PSA programs can be very powerful but they take strategy to stay alive. As PSAs are launched, they naturally peak between 4 and 7 months and as airtime is dedicated to new incoming PSAs, airings usually start to decline. But, by producing an exclusive seasonal campaign (we call them signature campaigns for PSAs), you can recapture lost media after your peak. It’s the best way to maximize airings during a specific time period and multiply the overall success of the campaign.

With more than 2,000 PSA campaigns broadcasted last year, nonprofits shouldn’t just let their PSA ride. You need a strategic plan to break through the challenges of securing significant airtime for public messages; a relevant, signature campaign is one way to yield results.

Here are four guidelines to help any nonprofit develop a successful “PSA signature campaign.”

1.) Identify a promotion period
It’s best if you keep your promotion period between 4-8 weeks. This focused time period brings importance to the cause and suggests a sense of urgency. Many nonprofits select a month and ask for dedicated preference to run their PSA over other organizations. Whatever time period is chosen, make sure it logical for the organization to requesting support at that time.

EXAMPLES: During Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, there are 12 participating organizations that work to bring breast cancer awareness top of mind. Many of them promote PSA airings during this time along with other media tools. This is a example of a testimonial video that could be used as a PSA or even an editorial. It shares a heartwarming personal story and also the facts on early detection.

Autism Speaks created the “Light it Up Blue” campaign in 2010 to help raise awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis. The campaign is active in April during Autism Awareness Month and particularly on April 2nd when landmarks all over the world are illuminated in blue light. This video is a recap of their

2.) Make it relevant and meaningful for your audience at the stations
Share stories, give statistics and show how they can make a difference by airing your PSA during this very important time period. Consider hand delivering your PSA to major networks so you can educate them on your mission and the campaign effort. Remember to close the campaign by saying thank you and informing them of the huge impact they have made towards the organization’s mission.

3.) Treat the Campaign as its own effort
Yes, you are repackaging your current messaging but by changing the experience for the stations it feels like a new, more important campaign. For example, don’t send PSA Directors to your standard PSA assets website. Make it fresh by either reskinning the site with campaign specific messaging or by building a new landing page dedicated to the signature campaign.

4.) Educate everyone about the campaign
Everyone in your organization, your supporters and the press should know about the signature campaign at least two months before the launch. Give everyone the facts and storylines so that they can spread the message – it’s a way to take this new campaign and gain momentum with other audiences.