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Photo by [martin]/Flickr.com
Right now, I’m in the final stages of producing a public service announcement for a class at UW (disclosure: the project is unrelated to any topics I’ve written about locally in Madison).
I chose to shoot a video for the Madison Dental Initiative, a non-profit in town that provides dental services to Madison’s homeless population.
I’ll link to the video once it’s finished, but I thought I’d share what I learned so far. It took me a while to think in more “PSA-friendly” mindset. I’ve also had the entire fall to sit on the idea and carefully craft a message — a luxury I wish I had for other projects.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered over the past few months:
- Know the psychographic details of your audience
- Give people a problem to act on (increasing awareness isn’t useful unless you suggest a course of action)
- Your message should be simple enough to summarize in a short sentence
- Suggest a tag line (I helped MDI come up with “Give back, one smile at a time”)
- Think about whether the PSA will be featured on TV, radio or online media (typically online can be longer — more than one minute or so).
UW’s Patty Loew, who leads the class, showed us a PSA I thought was very effective (and it generally follows the tips above).