What are some of the critical measurements that all PR campaigns should include? How would you measure such things as campaign expenditure, timelines and results? Should this measurement/evaluation take place throughout the campaign or only at the end? Why? Give at least two references to illustrate your post (250-300 words only).
Evaluation is a critical component of public relations campaigns as it can confirm whether or not the campaign was successful and show financers and management that the campaign has been worthwhile (CQUniversity 2016). Wilcox, Cameron and Reber (2013) suggest that an evaluation should be conducted after each step of the campaign to ensure the strategy is still relevant to the needs of the target public. Through doing this the campaign remains flexible enough to accommodate any unforseen circumstances involving the target public, management or product itself (Wicox et al. 2013).
It is critical to measure the effectiveness of the key message. There are three ways to do this; message exposure, understanding and retention (CQUniversity 2016). These can be measured through using qualitative and quantitative evaluations. Message exposure is a quantitative measure that will result in a numerical value of how many times a message was distributed; however, this will not measure the target publics reaction or understanding of the message (CQUniversity 2016).
The second method of evaluating the key message is measuring message understanding. Both qualitative and quantitative measurement techniques can be used depending on the campaign’s objective. And the final form of measurement is retention – this can be used to compare the target publics understanding before and after the campaign (Wiclox et al. 2013).
According to Watson and Noble (2014) campaign expenditure is a critical element of the evaluation. Financers and managers need to see that the public relations campaign was worth the investment. If the public relations professional can not validate with facts that the campaign has improved the company’s reputation the upper management will not be impressed, potentially leaving the public relations practitioner without future projects (Watson & Noble 2014).
CQUniversity 2016, COMM11110 Introduction to Public Relations, Module 7: study guide, CQUniversity, Rockhampton. E-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/
Gomes, M 2013, ‘
Watson, T, & Noble, P 2014, Evaluating public relations : a guide to planning, research and measurement, London, [England] : Kogan Page, 2014.
Wilcox, DL, Cameron, GT, Reber, B & Shin, J 2013, THINK Public Relations, 2013 edition, Pearson.