – whatever you need to do legally do it – don’t forget it.
So now your script has: a hook start for the first line, a second line positioning when, where, and what is the prize and also the name of the promotion, your third line is your ‘what do I need to do’ to win, the fourth is the sponsors, and the final is your identification.
I then use the editing ideas and skills learnt from “Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence” is by Lane Shefter Bishop to narrow down the details and include only the bare basics in the promotion.
What will get peoples attention, the basics of what they need to know (especially in a pre-promote script) and then allow space for your producer to add in effects, grabs and suitable music beds.
The process usually takes about 10 minutes for me to put down the bare essentials, then the real hard work begins when editing everything down to a usable promo script that will get peoples attention. Sometimes I do get stumped, other times it appears to be so, so simple.
Take your time in the final stages, then work through it again and again, massaging the script to be a balance between what will get attention, and what makes listeners want to know more.
Check your word count on the script – is it too short? too long? Cut and edit to suit the time you have. If you know how long any grabs are going to be – make sure you include them in your script.
You want the script to be simple, yet convey the message, to tick all of the legal requirements, and also make people want to know more. You want it to hit the target audience and make them want to participate.
That final aspect is THE most important thing – there is nothing more disappointing hearing a promotion run on a station that makes me think – so what?
Drill down on these 5 points when you first start writing your promotion script – and you’ll have more success on-air and for the sponsors.