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How to write a radio spot for healthcare

July 16, 2015
Advertising, Radio

Part 1: How to write a radio spot for healthcare that gets completely ignored.


Start with a blank page.


At the top of the page, write the amount of time you’ll be filling. Usually you’ll have 60 seconds of airtime to fill, but sometimes you’ll have 30 or even 15 seconds.


Write as many words as you can squeeze into your allotted time. Quickly mention every possible reason the listener could find your brand of value. After all, if you don’t tell them, they’ll never know!


Leave just enough time to say the name of your hospital again at the end, and to rattle off a phone number and web address so everyone listening in the car, holding a pencil, can contact you immediately.

Congratulations! You’ve just written a radio spot guaranteed to get zero results in today’s thick-with-marketing environment.

Now that you’ve written one that will be ignored, maybe consider writing one that won’t? 

Part 2: How to write a radio spot for healthcare that gets results.


Ignore the blank page in front of you. Ignore the amount of time you have for your radio spot. Ignore the list of things you believe are mandatory to mention in your spot. None of that matters to your average listener, so it shouldn’t matter to you either.


Focus on one typical person among your target group. You already know their age, their gender, how much money they make, who they are, what they believe about life, what they think about your hospital and what they think of your competitors. Picture that person in your mind.


Have you ever remembered more than one idea from a radio spot? Probably not. Neither has anyone you’re trying to reach. So instead of obscuring the one idea your targets will remember, focus on the ONE thing you want them to know. And discuss NOTHING other than that one thing in your radio spot. If you feel the need to discuss multiple aspects or offers, you will need to develop one new spot for each one.

Or even better, make sure your targets only hear your one most important thought every time they hear from you.


Dramatize! How are you going to deliver your message? Are you going to just tell the listener what you want them to know? (Hint: no, that’s boring and will be ignored.) Or are you going to prove it to them by using drama, humor, music or basic logic to make your point?


Write until you’re excited to show the world what you’ve come up with. You won’t hit it on your first try. So keep writing. You’ll know when you arrive at your destination. The awesomeness will be impossible to avoid.


Edit your copy with a big, bloody axe, not with a scalpel. You will take out every word you can, but it’s best to start by removing entire paragraphs. Keep cutting until you can read an entire 60-second spot – slowly and out loud – in less than 53 seconds. Those extra seven seconds will give your talent vital extra time to get in some acting. 

Congratulations! You’ve just written a really good radio spot. A rewarding life as an award-winning copywriter can’t be too far behind. 

Jeff Goldman

Jeff Goldman is an Associate Creative Director at Brown Parker & DeMarinis with a 20-year track record of success covering most aspects of business communications, driving sales and consistently winning an array of coveted industry awards for clients as diverse as healthcare providers, tech properties and leading beer brands. He has worked all over North America as a writer, a creative director and as a principle in his own marketing agency for brands such as AOL, Exxon Chemical, Goodyear, Jiffy Lube, KFC, LexisNexis, Microsoft, Miller Lite, Northern Arizona Healthcare, the Seton Healthcare Family, Southwest Airlines, Taco Bell, the Walt Disney Company and many more.

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