Public Service Announcement Campaign Development

PSA Campaign Development

In developing the rural public service announcement, we went through nine steps.  You can learn more about each step by viewing our webinar on creating effective campaigns where each step is discussed in more detail.

  1. Identify the audience in your community you want to reach: We must have a clear understanding of who we are trying to reach when developing a campaign. In our case, we knew that rural communities were our audience. Yet, we also identified potential differences within this audience set. The better you know your audience and their needs, the more likely you are to have a campaign that succeeds in meeting these needs.

  2. Write objectives: Once you have identified your target audience, outline clear objectives for your campaign. Do you want to educate, call for action, or change attitudes, for example? If you are hoping to change attitudes or beliefs, what is it that you want the community to change the way they see?

    In the case of our project, we identified three main objectives for the campaign.

    We wanted our audience to..
    - To KNOW that sexual violence is a serious social problem in their community.
    - To BE WILLING to initiate a conversation about sexual violence in their community and to model this leadership for others.
    - And to KNOW where to go in the community for more information on sexual violence and how they could be involved.

    It is important that these are unique to your own community and representative of the needs you have identified.

  3. Devise strategies: You now have objectives, so how will you accomplish them? Strategies should resonate with your audience and be feasible for your organization’s resources and timeframe.

    For the rural PSA project, we joined forces with a local marketing and design firm to help with devising these strategies. We knew we wanted a multi-component campaign and wanted to ensure a few specific things:

    First, that the end results were relevant and useful for a wide range of rural communities.

    Second, that our strategies were aligned with the research findings about popular use of media in rural communities and popular opinions about sexual violence in communities.

    And third, that the process and products worked within budget.
  4. Talk to your community: This step requires checking in with your target audience to verify that the messages you are hoping to use are appropriate. This can be done numerous ways, including surveys or focus groups.

    We chose to conduct focus groups organized by select rural centers to learn the reactions of community members to a variety of messages that we wanted to test. We also used research compiled by Frameworks on public perceptions of sexual violence to influence our messaging.
  5. Develop messages: The messages developed should be based on the goals and objectives you have previously identified.
    This messaging should be representative of findings from meeting with the target audience. These messages will likely be 3-5 facts or messages that you want to convey to your audience.

    In our process of developing messages, we used the feedback and research gathered from our test sites to finalize our messaging choices. This stage is critical, as it was necessary that we analyzed feedback the testing sites on concept, choice of language, and presentation to develop final slogans, calls to action, and graphics.
  6. Get creative: At this time, the campaign comes to life with the development of graphics, posters, brochures, radio spots, and television ads. The exact components of your campaign should be dictated by your analysis of your audience, your objects, and your resources. At this time, you should be getting creative in both the development process and with your resources. Collaborating with partners or local businesses and organizations that may be willing to help develop and/or deliver your messages is a vital part of the process. These relationships and potential partnerships should be identified as far in advance as possible for optimal use.

    In our development process, we worked collaboratively with our design firm to create the campaign tools. This involved open communication and sharing throughout the process to ensure that we were staying on target with our objectives and deadlines.

    In this process of getting creative, the sky is really the limit. It is a time to get creative about the ways you want to meet your goals.
  7. Go back to your community:  This ensures that the message you’ve developed resonates with the audience. This is essentially a double-check that you were on mark with you’ve developed and should provide you with the opportunity to make any needed adjustments.
  8. Implement strategically: This involves thinking critically about how you will use your campaign materials. This may require creating an implementation plan that is based on your internal and external resources and involves consideration of things such as:

    What kind of training and time will be required of staff, as pertaining to the campaign?

    What avenues of distribution of campaign materials make the most sense for your agency’s resources?

    And what type of support will be necessary to manage the response to and maintenance of the campaign?

    In the context of the campaign materials we have developed, this is really where you as individual centers can consider how the materials fit within your communities, your outreach plans, and other projects or campaigns that you are already involved in.
  9. Evaluate: An evaluation can take on a variety of forms and should really be a part of a larger development and implementation plan that aims to assess if you’ve reached your goals. This evaluation should also recognize your successes and also help to identify what aspects of your campaign could be improved for greater effectiveness. You will want to think about how you are tracking your outcomes. For example, how will your evaluation measure that you have reached the outcome that you intended. This will be very campaign and agency specific.