Paid or Public Service Advertising
Placing PSAs: Contact and Follow-Up

Updated: 6.1.06

Step 6: Distribute and Follow Up on Your PSA Kits

Consider personally delivering your PSAs and pitch kits to the media contacts with whom you have spoken. If you have not established this relationship yet, mail your materials. Follow up with everyone who received a PSA kit about one week later.

Use the follow-up call to pick up where you left off in your first conversation. Take a few moments to run through the problem, solution and need for this PSA effort. This follow-up call is an opportunity to begin helping your contact care about the issue of uninsured children. Keep a log of your conversations with media contacts, especially if there are questions that you need to answer. Use the Media Contact Log (see the Templates section) to track your progress in pitching your PSAs.

Step 7: Respond to Requests from Your Contact

As you pitch your PSAs, your contact may ask for information that might not be at your fingertips. If you need to follow up on a request, be sure to do so quickly.

Step 8: Nail Down a PSA Placement Commitment

You have informed your media contacts about the issue of uninsured children in your state and pitched your PSA aimed at reaching families. Now it is time to close the deal! Often the public service or community affairs director will not be able to commit right away on the placement of your PSA. They might have to send it through a committee or wait for space to open up in their rotation. You may need to continue placing follow-up calls for several weeks to find out if your announcement will run.

Based on the relationship you have built with your media contacts, you will know how much follow-up is required in the future. If your contact cannot provide concrete information about the timing or duration of the PSA placement, tell them you will check back with them in a few weeks.

Track your PSAs once they begin airing. If you have a general idea when the spots will be used, consider assigning one or more people the task of monitoring specific media outlets to know when your PSAs are running.

Step 9: Evaluate the Impact of Your PSA Campaign

If your contact is able to provide you with specific placement information, like a television or radio time slot when the PSA will air (e.g., the day of the week and hour of placement), encourage the public service or community affairs director to return the PSA Tracking Postcard in the pitch kit. Also ask for information about its audience during that period.

Tracking PSAs can be challenging. Media outlets often use PSAs as "filler," running them when a paid spot is unexpectedly cancelled or during time periods that have not been claimed by advertisers. And because it is impossible to control the time or frequency of your PSA placements, as you can with paid spots, the number of families who will see and respond to your announcements will not be as large as with a paid advertising effort.

Do your best to keep track of where and when your PSAs are running to help plan for future campaigns. There are two ways you can track the success of your effort. First, you can identify any increase in the number of calls the hotline receives during the period when the PSAs run. Second, you can try to discern the number of media impressions the PSA received (see Media Impressions below).

Hotline Calls: Tracking the change in the number of calls to your state hotline is the simplest and most direct measure of the results of your PSA campaign. Since the hotline number is promoted in your PSAs, there may be an increase in the number of families that call this number for information about Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment during the time period the PSAs air. Compare the number of calls received during this period with the call volume in the weeks before and after the effort.

Media Impressions: The number of people who potentially saw or will see the PSA is measured through media impressions. You can try to collect this information by asking the stations that aired the PSAs what the audience size was during the times that the spots aired. While some stations may not have this information readily available, it is useful when you are able to collect it. You can find out more about the media impressions for the time period when your PSAs run by contacting the outlet's advertising or sales department.

For more information on evaluating your efforts, download the Covering Kids & Families Evaluating Communications and Outreach guide at or contact the Covering Kids & Families Communications Team at (202) 338-7227 or via e-mail at

Step 10: Share and Build on the Results
Your coalition will be interested in learning about the impact of your PSA effort. Compile your evaluation findings into a memo or presentation. If your campaign was particularly effective, you should share this information with the media outlets that aired or printed your PSA. Be sure to thank the community affairs and public service directors at the media outlets that used your PSAs.

Based on the success of your PSA campaign, you may want to consider taking this media relationship to a new level?a media partnership.