Drafting Your Public Service Announcement
Use this template to draft a public service announcement (PSA). For examples of PSAs to review, visit the WSU news blog.
HEADLINE: (This should be the subject of your email as well. Make it eye-catching, brief and informational)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (this informs the media the following text is approved for publication)
CONTACT: (Your name, title and contact information)
DATE: (Today’s date—or the date you are sending your PSA)
[Organization, dept, club, group] will host [title of event] with [guest speaker] at [time] [day and date] in [location—room, building, address, city, as needed].
This event will feature… [Using short, concise sentences, describe what is going on and why a person would want to attend. Be objective, and do not use exclamation points, italics, bold or underlining. Who is presenting? What are they presenting on? What experience or background qualifies them to speak on this topic? What can attendees expect to learn? Speak plainly and avoid using obscure or overlong words and jargon. (A rule of thumb for news writing is to write for an eighth-grade reading level.)]
[Option to add more context: Localize the info. If possible, include numbers and/or statistical support of key points and anecdotes. Are 1 out of 10 Minnesotans impacted by this topic? Do 65 percent of Midwesterners experience this each year? Will the speaker be presenting anywhere else or meeting with anyone else in the city/region? Will the speaker present in classes or otherwise work with WSU students, local K-12 students or other organizations in the community during the visit?]
[Optional quote: “Include brief, easy-to-understand quotes that provide context on why the event is being hosted and who should attend,” said Name, Title. “You can be subjective here and say how great the speaker is and how informative their presentation will be. This is your last chance to provide a compelling reason for someone to attend this event.”]
This event is free and open to the public.
This event is sponsored by… [Include event co-sponsors, information about whether the event part of a larger series or program and/or relevant funding/financial support (i.e. grants received, business or foundation sponsorship, etc)]
For more information, contact [Name, email, phone, website, etc].
ABOUT [Your organization, dept, club, group name here]
[Include brief boilerplate about mission, history, membership, where to find more information, etc]
Note: Editorial standards vary, so you may see changes to your content in publication. If the editorial changes result in erroneous information being published, you're invited to follow up with the media outlet in question to request a correction.
Sending Your Public Service Announcement
You may promote your PSA by either submitting a request through MarComm OneStop or sharing on your own. Both approaches can have their advantages and their drawbacks, depending on your circumstances.
Submit your PSA text through the MarComm OneStop "Promote An Event" form
- Select the option to "Submit to Events Calendar and Update," paste your PSA text in the "Event Description & Registration Details" field, and include a note that you would like a PSA sent to local media. Note: If you've already submitted your event to Events Calendar/WSU Update, please use the existing ticket, rather than creating a new one, to avoid confusion.
- The MarComm team is typically able to complete this type of "Promote An Event" request in 3-5 days, provided the ticket includes complete information and requires minimal editing.
- MarComm will cc you on the media distribution, so you'll know when the PSA has been sent to media.
- OR -
Send your PSA directly to media contacts
- If you'd prefer to have more direct control over promoting your event or if you don't have 3-5 days to wait to promote your event, you will need to send the PSA on your own.
- Review the tips and information below prior to sending your PSA to media.
Tips for Formatting a PSA
- Send text that can be easily cut and pasted (i.e. not in a locked pdf file). Plain, unformatted text in the body of an email message is often the most accessible.
- Be judicious with attachments. While it’s nice to send the reporter a visual or additional information, too many attachments can be overwhelming or even cause your message to get bogged down in spam filters.
- If you do send an attachment, reference it in the email and explain what you’re sending.
- When possible, instead include links for more information and visuals (again, including with the URL an explanation of what you're sharing).
Timeline for Sending your PSA
It can be difficult to hit the sweet spot for media attention. If you send your PSA too early, your event could be forgotten. If you send too late, editorial calendars may already be booked. A good role of thumb is to plan to send your PSA up to two weeks in advance of your event. A follow-up email the week of your event could be a helpful reminder, but any more than two emails per event may be seen as overkill.
Feel free to share your PSA with multiple media contacts. (Just be prepared to respond if they follow up with you for more information!) Below is a list of local media partners in the Winona area.
Local Media Contacts List
WSU Marketing & Communications Office
|Winona Daily Newsemail@example.com; Madeline.Heim@lee.net|
|Leighton Broadcastingfirstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com|
|The Winonanfirstname.lastname@example.org; ZSBailey14@winona.edu|
|City of Winona||CUbl@ci.winona.mn.us|
|WSU Retiree Center||JKauphusman@winona.edu|