What is a public awareness campaign?


What is a public awareness campaign?

A public awareness campaign is a marketing effort to build public recognition of a problem through media, messaging, and an organized set of communication tactics.  These campaigns target a large number of people over a specific period of time to try and generate specific outcomes or achieve pre-determined goals.

Why are public awareness campaigns important?

Public awareness campaigns are important because they can be used to contribute to policy change by putting pressure on policy-makers and encouraging the community to take action.  These campaigns can inform the community about a current problem by highlighting and drawing attention to it in such a way that the information and education provided can solicit action to make changes.

How do you create a public awareness campaign?

Here are some steps you can take to create your own public awareness campaign:

  1. Determine your topic and goals of your campaign.  Your goals should focus on big issues and include SMART goals.
  2. Decide on the modality you will use to disseminate the information.  Will you need a special software like a website or email campaign generator?  What will you need to effectively spread your message?
  3. Identify your supporters.  If you are raising awareness about an issue that impacts your local community, ensure you are engaging the community members.  Once you have engaged your community members, you now have a network of supporters to help promote your cause.  
  4. Engage community leaders and develop champions.  Community leaders can share your message with specific audiences that other supporters may not be able to reach.  These leaders are most often top business leaders, policymakers, or influential community members.
  5. Create a Media Strategy.  What types of media will you use to engage your community?  How will you use social media to your benefit?  Will you pay for ad space?  Will you contact your local newspaper for an article?  How often will you share your message?  
  6. Develop a comprehensive implementation plan.  It is important to create a detailed document that specifically calls out SMART goals and activities you will implement each step of the way of your campaign.  The plan can help keep you on track and help you monitor your progress.  Check out the World Health Organization's Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition for an example.
  7. Tie into other efforts.  Check out what other awareness campaigns exist in your community and learn from them.  What works?  What doesn't?  How can you use what they have learned to ensure your campaign is a success?
  8. Fundraising and budgeting.  You need to ensure you have a specific budget in place and have fundraising strategies in place.

What are some examples of effective public awareness campaigns?


Bouder, S. (2013). Critical components for public awareness campaigns. https://advocacyunleashed.kontribune.com/articles/1371

Gauss, A. (n.d.). A beginner's guide to scaling an awareness campaign. https://www.classy.org/blog/a-beginners-guide-to-scaling-an-awareness-campaign/

Kemshall, H. & Moulden, H. (2017). Communicating about child sexual abuse with the public: Learning the lessons from public awareness campaigns. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 23(2), 124-138. https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2016.1222004


  • Last Updated Jun 06, 2022
  • Views 64359
  • Answered By Kerry Louvier

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