Measuring Effectiveness of Public Relations Efforts
Measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of a public relations campaign is necessary to ensure that established objectives are met.
Explain how organizations can measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign
- The most basic level of measuring effectiveness comes from compilations of message distribution and media placement. One elementary form of evaluation is simply to count how many news releases, feature stories, photos, letters, etc. are produced in a given period of time.
- Measuring the effectiveness of public relations involves the measurement of changes in attitudes, opinions, and behavior, which can often be subjective and up to interpretation.
- Social media measurement refers to tracking social content such as blogs, wikis, news sites, and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as a way to determine the volume and sentiment of online conversation about a brand or topic.
- Evaluation: a systematic determination of a subject’s merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards. It can assist an organization to assess any aim, realizable concept or proposal, or any alternative, to help in decision-making; or to ascertain the degree of achievement or value in regard to the aim and objectives and results of any such action that has been completed.
- social media: Interactive forms of media that allow users to interact with and publish to each other, generally by means of the Internet.
Evaluation of a public relations campaigns is the measurement of results against established objectives, which are set during the planning process. The desire to improve results the next time is a major reason for evaluating public relations efforts. Before any public relations program can be properly evaluated, it is important to clearly establish a set of measurable objectives. Public relations personnel and management should agree upfront on the criteria that will be used to evaluate success in attaining objectives, rather than waiting until the end of the program to determine how it will be evaluated.
When establishing objectives and measurement criteria, consider the following questions:
- Was the activity or program adequately planned?
- Did the recipients of the message understand it?
- How could the program strategy have been more effective?
- Were all primary and secondary audiences reached?
- Was the desired organizational objective achieved?
- What unforeseen circumstances affected the success of the program or activity?
- Did the program or activity fall within its budget?
- What steps can be taken to improve the success of similar activities in the future?
Sophisticated techniques, including computerized news clip analysis, survey sampling, quasi-experimental designs, and attempts to correlate efforts directly with sales, can be used for measurement. A minimum of three levels of measurement and evaluation include:
- On the most basic level are compilations of message distribution and media placement. One elementary form of evaluation is simply to count how many news releases, feature stories, photos, letters, etc. are produced in a given period of time. This kind of evaluation provides management with the staff’s productivity and output.
- The second level, which requires more sophisticated techniques, measures audience awareness, comprehension, and retention of the message. For example, editors of newsletters should evaluate readership annually to help ascertain reader perceptions, the credibility of the source, and the extent to which the newsletter meets organizational objectives.
- The third level is the most advanced level. It is the measurement of changes in attitudes, opinions, and behavior.
Social media measurementrefers to tracking various social content such as blogs, wikis, news sites, micro-blogs such as Twitter, social networking sites, video/photo sharing websites, forums, message boards, blogs, and other user-generated content to determine the volume and sentiment of online conversation about a brand or topic, and to gain insight on consumer choices. This information indicates what marketing strategies appear to be working and which ones are not.