Good Radio Is Good Writing

If you want a lesson in good writing, just listen to well-produced radio programs such as those on NPR. I listen to NPR as a news source but also for background music that doesn’t clash with my writing efforts as I work in my home office.

In thinking about what makes radio stories such a good illustration of solid writing that can apply to B2B copywriting, PR writing, or journalism, I came up with the following attributes.

Get to the point. Radio stories are usually short in duration—even on NPR—so they must immediately establish the story’s focus.

Clarity. I just read an email from a B2B marketer on the subject of clarity. Clarity reigns. It’s the basis of all successful communication. Good radio excels because it’s clear.

Simple words. This is especially true in radio. Listen closely and you’ll notice simple language. No fancy adjectives or crazy verbs. Radio words are easy to comprehend quickly.

Quotes. A well-selected and well-placed quote adds color to a radio story or other form of communication. Bland quotes, however, add no value and can actually detract from the core message.

Here’s a story NPR did last year on the Bank of Floyd, the hometown bank in my little town. It’s an interview format:

Amid Financial Turmoil, Small Banks Thrive

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‘Think Like a Publisher, Not a Marketer’

There’s a good post at MarketingProf’s Daily Fix entitled “Social Media and the Seven Marketing Blind Spots,” authored by Mark Ivey.

“Seven Marketing Blind Spots” (nice title) caught my eye. And Mark’s sixth blind spot – not creating “social” content – stood out for me. He explains that way too much Web content is corporate speak and “brochure-ware.” That’s so true. I plead guilty.

Let’s face it, we all want something. But we’re not going to get what we want by slapping any old thing on the Web. The folks we want to attract are looking for great information. I repeat, GREAT.

“Forget your message a few minutes and focus on your customers,” Mark writes. “Define your audience before you begin and understand what content they find interesting.”

Yes. It sounds simple, but so many things can get in the way.

So, whether you’re a publisher, marketer, or both (I’m both), your job is to provide useful information to your audiences. In other words, information that’s closely aligned to their interests, needs, wants and more.

A takeaway? As Mark writes, “Think like a publisher, not a marketer.”