The next step of our campaign design is another step involved in promotion of your message. The question asked is what are the best communication channels to reach my target audience. When choosing the appropriate communication channels timing and cost are major influences. I am going to look at some communication channels in regards to teen suicide prevention. The first communication channel I will look at is the Public Service Announcement, also known as the PSA which can be considered unpaid advertising. Here is a PSA increasing awareness and preventing teen suicide with the EmptyChair campaign. It represents the missing student and how their absence is noticed and does affect the entire community. It encourages students and members of the community to reach out and talk to others and report any suicidal ideation to counselors or teachers or adults who can help.
PSAs are a less expensive mass media communication channel. They are either played on television or radio. You want the PSA to be of high quality so it’s attractive to the network and to increase the chances of getting a good playing time. If your budget limits your design abilities, you can look for sponsors without conflicting interests to help fund the design and even help pay for a better placement time of the ad. The local television and radio networks are where you will go to establish a relationship. These networks are going to be most interested in topics that their viewing population cares about. This PSA I think would reach the target audience more effectively if it was played during shows that teens and their families watch, or radio stations that play music that teens and their parents listen to on a regular basis.
The most familiar and utilized communication channel is printed material. There are lots of different forms of written materials. Written materials could be brochures, booklets, calendars, and bumper stickers to name a few. Below is an example of a suicide prevention bumper sticker you could hand out at any middle school or high school event.
Lets look at some non traditional communication channels. One that struck my interest is social media as a communication channel. Facebook and Instagram for example have become a social norm. People communicate locally and internationally though social media. They can view both commercial and social marketing on social media. There are so many advantages about social marketing on social media such as reaching the interested audience via the audiences ability to follow the campaign links on social media. They are even able to share the links to the campaign to people the audience feel would benefit most from the information. This can assist in researching for your target and also reaching target audience a little more efficient. I found this example below of how facebook has become involved in the suicide prevention.
You can now seek help for yourself or for people you are worried about through facebook. Most suicide prevention campaigns encourage people to talk to someone if they are feeling down, overwhelmed, or suicidal which can now occur confidentially on facebook. This I believe can be even more effective then providing online support through internet searches, or hotlines. Individuals reaching or being reached by facebook already have an account so it seems like it takes away some of the effort and unfamiliarity. With the advancement of technology I believe our traditional communication channels will be replaced with social media and app technology. However I still believe the need for research of communication channels for social marketing campaigns will be an ongoing and innovative journey, which will continue to develop new and more effective channels year after year.