Ch. 8- Evaluation

25 Oct

Text: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics-9th Edition-Wilcox, D. & Cameron, G.

Evaluation: the measurement of results against established objectives set during the planning process

Before any PR program can be evaluated, it is important to have an established set of measurable objectives

  1. PR personnel and management should agree on the criteria that will be used to evaluate success in attaining objectives
  2. Don’t wait until the end of the PR program to determine how it will be evaluated

Methods used for evaluating PR efforts:

  1. Measurement of production
    1. Number of news releases, feature stories, photos, letters, etc. produced
    2. Message exposure
      1. Compilation of print and broadcast mentions
      2. Monitor TV newscasts in major markets, local and national talk shows, Internet chat groups, podcasts, and even blogs
        1. i.     Media impressions- number of people reached by a periodical, a broadcast program, or an Internet Web site
        2. ii.     Hits on the internet- number of people reached via an organization’s Web Site
        3. iii.     Advertising Equivalency (AVE)
        4. iv.     Systematic Tracking
        5. v.     Requests and 800 numbers- Compile the number of requests for more information
        6. vi.     Return on Investment (ROI)- Determine cost of reaching each member of the audience
          1. Example: If an organization spends $500,000 on a campaign that results in a $20 million increase in sales, the ROI is 40 times the cost
      3. vii.     Audience Attendance- Counting audience at events
      4. Audience awareness
        1. Whether or not the audience actually became aware of the message and understood it
        2. Audience attitudes
          1. Baseline Study (aka benchmark studies)– measurement of audience attitudes and opinions before, during, and after a PR campaign. Show the percentage difference in attitudes and opinions as a result of increased information and publicity
          2. Audience action

Measurement of Supplemental Activities

  1. Communication Audits
    1. Analysis of all communication activities- newsletters, memos, policy statements, brochures, annual reports, position papers, mailing lists, media contacts, waiting lounges for visitors, and so on
    2. Informal interviews with rank-and-file employees and middle management top executives
    3. Informal interviews with community leaders, media gatekeepers, consumers, distributors, and other influential persons
    4. Pilot Tests and Split Messages
      1. Pilot tests- before going national with a PR message, companies often test the message and key copy points in select cities to learn how the media accept the message and how the public reacts
      2. Split-message- common in direct mail campaigns
      3. Meeting and Event Attendance
      4. Newsletter Readership
        1. Editors of newsletters should evaluate readership annually. Such an evaluation can help ascertain
          1. i.     Reader perceptions
          2. ii.     The degree to which stories are balanced
          3. iii.     The kinds of stories that have high reader interest
          4. iv.     Additional topics that should be covered
          5. v.     The credibility of the publication
          6. vi.     The extent to which the newsletter is meeting organizational objectives
  2. Content Analysis
  3. Readership Interest Surveys
  4. Article Recall
  5. Advisory Boards

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