Evaluation of public relations activities is important in measuring a firm’s success. PR professionals should, therefore, measure the outcome of PR activities against a client’s expected business goals. Each activity should be evaluated individually to ascertain its effectiveness. Various techniques are available to evaluate effectiveness of PR efforts.
A public relations professional can use key results areas to evaluate a PR campaign. Key results areas include metrics such as total sales, revenue and profits. Monitoring total sales prior to and after the campaign measures the effectiveness of the PR strategy. PR professionals can also use demographics specific to the company and campaign. For example, if the company’s objective is increasing the quantity of female clients to their business, then the PR efforts are evaluated against the set target.
A public relations practitioner can use surveys to evaluate public relations activities. Surveys gauge awareness and attitudes of the target audience of the PR campaign. A survey should be conducted prior to the PR campaign to establish existing perceptions and attitudes toward the organization. A post-campaign survey should then measure how successful the campaign was. PR professionals use surveys to assess effectiveness of the key message. If the company’s key message is to communicate a superior brand, then the survey results should reveal if the message was received as intended.
Another technique used in evaluating PR is media monitoring, which is done by measuring the number of times that an organization and the PR campaign message is covered in both print and broadcast media. A PR professional also needs to gauge if the PR message reached its target audience, which is achievable by evaluating the target audience of the media where your message appears and knowing the actual number of viewers or readers. Media monitoring is not only about press coverage but should be more focused on how effective the coverage is in achieving the client’s objectives.
Online analysis is also an evaluation technique used in PR. The PR professional should conduct a website and social media analysis prior and after the campaign. Use online analysis tools to establish the amount of traffic to the company’s site. Online analysis also includes social media such Facebook and Twitter. Get visits updates and use comments, both positive and negative, to gauge attitude and perceptions toward the organization. A PR professional can also use social media trends to evaluate the level of awareness -- for example, visibility of more comments about the organization on Facebook compared to prior the campaign.