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How to create a PSA video

By 17 October 2020 October 22nd, 2020 No Comments

How to create the perfect announcement video

If you’ve been looking for a resource on PSA videos and how to go about creating a video that hooks your audience, engages them, and ends with a call-to-action that promotes real change, then you’re in luck! In this blog, we’ll cover PSA videos and their benefits, along with video content ideas and how to make the perfect PSA video. Sound good?

What is a PSA video?

Public service announcement (PSA) videos are short, educational, and made to create awareness or change attitudes / behaviour on issues in the public interest e.g. by governments or not-for-profit organisations. These PSA videos vary depending on the objective, target audience and key message, and use formats like traditional announcements through to narrative videos, songs and even animations — or a combination.

Man standing and talking to a camera

What are the benefits of PSA videos?

● PSA videos are, on average, around 30-60 seconds long, making them an exercise in communicating concisely and with a clear call-to-action
● Videos with a narrative element are created for emotional purposes — often in dramatic or shocking ways, to effect change
● Historically, PSA videos were mass-marketed, making them a great way to communicate public information
● Now, with the internet and social media, however, you can also reach smaller audience segments

A hand holding a speaker that says Important

PSA Video Ideas

When it comes to public service announcement video ideas, think about your objective, audience and message. What type of video will your audience be most likely to engage with, given what you need to communicate and what you need them to do? More recently, the answer has often been one of the following: an announcement, narrative video, or song.

● Announcement video

Announcement videos are the foundation of a classic PSA campaign: typically, a series of ‘piece to camera’ and / or voiceover videos that communicate information to the masses.

● Narrative video

The PSA narrative video is usually reserved for issues serious in nature e.g. smoking, motor safety etc. These videos use techniques like interviews, dramatised / reenacted scenes, montages and footage of true events, in ways that are designed to cut through apathy and promote real change.

● Song

If we’re talking PSA videos specific to COVID-19, there’s no question — Vietnam is the hands-down winner. Their National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health not only managed to rework a V-pop hit song into a public service announcement video (which then went viral thanks to a dance challenge on Tik Tok), but also paired it with awesome animations. Who said PSA videos had to be boring?

How to make a PSA video?

Pre-production

● Set your objective

The goal for your PSA video will be based on both your rationale for communicating and what the content needs to achieve e.g. raising awareness, or changing a perception or behaviour in the public.

● Identify your audience

This will be dependent on your objective above i.e. why you’re creating a PSA video in the first place, and who the issue / information affects. Different audience segments have different communication styles and preferences — think talking to teenagers vs. the elderly — so keep this in mind when planning your message.

● Craft your message

Here, it’s about what you need to communicate, and what you need people to take away — and how to unite both. PSA videos, being so short, don’t give you a lot of time to get granular, so keep it simple and stick to one key message and one action for viewers post-video.

● Define your CTA (and KPI)

These two elements are important as they’re how you’ll measure success. For your call to action (CTA), what do you need people to do once they’ve watched your video? Your key performance indicator (KPI) will then be a measure of this behaviour e.g. clicking a link that directs viewers to a website for more information.

● Do your research

If you’re in government, you’ll know this, but verifiable facts and statistics to support your message can be a powerful way to build trust and prompt action; just ensure they’re recent, accurate and relevant to your target audience.

● Script and storyboard your video

For PSA videos, starting by writing your script can help as content is often speech-heavy. That said, the shorter your video, the more concise you need to be, so aim for 3-5 points and know which is primary and which are supplementary to delivery. You can also use your script to plan your visuals, pairing your points with cutaway shots, stock footage or custom animations to help viewers understand and retain information.

Conversely, if your PSA video is highly stylised, starting with storyboarding can help you visualise your shots to tell your story. Don’t forget to note any text overlays, and music or on-screen actions.

Need help planning your video? Download our Shootsta video plan.

Production

● Record your video

If your organisation has an in-house video team, they’ll be able to help you with this part; if not, there are a few things to consider when filming, like video gear, lights, framing, audio, focusing, and naturally, recording — head over to our videography guide to learn more.

Post-production

● Edit your PSA video

If you’re a Shootsta client, then you’re covered! However, if you need help editing your video footage, you can get in touch via the form below to find out how our video production services can help.

● Publish your video

Now that your video is finished, it’s time to share it with your audience — and the world — whether that’s on social media, over email, or at a special event (virtual or otherwise). If you’ve partnered with other organisations or individuals e.g. celebrities / influencers, remember to tag them so they can share with their communities.

● Listen and learn

Once your video’s public, listening tools can help gauge the public response. Is sentiment positive? Are people acknowledging your key message? And most importantly, are they heeding your call to action?

Having an understanding at this stage can help you tweak accompanying copy to course-correct if needed.

Need help making a PSA video? Contact us via the form below, and get on your way to creating great PSA content today!

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