Chapter 8 Evaluation

April 5, 2009 whitneychilds

The fourth step of the public relations process is evaluation, which is the measurement of results against established objectives set during the planning process.

Objectives should be part of any program plan. There must be agreed-upon criteria used to evaluate success in obtaining these objectives. A couple of basic evaluation questions any practitioner should ask are: “Was the activity or program adequately planned?”, “Did recipients of the message understand it?”, “How could the program strategy have been more effective?”.

Five sections outline the most widely used methods for evaluating public relations efforts: 1)measurement of production, 2)message exposure, 3)audience awareness, 4)audience attitudes and 5)audience action.

Measurement of Production is simply how to count how many news releases, feature stories, photos, letters are produced in a given period of time.  Another side of the production approach is to specify what the public relations person should accomplish in obtaining media coverage.

Measure of Message Exposure is the most widely practiced form of evaluating public relations programs and is considered the compilation of print and broadcast mentions.

Media Impressions are the potential audience reached by a periodical, a broadcast program, or an Internet Web site. Media Impressions are commonly used in advertising to document the breadth of penetration of a particular message.

Measurement of Audience Awareness is a higher level of evaluation used to determine whether the audience actually became aware of the message and understood it.

Measurement of Audience Attitudes uses a baseline study to determine changes in an audience’s perceptions and attitudes.   Baseline studies graphically show the percentage difference in attitudes and opinions as a result of increased information and publicity.

Measurement of Audience Action states the ultimate objective of an public relations effort is to accomplish organizational objectives.

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Entry Filed under: Chapter Summary

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