Public service announcements bring important messages to the population via the mass media.
There is a lot that the public doesn’t know about, and there are few mediums that can reach a wider audience than television and radio. Public Service Announcements, or PSAs, can be effective methods of getting your message out if done correctly. But getting your message out and getting it heard are sometimes two entirely different things. To get people to listen to your message, you’ll have to exploit some human psychology and work hard at the quality of the announcement.
1. Gather your materials. Figuring out what your assets are is the most important part of creating your PSA. If your plan and script include using a professional quality camera and editing software, but all you have is a cell phone camera and some stock software on your computer, you will go through much more frustration than if you hold realistic expectations.
2. Write scripts that you can deliver easily, make your point concisely and put forth arguments. Depending on what your announcement is about, you’ll probably need more than one announcement, each one focusing on a different argument. Everyone knows how annoying it is when the same spot comes on the radio or TV over and over; make sure you create a variety of different ads for the station to rotate.
3. Exploit psychology in your ads. This isn’t unfair or unethical; advertisers do it all the time to push their products. Use repetition to make sure people remember and understand the ads; explain your argument in a couple different ways during the spot. Present an argument about why following your message will be beneficial to the community and to the individual listening. If applicable, use the target audience’s native language and use a spokesperson from their ethnic group. It’s an unfortunate fact of human psychology that we trust people who look like ourselves more than other people, from a snap judgment.
4. Test out your ad before you air it. Post online and invite people to a paid interest group for the ads, where they can discuss what they found effective and what you can improve with the ad. Then you can tweak it to ensure that it has a greater impact on those who listen to it.
5. Follow up on your spot. Have a number for people to call for additional information and help. This can be the crucial factor that helps somebody to get involved in propagating your message. It lets them know that they are more than just an audience; they are a collection of individuals that you care about.
6. Use different media, such as the Internet, posters, information tables at malls, T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, etc. to get your message out there. These different media will reinforce each other to make a sum greater than its parts.