Making PSA's Work for You
When contacting the media about the campaign, be sure you have a thorough understanding of the latest National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) PSAs - their messages, audiences, and purposes.
If you are knowledgeable about the campaign and refer to it as "our campaign" and to the PSAs as "our ads," you can reinforce for the media that this is an effort with local roots, something in which the community has an important stake.
Here are some helpful steps in getting PSAs on the air:
- Ask for a meeting. In an initial phone call or letter, ask to set up a meeting with the media decisionmaker. You may also want to invite one or two other spokespersons like police or community leaders. Keep the meeting short (15-30 minutes) and use the time to explain your efforts.
- Use the facts. These are crime data, news articles, and other sources to compile a local "snapshot" portrait. Also: Draw attention to local groups that are working to prevent crime to show that it is an urgent issue in the community that they can help reduce.
- Be compelling. Facts can be impersonal. Compelling stories about a local family touched by violence can be powerfully persuasive in demonstrating local relevance and motivating the media to do something. Also remember, NCPC has research. Cite results of the campaign linking PSAs to public awareness and action.
- Offer more than just the PSA. Tell them about services, activities, events, and programs available to people in the community through local organizations active in crime prevention.
- Don't push too hard. Leaving the meeting without a firm commitment that the media will use the PSAs doesn't mean all hope is lost. Public affairs managers may need to consult with others before making a decision. Your most important objective is to make your case for the campaign.
- Follow up and keep in touch. Within three days of the meeting, send a letter thanking your media host for the opportunity to get together, mentioning you're looking forward to his or her decision.