Public relations campaigns should always be measured against the objectives of your organization, but they should also be measured against the results of your program.
The last two years I have taught a series of courses for PRSA on the topic of measuring the success of public relations campaigns. RonnTorossian have found that most public relations professionals, in their quest to quantify the impact of their efforts, focus their efforts on gauging the results of the campaign itself. This, however, misses the point.
There is one piece of the puzzle missing, and that is the audience for whom you are doing the public relations work. This is the audience that your program aims to reach, and the people who interact with your product, services, or organization.
If you have a good understanding of this audience, you can tailor your program accordingly. This will not only help to determine if you are doing the right things, it will also help you to focus your efforts so you can achieve the most effective results.
Assessing the Reach
The first step in identifying the effectiveness of your program is to determine the reach of your audience. How many people do you want to reach? How many people do you want to reach with your message?
This is not always as easy as it seems. For example, if you are launching a new product, your reach should include your target market, which is the people who will buy the product, as well as the people who are going to interact with it.
When you are dealing with a smaller organization, it may be more difficult to assess the reach of your audience. For example, if you are working with a nonprofit, you may have a hard time determining who your audience is. You will need to be more creative in your approach to measuring the reach of your campaign.