Creating a successful PSA, reaching consumers, more

What are some tips for a successful PSA?

What are some tips for a successful PSA?

Good PSAs educate television viewers about important issues, frequently ones that your client wants to reinforce among its target audience, explains Darryl Konter of KEF Media Associates.

"Healthcare issues in the news are always good topics because serious public health problems will likely be aired by public service directors," he says. "But overt commercial messaging will certainly disqualify a PSA from airing."

Another tip is to be sure your piece has quality production values. "We suggest that PSAs be shot on film with careful attention to the script," adds Konter. "And pay attention
to lighting, sound, music, and other production aspects.

Although celebrity spokespersons aren't essential, they can help considerably. "If you already have a celebrity in your studio or on site for a video shoot, use another half-hour of his or her time to make a PSA," Konter notes. "They can generate a lot of airtime since they're typically run many times a week for months."

Media relations

How can I make the executive quotes in a press release sound as if they were said by an actual person?
"Too often, executives' quotes are written with very stilted, jargon-loaded language - words not used in actual conversation," notes Janice King, author of the book Copywriting That Sells High Tech. This problem most often arises, she says, because the quote language is taken from brochures or other marketing text for the product or company.

"The symptoms of this problem include overuse of buzzwords, long noun strings, and a sense that executives' words must be presented in a lofty style and tone," she adds.

To solve this dilemma, King suggests writing the quote as if you are making the statement to someone orally. "Read the draft quote out loud or record it and listen to the playback," she advises. "Verify that the quote is clear, simple to understand, and conversational."

If the executive is an effective or colorful speaker, conduct a quick phone interview. "You'll get the quote in language that reflects the speaker's personality," she says, "which makes it more engaging and credible."

Consumer outreach

How do you reach captive consumers?
"The best way to reach these ready-to-buy consumers is with 30-second audio features that sound like PSAs and are broadcast throughout food or drug stores across the country," says Zcomm's Ris‘ Birnbaum. She notes how captive consumers roll their shopping carts around supermarket or drug store aisles loaded with your client's product, thus making them a prime audience.

"These audio features not only provide listeners with valuable information, but can actually drive folks to a specific aisle or product," she notes, specifying that drug stores are also a great place to run health-related features.

Birnbaum reports that independent research shows a 16% increase in sales in stores with the audio features versus stores without them, demonstrating that shoppers are indeed listening.

"The most effective way to use the service is to keep it as non-commercial as possible," she adds. "Load each feature with valuable tips and include a call to action at the close.

"There's nothing like blanketing consumers with messages over their car radio and again as they spend an hour in a food or drug store to shop," Birnbaum concludes.

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