Scriptwriting for Digital Media Production
Instructor: Lindsay Grace


Tips for Writing Effective PSAs

Like all art, there is no guarantee in formula. However, effective PSA’s share a few common traits. The following list identifies those traits as ways to help you write more effective PSAs

Use time efficiently. With only 30 seconds to hook the listener and meet your objective, every word, every sound effect, and every moment of silence should be purposeful.

Start strong. Some writers suggest there is nothing more important than the first line of your PSA. Your hook should start early, and grab quickly. One convention is to ask your audience a question or to state a surprising fact. These types of lead-ins are really adapted sales technique. They are conventional, but in a pinch they may work well for you. It’s also smart to use the mystery structure we discussed in class.

Repeat. Important information requires repetition. Repitition encourages recall. Remember, important information requires repetition. Repetition encourages recall.

Play upon audience emotions. Marketing and sales techniques often focus on appealing to a few standard emotions. An effective PSA tends to appeal to a few common emotions. Playing upon the audience’s feelings of security, well-being and curiosity are frequent approaches. Likewise, it is important to address your audience in a personal way, instead of preaching at them,

One focus. It is important to keep a single focus when creating a PSA. Do not work toward to many goals or you’ll fail most of the tips provided above. With limited time, it’s difficult effectively communicate more than one idea.



Provided by Lindsay Grace for students of the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago. These documents may be used by others when properly credited. Please email lgrace at aii edu for more information.