One way a nonprofit organization can get free, although haphazard, publicity is the good, old public service announcement, or PSA, that appears on radio or television. This announcement can be written by the organization and submitted to the nearest media outlet for public distribution.
In his book The Public Relations Handbook for Nonprofits, Art Feinglass suggests PSAs as handy ways of maintaining visibility because radio and TV stations are required to provide a certain amount of airtime at no cost to serve the public interest.
With that in mind, Feinglass offers a few tips for getting maximum mileage out of PSAs:
- Usually, PSAs are 10- or 30- or 60-second spots. Know the time frame, and write a script for that time. Sometimes stations will specify the number of words they will accept, and they may rewrite your PSA.
- Prepare the PSA on a single sheet of paper, and be sure to include contact information. Organization letterhead can be good for this.
- Make the PSA warm, lively and conversational in tone and content.
- Keep the sentences short and easy to read. Try reading it aloud yourself. If you find yourself gasping for breath, the sentences are too long.
- Avoid words that are hard to pronounce or easily misunderstood.
- Grab the audience’s attention right from the outset.
- If a station does run your PSA, send a thank-you letter.