When the goal is spreading your message far and wide, one of the most effective means is through a well-produced public service announcement or PSA. You’ve probably seen PSAs on TV that tell you that drugs are bad or to wear your seatbelt or how to protect yourself during an earthquake, and it’s likely that you learned a little something from each one. That’s the key lesson you’re going to take away today. If you want to learn how to produce public service announcements that always hit their mark, you must offer a message that ‘serves’ your community.
Planning Your Public Service Announcement
If you hope for your PSA to have a lasting effect, you must offer your audience something they can use. This can be information, tips and techniques or a combination of the above and you must take time to make sure that message is polished. When your message goes live on TV channels or via the Internet, you want your audience to pay attention to the very end. You can’t just throw together a PSA and hope that happens.
Now that you know the importance of planning, how do you plan exactly? You start by considering ways your organization might be able to help your audience. The most common public service announcements are related to health, the environment, education and public safety. The idea is that the message will spread, the community will become safer or more informed and the positive feedback will fall back on the organization that produced the PSA. That’s your organization and we’re now going to produce your message for public consumption.
When coming up with new angles for your public service announcements, consider how you might be able to improve lives of the viewers and listeners your message is meant for. You might offer tips on how to eat better if you are a health based service or you might teach your audience how to properly dispose of plastic bottles if yours is an environmental service.
Once you have your subject matter and your tips, it’s then that you’ll want to consider the delivery method of your PSA. Thanks to advancements in technology, you now have several ways of disseminating your message to a waiting audience. Let’s look at a few of those methods now.
TV/Internet Video: One method of getting your message out there and one that works very well is to create a public service announcement video. Your video can be a face-to-face actor shot or an animation, or a combination of both. Video allows you to inform and entertain and it also allows you to show your organization’s logo prominently at the end, something you can’t really do on the radio.
Radio/Podcasts: Advertising on regular or satellite radio is yet another way to spread your PSA. You can merely create an audio version of your public service announcement video, as long as the message translates easily between both mediums. Podcasts, too, need advertisers and some may allow you to place a PSA on their shows if the message is a good one.
When producing a quality PSA, you need to consider the actor or narrator for your project. The person should have a good speaking voice and should be able to read the PSA copy without stuttering or fumbling over words. If the service announcement is a video message, make sure the person has a good video presence. Some people are meant to be in front of the camera and some aren’t. Choose your narrator and PSA actors accordingly.
If you are going to have animation featured in your public service announcements, make sure it helps rather than hurts the overall production. Don’t skimp when looking for a good animation team. The more skill the team has, the more your animation will coincide with your overall message and the longer lasting your message will be in the minds of your audience.
Again, a public service announcement is about helping your audience. It’s about giving them information or tips and tricks that they can use. And most importantly, a good PSA makes their lives a little bit better. Will your announcements live up to this criteria? Only if you plan accordingly and always keep the best interests of your audience in mind. Your viewers and listeners want to hear a PSA that will help keep them safe, healthy, environmentally conscious and informed. Your job is to deliver that message in a polished, well-produced message that is quick, to the point and that always leaves a lasting impression.
That’s how you make a quality public service announcement. As for when, that would be right now. Your audience is waiting. Give them a public service announcement they’ll never forget.