Writing Radio Ads with an Emotional Hook
by Maria Wojciechowski
Whether you’re fishing for the big one or trying to compose a hit song, you’re going to need a strong hook. And the same is true for writing compelling creative copy.
As mentioned in our post “How to Write a Bad Radio Ad,” copywriters and advertisers don’t have much time to grab the attention of their audience. When it comes to radio advertising, for example, your creative copy is competing for the listener’s attention — who is likely driving a car or doing chores. These potential distractions mean your opening line — or hook — has to be memorable, or listeners will tune your message out.
So, what makes a good hook? Most professional copywriters will tell you that a good hook is an emotional hook. For new writers or business owners who are writing their own copy, the term “emotional hook” can be confusing. When many of us hear the word “emotional,” we think tears and melodrama — but unless you’re writing Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA voice-overs, depressing potential customers is usually not the way to go.
There are many ways to appeal to your audience’s emotions. Below are just a few examples.
- Validation. This is a conversational style of copywriting where the copy addresses the audience like they’re a personal friend who is validating the audience’s feelings and needs.
Let’s say you are writing a radio ad for a pizzeria. An example of a validating hook could be: “If you’re like me, every now and then you need a break from cooking for the family. After all, even the greatest chefs get a night off!”
This hook relates to the audience on a personal level and normalizes the experience of needing a break by comparing the listeners to “the greatest chefs.” The copy validates the listeners’ needs and easily segues into a solution to their problem: A trip to the pizzeria!
- FOMO: As any millennial on Instagram can tell you, the fear of missing out is a powerful emotion. Eliciting FOMO from your audience can be achieved by either highlighting the product’s exclusivity (“Get it now while supplies last!”) OR its inclusivity (“Everyone knows that when hunger strikes, the best place to go is…”). While these may seem like opposite approaches, they both evoke the sense that ‘all the cool kids’ are doing it, and the listener should, too.
- Hype: This type of emotional hook builds your audience up. It makes listeners feel great about the choices they make as consumers in their day to day lives.
EXAMPLE: “You work hard to provide delicious meals for your family every day, and pizza night isn’t any different!”
- Humor: The most attention-grabbing emotional hook is arguably a funny one. Laughter can disarm your audience, allowing your message to sink in. Whether you choose to use wordplay, misdirection, or silly imagery, humorous copy can create a lasting impression.
An example of wordplay: “This may sound cheesy, but pizza night can’t be topped when you go to…”
Example of misdirection:
“Person 1: I lovez ya.
Person 2: Aw, I lovez ya too.
Person 1: Oh, sorry. I said, “Za,” like “piz-za.”
Person 2: Oh.
Person 1: Here, try a bite.
Person 2: Oh!
Done properly, the right hook will emotionally resonate with your audience — leaving them more inclined to try your product or service. Your hook helps convey WHY your audience needs something, not just HOW they can use it.
If you’re having trouble coming up with creative copy for your business, remember that copywriting is a skill that takes practice. In the meantime, try Write Label. Write Label provides customers creative content, on-demand!