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Public service announcements, or PSAs, are messages designed for public consumption that are offered by the media without charge. These announcements are typically used to raise awareness about a particular issue, to change the public’s perception of an idea or situation or to change the public’s behavior.
Some popular public service announcements include:
- Anti-Bullying Campaigns
- Toys for Tots
- Green Living
- How to Stop Someone from Choking
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Now that you know what a public service announcement is, you may be wondering why your organization would release one. Let’s look at a few reasons why you should start planning your PSA today.
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When church officials want to increase awareness of the church and build attendance, they may release a public service announcement hailing the importance of family values. The church isn’t promoting religion and there may not be any religious-talk at all. The PSA will only talk about how important it is for the family to stay together. The goal is to change the public’s awareness and perception of the family and in the meantime the church gets tons of free publicity.
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You only have to choose a subject that is important to you and as long as your organization’s name and/or logo is flashed sometime during the public service announcement, you’ll be sure to enjoy the exposure you’re after.
Helping The Public
One of the greatest aspects of a public service announcement is that you are helping the public. Consider a state hospital that releases a PSA describing the dangers of drinking and driving. The hospital likely sees tons of drunk driving accidents and so this is a great way to raise public awareness about the issue. The hospital can hopefully reduce the cases of drunk drivers admitted to the ER and at the same time can help the public think twice about getting behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink.
A PSA is designed to assist the public first and foremost, and so that right there should be reason enough to plan your public service announcement.
Now that you know why you should release a PSA, you may be stuck on which announcement to release. Consider your organization and the values that the organization was founded on. If you are a food bank, you might want to talk to the public about throwing away good food and how it’s much better to donate that food to a friendly family. You may decide to talk about pet health or pet adoptions, or anything else beneficial to society as a whole.
Before you plan your PSA, you may want to talk to the media you plant to disseminate that public service announcement to. Call the local TV stations and radio stations and ask them how you can get a PSA on the air. You may also want to ask them about previous public service announcements. Which ones were the most effective? What are some ideas that have been used in the past? These can all give you ideas not only on what to do your public service announcement about, but also how to guide it so that it’s the most effective.
Your public service announcement should have a good spokesperson if you want the most effective PSA message. Think back to some PSAs you may have seen in the past. Sure, some service announcements use celebrities, but you don’t have to know Ben Affleck’s number to host your own PSA. One of the local TV or radio personalities might do it if you don’t have anyone handy. The manager of the organization could do it or the person writing the PSA can, as well.
You may want to talk to a professional production company that can not only shoot the public service announcement so that it looks the best, but also so that you can add animation and other graphics for the most effective message.
Whatever you choose as your public service announcement, you should feel good that you are bettering your organization and helping the public with a particular social issue. Whether it’s choking, fire safety, child care tips or travel information, the public will likely thank you for whatever message you send.
As long as your PSA speaks from the heart and it delivers a message that the public needs to hear, you’ll have done your job as a public service announcement developer. Now you need a great idea and the spokesperson to deliver that idea. The public is waiting.