As I have mentioned before, PR is a process of researching, acting, communicating and evaluating. All of these components are equally important and all of them contribute to a successful PR campaign. I relate this process to cheerleading, since I used to cheer for 7 years and automatically relate most of my life to it. For this specific process, the research step would be the tryout portion of the season. During this time, the foundation of the season is laid down by selecting the best members to be placed on the team. The action step would be the choreography of the routine, the time when the actual “thing” is being created. The communication step would be the competitions where routines are performed and the final step, evaluation, is the awards session. One could argue that the evaluation step, like the award session, is the most exciting part of the process. This is the time when you get to see if all your hard work has paid off! However, all of these steps are equally important and one can’t happen successfully without the other ones.
Evaluation is the final step involved in a PR campaign. Like I mentioned, it is important to evaluate the strategies and tactics that were employed during a PR campaign so the results can be presented to the client and they can see if the campaign was effective or not. However, although it is the last step in the campaign process, evaluation needs to be employed throughout the whole campaign. At the beginning of the campaign, a baseline evaluation needs to be made so there are values to compare the results of the campaign (Business Matters, 2013). In order to evaluate effectively, objectives and goals need to be agreed upon and written out by the PR pros and their client before the start of the campaign (Ketchum, n.d.). Of course, after the campaign, an evaluation strategy needs to be created that measures how the tactics paid off.
With new media sites and digital advancements, it is becoming harder and harder to evaluate PR efforts (Business Matters, 2013). However, with new advancements in technology comes new ways of measuring as well. The three main categories of measurement are measurement of the output, the outcomes and the business results. Measurement of the outputs include impact on media and channels, measurement on outcomes shows the impact on the target group and measurement of business results includes the impact on the organization as a whole (Ketchum, n.d.).
Along with different categories of measurement, there are also different methods of measurement. Some of these include survey, media content analysis, and online metrics. Surveys are used mainly as a baseline measurement that shows the perspectives and attitudes of the audience for an organization before PR efforts are employed (Johnson, n.d.). Media content analysis includes the measurement of press coverage, mentions and circulation an organization gets due to campaign efforts (Johnson, n.d.). Finally, online metrics show web analytics- the most visited pages, which content gets the most attention and which advertisements are the most effective (Johnson, n.d.). Online metrics can be used on both websites and social media sites (Johnson, n.d.). In fact, in terms of evaluation, the same rules apply for traditional media as they do for social media (Ketchum, n.d.).
So, after the evaluation step is completed, you can decide if you need to continue with the PR process (aka restart the cycle all over again) or pat yourself on the back and watch as the results of your campaign pan out!
Business Matters. (2013, November 3). “Five Principles of a Good PR Campaign
Evaluation.” BusinessMatters. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
Ketchum Global and Research Analytics. (n.d.) “The Principles of PR Measurement.”
Ketchum. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
Johnson, K. S. (n.d.) “Evaluation Techniques used in a PR Campaign.” Chron. Retrieved
April 7, 2017.