Public service announcements (PSAs) have always provided great opportunities for ad agencies to flex their creative muscles and give back to the community. Developing good creative is usually the part that comes easy. Making an impact with a Public Service Announcement from a media standpoint is not quite so simple. To make this work, you need to get the media outlets on your team.
Of course, the price is right. Public Service Announcement media space is provided at no cost to nonprofit organizations, which is wonderful and all that. But, PSA media is very limited and the competition for these slots is quite intense. So how do you get your PSA in front of your community? Here are eight tips that will help:
1. Don’t depend entirely on free
If the cause is important, why not put some money behind it? Federal dollars are available for research and marketing of many health-related issues. You just have to build your case. For instance, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation (DFWHC) obtained federal funding through a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contract provided funding to study the spread of C-diff in the North Texas area. As part of this funding, DFWHC Foundation availed themselves of the services of our branding agency and had money left over for paid media.
2. Remember, its your cause, not theirs
Hate to be the one to tell you this, but the media didn’t wake up this morning all interested in your cause. They are only interested in how your cause relates to their audience. Our agency launched the DFWHC Foundation C-diff awareness campaign in a period where the local and national news was focused on Ebola in Texas, not C-diff. We were also in the run up to the mid-term elections. Media was extra pricey and even our paid media could easily be bumped. Still, we were able to make this powerful message stand out in the local media.
3. Have your issue down cold
Prepare a succinct elevator pitch for the media outlet. Ours was short and sweet: C-diff kills 20,000 Americans every year. One out of five North Texans may be a carrier for this infection. To halt the spread of C-diff, everybody needs to wash their hands with soap. Over and out.
4. Make it snappy
Schedule your appointment with the media rep and try to hold the length to 15 or 20 minutes total.
5. Know who to talk to
Generally, the media contact at television stations is the community affairs, public affairs or public service director. At radio stations the decision-makers are more diffused, and the title may be program director, news director or perhaps even general manager. At print outlets you should contact the advertising director, production manager or perhaps editor and/or general manager at a smaller newspaper. If your campaign includes outdoor advertising, the general manager or posting supervisor is the person to contact.
6. Show your creative
If you have already filmed your TV PSA, play it on your iPad. If you have sample print ads, show them. Good work will get people’s attention.
7. Show your gratitude
A hand-written note can go a long way. Have the nonprofit’s CEO send a thank you letter to the media outlet’s general manager. Maybe present them with a plaque.
8. Stretch your reach
Utilize social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to keep your cause in front of your community.
If you truly believe in this cause of yours, then take the time to launch the PSA campaign right. You will be glad you did.
Agency Creative has a commitment to giving our time and talent to worthy causes. Need help with your organization? Contact us today toll-free at 866.642.7559.