The final piece of a PR plan, the evaluation, must include three components: visibility, engagement and influence.
Even the best of us have rushed through this stage on occasion, providing infomercial-like feedback. But such feedback not only depreciates your work, it provides no real substantial evidence of the impact your strategies and tactics have had on relevant publics and an organization’s bottom line. By incorporating the following tips and using the accompanying checklists, PR will have a much greater impact in your organization.
It’s important to make sure you are taking strategic steps to bring awareness to your organization’s brand and image. Although the communications industry continues to debate the value of media impressions and advertising value equivalency (AVE) measurements, it’s important to include this data in your evaluation.
Besides the fact that organizations still like to see their good news in the media, media impressions and AVEs are still a good way to provide quantitative feedback, especially in terms of dollars saved. However, it’s vital that while including this data you remain strategic and provide substance. Do this by not only measuring the number of potential viewers that saw the coverage, but also by making sure that a large percentage of those viewers were part of your target audience.
The first step to accomplishing this is to identify media outlets that complement your target audiences. For example, while the city newspaper may reach a larger audience, community newspapers will reach your specific target audience if your target audience is community members.
â–¶ Measuring Media Coverage: Also, remember to maximize your media coverage. Thanks to today’s myriad digital platforms, we can share information with important stakeholders faster and more easily. This helps us become more effective and efficient in our visibility efforts. Tactics can include placing news clips in newsletters, posting on social media outlets (which have excellent tools to measure visibility) or featuring the article in a company blog.
Is media coverage a little slow? Use this as an opportunity to tell your own story by creating the content yourself and sharing it through the above-mentioned outlets. This is a great way to achieve visibility for your campaign through word-of-mouth.
Measuring Visibility, a Checklist
|Did you identify media markets that complement your target audience?|
|Did you include the number of media clippings and ad value equivalency
|Did a large percentage of your primary audience see your media coverage?|
|Did you include this percentage in your evaluation?|
|Was the information shared with stakeholders?|
|Does your evaluation include the number of individuals it was shared with?|
|Does your evaluation include social media measurements?|
Measuring Engagement, a Checklist
|Did you receive comments on social media posts?|
|Did you get key influencers to support your goals?|
|Did key influencers share your goals and encourage support from others?|
|Did you receive media coverage from an influential media source?|
|Did an editorial board support your plan?|
|Did you hold an event and note the number of attendees?|
|Did surveys indicate high levels of support from attendees?|
|Were attendees pleased with the event?|
|Were you able to get an opinion piece printed in the local newspaper?|
|Were you able to position your client as an expert on your topic?|
|Did you join the conversation by commenting or sharing
someone else’s post (relevant to the goals of your plan)?
Measuring Influence, a Checklist
|Did you include measurable goals in your plan?|
|Did you monitor and note shifts in attitudes and behaviors after a media
interview, event or endorsement?
|Did you monitor shifts in product sales, share sales, market share, etc.?|
Effective engagement throughout your campaign will help you measure attitudes and perspectives, and get a clear indication of what worked well—and not so well. By incorporating strategies and tactics that promote two-way communications with key publics, you increase your chances of having a successful PR plan while also adding value to your evaluation with both quantitative and qualitative measurements. To engage with key publics, simply start the conversation or become part of the conversation.
And sometimes, it’s our job to start the discussion. By engaging community, opinion or business leaders in your conversation you build alliances, obtain endorsements, increase your social network and create buzz around your campaign. Pitching to the media and/or editorial boards is another way to start conversations. When successful, your plan becomes a part of the public agenda.
Once you’ve incorporated visibility tactics and engaged your key public, it’s time to measure influence. While it’s good to include goals that change attitudes and behaviors, it’s important to also include measurable objectives that relate directly to your client’s or organization’s bottom line.
For example, branding or rebranding campaigns may motivate publics to connect more to the organization or product through customer loyalty, influence legislators to support a bill or attract highly qualified applicants. All these things relate directly to revenue and/or cost-savings by increases in product sales, share prices, market shares or employee retention.
Another benefit to making sure your media outlet complements your target audience and engages influencers to support your plan is that it increases your chances of motivating change. In other words, by using the appropriate channel to communicate to your audience, it increases your chances of accomplishing your goal to create or influence change.
It’s important to monitor shifts in attitudes and behaviors after a media interview, event or endorsement and include that data in your evaluation.
Remember, among other things, public relations is about adding value to your company’s brand. Visibility, engagement and influence are important values and shouldn’t be overlooked in the evaluation section. In essence, don’t sell yourself short. Show your worth. PRN
This article was written by Shalimar Blakely, founder and president of A Peace of PR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.