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Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing a Commercial

When you’re writing the narrative for an advertisement, story is the most important aspect when trying to keep the attention of your audience. While there are many more points to consider when constructing your story, these four questions will guide you in the right direction:

1. What is the central question of the story AND when do you pose this to your audience?
In advertising this can simply mean ‘what are you trying to sell to your audience’, when do you let the audience know that, and then what configuration will benefit your advertisement most? Do you introduce the product immediately, or is there a bait-and-switch, or is it a surprise? One size does not fit all when writing advertising so it is important to consider who your audience is and what will sell your product best.

2. How is the audience being entertained?
In this day and age, when advertising is more avoidable than ever before, it is important to provide an incentive to keep your audience present. Why should they watch your advertisement? By providing them entertainment, they are getting something right away for their time regardless of if they buy into what you are actually promoting. Be it something funny, or added value to the product, or nostalgia, or good music, any reason to keep your audience present will only enhance your ad.

3. Why is this story important now?
Hopefully whatever product or service you are writing your story for is relevant in the current marketplace anyway, but how do you frame that product/service within a story that is of the time, and how do you convey why the audience needs this now? Without being overly specific, having historical context or reflecting current events keeps the ad topical which can also be a form of entertainment that grabs the audience’s attention.

4. Why do you care about it?
While this question may not be clearly expressed through your ad, it is still important to believe enough in your story that you can defend it. When developing the best marketing strategy, it is important to have multiple options and then be able to see the best solution, so knowing why you believe in your strategy will help ultimately sell the idea best to the client. It’s not always easy to know what the difference between the “best option” and the “right option” is, but caring about your idea can help inform that decision.

There are many other considerations to have when writing a narrative, but having answers to these 4 key questions can quickly and effectively start you down the right path when you start the process.