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Editor's note: This article and video are the first in a series that lays out some best-practices not only for radio in a digital age but also for marketing and advertising generally. Many of the principles that the author points to can just as appropriately be applied to email or social media marketing—or, for that matter, direct mail and TV commercials.

With the marketing world still dazzled by social media, it seems odd to cast a spotlight on something as old and dusty as radio.

What's really odd, though, is that marketers would choose to largely ignore it. Some 93% of US adults listen to radio every week, and 71% listen every day. Radio, in short, offers marketers a direct, emotional route into the consciousness of millions of people.

So why is radio treated like the redheaded stepchild of advertising and marketing? Because very few people really understand radio, and those who don't are the ones who continue to write and produce it.

As an advertising medium, radio baffles creative directors, puzzles account people, and frustrates copywriters. The blank slate of radio tempts clients to force-feed listeners with every fact about their business they can cram into 30 or 60 seconds. And copywriters end up having to go along because there seem to be no rules. The occasional great radio spot is a jewel in a field of thorns. Put simply, radio advertising is marketing's most misunderstood, misused medium.

So how do we change this? How do we delight the millions of people who are consuming radio every minute of every day? We need some new rules—some guidelines to help us use radio more effectively.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share with you what I've learned in 40 years of producing radio advertising. I've distilled successful radio advertising principles into five key rules. Use those rules when creating radio advertising and you'll engage your audience in ways (and numbers) that social media can't begin to touch.

There's unbelievable potential here... Let's get started!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Walker is owner of Soundscapes, creative audio for broadcast and emerging media. Contact him by phone at 501-661-1765 or via the Soundscapes website