Question Your Questions

May 22, 2017


There are reasons why, when I lecture at Radio Training Institute, I teach students to avoid using questions at the start of their radio commercials.


Every time you start with a question, you run the risk of losing your audience.


Are you looking for a new car?


Imagine that's the start of a commercial. If you're one of *however many* (a small number) actually looking for a new car, you might be intrigued. But I have a car, I've had it for 5 years and don't see myself being in the market for one for some time.


When I hear that question and say 'no,' I'm going to tune out and you've lost me.


You've lost the woman who lives in the city and doesn't need a car to get to work.


You've lost everyone who isn't looking for a car at that moment.


Turn your question into a statement and you won't give your audience a chance to say 'no', therefore they're less likely to tune out immediately. 


So far I've been speaking from a radio advertising point of view. In the digital world, if you give someone the chance to skim, they will. If they say 'no' to a question that's supposed to engage them, you've lost them. It's the same principle. 


Do your best to avoid starting with questions. You can get away with using rhetorical questions - they can get you thinking and you can't disagree.


Like with all guidelines, if breaking them improves your product, break them!



I've worked in radio advertising for a decade. Some of that work is here. You can learn to do what I do at RTI, or if you'd like me to work with you, contact me with any freelance opportunities.


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I've got plenty to share. If you'd like me to touch on something, send a request via the contact page!