Posted by: loveleigh | March 30, 2009

Ch. 8: Evaluate

According to the textbook Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (9th edition), Evaluation is the 4th step in the PR process.

There are certain evaluation questions that every PR practitioner should ask, they include:

  • Was the activity or program adequately planned?
  • Did the recipients of the message understand it?
  • How could the program strategy have been more effective?
  • Were all primary and secondary audiences reached?
  • Was the desired organizational objective achieved?
  • What unforeseen circumstances affected the success of the program or activity?
  • Did the program or activity fall within the budget set for it?
  • What steps can be taken to improve the success of similar future activities?

The most widely used methods for evaluating PR efforts include:

  1. Measurement of Production– one form of evaluating production is to count how many news releases, feature stories, photos, letters, and such are produced in a given period of time. However some people do not believe this is effective because it measures quantity not quality.
  2. Message Exposure- the most widely practiced form of evaluating PR programs is to scan and compile print and broadcast mentions. Other ways to measure message exposure is measuring hits on the internet, advertising equivalency, systematic tracking, return on investment, and audience attendance.
  3. Audience Awareness- one way to measure if the audience actually became aware of the message and understood it is to conduct a survey. Members of the target audience must be asked about the message and what they remember about it.
  4. Audience Attitudes- a major technique to measure the changes in audience’s perceptions and attitudes is the baseline study.  this study measures the audience’s attitudes and opinions before, during, and after a PR campaign. The study then graphically shows the percentage difference in the attitudes and opinions.
  5. Audience Action- The ultimate objective of a company is to sell its products and services, not to get 200 million internet hits,so PR efforts are ultimately are evaluated on how they help an organization achieve its objectives.

All this information is provided by Public Relations : Strategies and Tactics (9th edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

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