Pitching and placing PSAs is challenging work. However, for coalitions with limited resources, PSAs can be an effective tool for reaching families through the media sources that parents rely on each day for news and entertainment.
Following is a sampling of the steps involved in pitching PSAs:
Step 1: Do Your Homework: Before pitching your PSAs to any regional broadcast or print outlet, do some research to learn more about the media organization, its programming and its audience.
Step 2: Tailor Your PSAs: Covering Kids & Families can provide you with radio and television PSAs for you to tailor to your state. (Please note that you will be responsible for the cost of this.) Template community calendar announcements, radio readers and print PSAs are also available.
Step 3: Prepare Your Pitch: In addition to the PSAs, there are several documents that you should customize, including pitch memos, pitch kits and mail-in PSA tracking cards.
Step 4: Prepare a Coalition Spokesperson: Once you begin pitching your PSAs, some media outlets may request interviews about the issue of uninsured children in your media market or state and your coalition's work to connect them to available health coverage. The Covering Kids Guide to Placing Public Service Announcements contains additional media and messaging materials to help prepare your coalition spokesperson.
Step 5: Make Preliminary Calls: Make introductory pitch calls before sending your PSAs to media outlets. These initial calls give you a chance to double-check your contact information and build a rapport with public service and community affairs professionals.
Step 6: Distribute and Follow Up on Your PSA Kits: Consider personally delivering your PSAs and pitch kits to media contacts. If you have not established a relationship yet, mail your materials. Follow up with all of the media contacts that received a PSA kit about one week later.
Step 7: Respond to Requests from Your Contacts: As you pitch your PSAs, your media contacts 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 may need to continue placing follow-up calls for several weeks to find out if your announcement will run.
Step 9: Evaluate the Impact of the PSA Campaign: Track your PSAs once they begin airing. Your media contacts may be able to provide you with specific placement information. You can also track the success of your effort by identifying any increase in the number of calls the hotline receives during the period when the PSAs ran and by trying to discern the number of media impressions the PSA received.
Step 10: Share and Build on the Results: Compile your evaluation findings into a memo or presentation to share with your coalition. Share positive findings with the media outlet and thank them for their support of the Back-to-School Campaign. Based on the success of your PSA campaign, your coalition may want to consider taking this media relationship to a new level.
See the template radio PSA cover letter and script for help with your PSA pitching.