In my career, I have learnt that setting goals and objectives, measuring and evaluating results for any project or activity that I undertake is very important. Goal setting and measurement are fundamental aspects of any public relations program. Goals should be as quantitative as possible and address who, what, when and how much the public relations program is intended to affect. Measurement should take a holistic approach, including representative traditional and social media changes in awareness among key stakeholders comprehension, attitude and behaviour as applicable and effect on business results. The following points need to be put in consideration in PR goal setting and measurement:
- Measuring the effects on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs. Outcomes includes shift in awareness, comprehension, attitude and behaviour related to purchase donations, brand equity, corporate reputation, employee engagement, public policy, investment decisions and other shifts in stakeholders regarding a company, Non Governmental Organization, government or entity as well as the stakeholders own beliefs and behaviours.
- The effect on business results should be measured where possible. To measure business results from consumer or brand marketing models that determines the effects of the quantity and quality of public relations outputs on sales or other business metrics, while accounting for other variables are a preferred choice.
- Media measurement requires quantity and quality. Impressions among the stakeholders or audiences. In media measurement you should know the source of content (print, broadcast, internet, and consumer generated media) along with criteria used for collection. The analysis of the methodology should be carried out. For example whether human or automated tone scale, reach to target and content analysis parameters.
- In public relations measurement, the level and effects of social media can and should be measured.. Organisations need clearly defined goals and outcomes for social media. Media content analysis should be supplemented by web and search analytics, sales and CRM data, survey data and other methods. Evaluating quality and quantity is essential just as its with the conventional media. Measurement must focus on conversation and communities not just coverage.
Remember that PR measurement should be done in a manner that is transparent and replicable for all steps in the process including specifity. Understanding reach and influence is important and consistent enough to be reliable. In any project or activity, experimentation and testing are key to success.