PSAs and internet

Distributing your PSA on a limited budget, the value of a strong media database, and more

Distributing your PSA on a limited budget, the value of a strong media database, and more


I don't have a lot of money to distribute my public service announcement. Can you give me some low budget options?

Radio is less expensive than television, both in terms of production and distribution, so it's a good place to start, says Annette Minkalis of West Glen Communications.

The absolute cheapest thing to do, she says, is to script a 30-second live read PSA and fax it to the public affairs person at radio stations in markets you are trying to target.
"Include a brief paragraph about the organization and the importance of the message," she adds.

Recorded spots for radio can be produced and distributed relatively economically. "CDs are not that expensive to duplicate (compared to videotapes for TV) and the beauty of radio is you can target radio formats that best match your desired audience," she says.

If you have a TV PSA, but limited funds for distribution, Minkalis suggests two ways to get the most for your money. "Go after stations that have the best using history; it typically gives PSAs a higher acceptance rate," she says. "Also, some distributors have bundled packages where a PSA can be grouped on a reel with other nonprofits, allowing you to share distribution costs with others."


What is the best way to target specific reporters with news? It seems like blast e-mailing from my PC is inexpensive and effective.

With thousands of journalists around the world, it's a daunting task to try and determine what each prefers, says Nancy Sells. "That's where a media database comes in," she adds.

The best media databases contain information on reporters and news outlets, including contact information, beat and subject interests, editorial calendars, most recent articles written, and preferences on how the reporter likes to receive news.

"By using a media database that allows you to select distribution via the journalist's preferred delivery method, you can reach that same list of 100 reporters in the way in which they want to be communicated with, thus increasing your chances of landing the story," she says.


What types of features should we include on our website to make it more appealing to clients and prospects?

It's important to find things about your firm that distinguish it from competitors and emphasize that in a creative way, says Mike Spataro of Weber Shandwick. "It could be anything from a unique service you offer, your outlook on the industry, or even your corporate culture," he adds.

The visual design and text on your site should reflect your brand personality in a creative way. Beyond that, Spataro suggests making the site a resource center for your industry or key markets you work within.

"Offer information and links to related industries, provide white papers and intelligence from your company's top people, and feature profiles of your staff and some of your best clients," he says. "Showcase success and how you measure successful work."

It's also important to include new technology, like RSS news feeds, so clients and prospects can begin subscribing to your content. "Don't forget to market your site in everything you do or they may never see your new and improved site," he says.

Crisis comms

During a crisis, how can I ensure that our message is consistent when our organization has several different spokespeople?

One of the most crucial elements of visibility management during crisis is the uniform scripting of spokespersons, says Jim Lukaszewski of The Lukaszewski Group. "While reporters generally hate this approach and many public practitioners resist it, it's an essential technique to ensure consistent employee, public, and victim understanding of what's happening from your organization's perspective," he adds.

The critical part of crisis comms preparation is the identification of issues, problems, questions, and circumstances that will require spokesperson response.

Lukaszewski suggests drafting and outlining questions, and then answers of 75 to 150 words or less. "After vetting by appropriate individuals, the script is made available to spokespeople, and to everyone else, on a crisis website where reporters will go for consistent and useful information," he says.

PR Toolbox is edited by Erica Iacono, New York-based reporter for PRWeek. Submit questions to her at">>. Also, please contact her if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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