Aubia Communications

Weigh it Out: Evaluation in Public Relations

Weigh it Out: Evaluation in Public RelationsThe final step in the four-step Strategic Communications process is evaluating what you’ve implemented. In this stage, you will measure your results against your objectives to determine if your work has paid off. You can go on to use this assessment as research for improvements and adjustments in the next phase of the plan.

Why should I evaluate?

Measurement in Public Relations has exploded onto the scene in the past few years, starting with the development of the Barcelona Principles. These seven standards set forth how evaluation in Public Relations should be done, and AVEs are no longer it. Measurement tools have also become more advanced, and there are entire firms dedicated to evaluation.

To be effective, you must be able to show how your research, planning and implementation provided ROI for the organization’s bottom line. Gone is the day where Public Relations was just about tactics and that was enough; now you must prove the worth of your work and justify budgets to clients and executives.

How do I evaluate? 

Evaluation methods need to match what you’re measuring in your objectives, and your research at the beginning of the plan provides the baseline for this appraisal. Evaluation can be as simple as monitoring the requests for more information via a dedicated hotline to as sophisticated as analyzing conversion of blog readers into engaged customers.

Monitoring

In evaluating your results, you will need to set up a system to observe feedback you are receiving. This can be done by viewing comments made on posts to social media platforms (it’s the engagement that counts, not the “likes”), requests for more information, determining if key messages are appearing in media pieces and being shared, and other actions that can guide you in building relationships with your targeted audiences/publics.

Analyzing

From that feedback, you can then go on to examine what the data is telling you. Do you need to adjust a tactic? Are your key messages resonating with your audiences/publics? Did your spokesperson come across as authentic? Your system needs to identify how your strategies and tactics are affecting your audiences/publics. This can be done by assessing increases/decreases in particular behaviors you aimed for, changes in opinion and attitudes toward your organization, and generating more brand recognition.

Testing

Using the most scientific of methods, you can follow up your research methods with an after action report. This would require you to re-test your methods to document any changes. For example, if you conducted a survey with 300 people about their level of awareness of your brand before you began the Strategic Communications plan, you would need to re-survey these same 300 respondents after the implementation period to assess their awareness level after your efforts.

Evaluation in Public Relations is essential to proving the worth of your work to the bottom line. Without assessing what your plan accomplished, you can’t know what worked and what needs improvement for the future. How would you best evaluate your efforts?

photo credit: London Permaculture via photopin cc

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One Comment to "Weigh it Out: Evaluation in Public Relations"

  1. […] actively engaging with you on your platforms? Are you providing value to your customers? There are many ways to evaluate your progress, from the amount of business inquiries coming through social media networks to […]

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