Creating a TV Commercial 101: What you Need to Know to Get Started

Jerry Hyland

Jerry Hyland About The Author

Mar 26, 2021 10:34:00 AM

Creating a TV Commercial 101- What you Need to Know to Get Started

TV advertising remains among the best medium for promoting your business and is one of the most popular platforms to reach your audience. It also has among the highest return, with as much as 300-500% ROI for TV commercials. Well-produced commercials that effectively advertise your brand and offerings dramatically boost sales, but you first need to know the fundamentals of creating a TV commercial.

Learn how to develop the perfect commercial for your business

Have you wondered how to produce a top-quality commercial that's as affordable as it is effective? Here's what to know as you approach the commercial planning process.

Your Subject

Before creating a TV commercial, you need to select a specific subject to focus on. If you have a clear idea of what topic you want your ad to cover, you'll have an equally clear direction for your ad creative.

Some of the many subjects you could cover in your commercial could include:

  • An introduction to your brand and what it's all about
  • New products or services
  • A new physical location
  • Causes you support
  • Local events you'll be hosting or co-hosting

Regardless of which subject you choose, make sure it's the most relevant for your business and the specific goals you want to achieve with it.

The Call-to-Action

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 10.22.31 AMAlongside your commercial’s focus, you need to develop a clear call-to-action that encourages people to complete the desired action. There are many types of CTAs you could include in your commercial, depending on your goals.

Some possible CTAs could include:

  • Encouraging people to call your business with a phone number
  • Getting people to visit your website through an address to your homepage
  • Driving more foot traffic to your physical location

What You Want to Say

Once you've chosen both your subject and call-to-action, you can start writing your script and figure out how to convey your message. As you begin the writing process, consider the length. Ideally, make your commercial no longer than 30 seconds to hold your audience's attention while getting the message across.

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 10.33.18 AM

However, you might be curious to know how to write the script, in which case there are several best practices to consider. For instance:

  • Commercial scripts typically consist of two columns—the left column lists the ad's visuals, while the right column details the dialogue or narration.
  • Read the script aloud to help ensure the timing of your visuals syncs with the dialogue.
  • Avoid any inconsistencies in tone or language that could detract from your messaging or creative.
  • Try to keep your commercials concise and straightforward without overloading them with content.

Who Will Be in Your Commercial

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 10.25.37 AMAfter writing your script, you're ready to get your resources together to produce it. The first step here is to find the talent needed for your commercials. Depending on your goals and whether your commercial features a fictional narrative, you may want to feature staff and customers or instead hire actors to star. Some commercials may only require a voiceover narrator. Voice actors may be needed if a commercial is animated.

You should also consider whether you want to produce your commercials on your own or with outside help. Creating the commercial entirely yourself may save you some money, but sacrificing quality could cost you a lower ROI. Hiring a media partner allows you to leverage their experience. They will have access to better talent and equipment and may be able to help you find professional actors for your commercials.

Your Shot List

Before you film your TV commercial, you should know exactly how you want to shoot it. To do this, develop a comprehensive shot list to keep yourself organized. This step helps ensure that everything is ready to go on the day of the shoot, avoiding any potential surprises during the production process.

Some questions you may want to ask as you plan the shot list may include:

  • Where will you shoot the commercial? On location or on a set? 
  • How many shots do you need to take?
  • Is it a good idea to film B-roll footage from different angles for editing options?

If you take the time to plan your schedule in-depth, you'll be able to save more time and keep the production process smooth. It’s a beneficial step, especially if you're working on a strict schedule with a tight deadline.

Effective Planning Can Help You Get the Most from Your Commercials

Taking all of these aspects into consideration as you plan your commercial can keep the process simple and convenient from start to finish. However, it can be overwhelming for a small business with less experience in commercial production. If you need assistance at any point when planning your next commercial, consider hiring professionals who can help make sure you get everything required for the perfect commercial.

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