The Power of a Public Service Announcement

By Landis Communications, Inc. 
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to workplace equality for LGBT employees around the world, is hosting its 16th Annual Workplace Summit here in San Francisco today through Thursday, Nov. 6.
As Out & Equal Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Selisse Berry, outlined in a recent op-ed to the San Francisco Chronicle, there’s much to celebrate regarding LGBT equality – especially with recent advances in marriage equality. (The public announcement by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, that he is gay is yet another milestone for LGBT workplace equality.)
However, there is much work to be done. There are still 29 states where you can lose your job just for being lesbian, gay or bisexual (32 states if you are transgender).
And there lies the focus for Out & Equal, paying tribute to and celebrating the advances LGBT employees all over the world, while also drawing attention to the fact that we’ve still got a ways to go.
At LCI, we have the pleasure of working with Out & Equal as our client. In conjunction with Out & Equal’s leadership team, we’ve developed and continue to hone an integrated communications strategy to communicate Out & Equal’s voice for LGBT workplace equality around the world.
Public relations, media outreach, social media and digital marketing all play a key role in an integrated communications campaign. For nonprofits such as Out & Equal, public service announcements (PSAs) also play an important role.
Though some may view PSAs as “old school,” they are, in fact, just the opposite. With today’s vast number of communication channels and the ever-growing need to populate these channels with content, the PSA is more effective and desirable than ever before.
LCI worked closely with Out & Equal to develop their PSA, “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” It successfully draws attention to the fact that while LGBT employees can be married in certain states, they can also be fired in just as many.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when developing PSAs for clients. Many of them, in fact, were utilized while working with Out & Equal on theirs.
Tips for Developing Your PSA:

  • Short and Simple: Like all communication in the digital age, concise and short is best. Capture your audience – and keep their attention – with phrases and images.
  • Call to Action: Each PSA needs a call to action at the end. What do you want your target audience to do? Join an organization? Sign a petition? Volunteer? Make it clear to the audience what is being asked of them.
  • Visual Elements: Isn’t the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” This should also be a rule of thumb when developing a PSA. Let images tell the story and let the words support what your audience is experiencing.
  • Radio & Broadcast Versions: Since PSAs are also regularly aired on radio stations, be sure to create both radio and broadcast versions for maximum impact.
  • Duration: Most broadcast networks prefer 10- and 15-second spots. Networks need to fill time in between paid commercials/content and this PSAs are the perfect tool for filling that space.
  • Make it Timely: If there are elements to a PSA that could become dated, be sure to cover that in your voiceover. Have a separate recording that could be switched out, as needed, in order to keep the PSA as relevant as possible.

Congratulations to Out & Equal on hosting this week’s 16th Annual Workplace Summit! As an LGBT-owned business, we at LCI applaud their work and stand firmly behind their commitment toward workplace equality for all LGBT employees around the world.
Questions or comments? Let us know in the comments section below or send an email to [email protected].

4 thoughts on “The Power of a Public Service Announcement

  1. All terrific points. I especially like “Keep it simple.” Since PSAs are at most 30 seconds, it’s important to stick to the point. Cheers, David

  2. A great PSA for a great cause — We all benefit from workplace equality. Thank you, Out & Equal, for all of the work you do in this space!

  3. PSAs are a great tool for cause-driven organizations. Don’t forget to add the video or soundbites to bring otherwise text-heavy press releases to life.

  4. These are all solid (and informative!) points. PSAs are a great way to educate the public on important causes, like workplace equality. Thank you, Out & Equal, for calling attention to the need for LGBT protections in the workplace.

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