How does evaluation improve Public Relations? According to Dennis L. Wilcox, author of Think: Public Relations, “The desire to do a better job next time is a major reason for evaluation public relations efforts, etc” ( 2013, p.127). In order for the evaluation process to benefit a Public Relations campaign there are a multiple “measurement questions” to touch on after the campaign (2013, p.127). For example, did the planning of the campaign go as planned? This question seems to be the most basic but it also very vital in the evaluation because if the campaign didn’t go as planned something substantial went wrong. Next, did the target audience grasp the main idea of the campaign? In order for the campaign to be successful it is necessary that the target audience recognized and followed the essence of the campaign.
Another important question to ask would be if anything unanticipated happened that affected the campaign in a positive or negative way? Obviously life happens and there is almost always something unanticipated that happens but what I believe to be most important is how it was dealt with in the heat of the moment. If it was negative, did the campaign group handle the situation in a calm and efficient manner? Next the question that everyone dreads, did the campaign stay under or at the set budget? “People want to know if the money, time, and effort expended on public relations are well spent and how those efforts contribute to the realization of an organizational objective” (Wilcox, 2013, p.127). This can be difficult depending on what type of budget you’re dealing with, obviously it’s more difficult with a smaller budget and even more important to be accurate.
Last but not least, what can you do better next time? If anything, making mistakes can help you learn and do better the second time around. Another way to measure what could be improved is to do survey involving the participants of the campaign. This way you receive another perspective to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign. “Evaluation should be a proactive, forward-looking process of continuous systematic gathering of information used to plan future activities more effectively”(IMPACT, 2013) In order to fully understand what went wrong and what you can improve next time, evaluation is necessary.
Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-hwa. (2013). THINK: Public Relations. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
IMPACT. Evaluation Public Relations Marketing Campaigns. IMPACT! Reputation Management and PR. IMPACT!—Public Relations & Reputation Management. Retrieved September 11, 2013 from http://www.impactpr.net/evaluating-pr-marketing-campaigns/