In today’s economic climate most companies are constantly under pressure to justify PR campaigns and programs.
One of the reasons is that in some circumstances, it can be hard to document a direct correlation between a PR campaign and a tangible outcome.

When a campaign is supported by both marketing and PR initiatives, it can be difficult to determine which of the two impacted the sales numbers. However, if PR is the sole driver of a campaign it’s easier to see the direct outcome of your campaign.

This is assuming we are talking about a campaign designed to promote the uptake of a certain product. The real challenge in measuring PR comes when the aim of the game is to influence opinion and behaviour i.e. not to do something (stop smoking) or to do something more often (get a pap-smear test).

Because businesses have regarded marketing and PR as closely related disciplines, for a while it was the norm to measure the success of a PR campaign looking at advertising-value equivalencies (AVEs).

These days, AVEs are no longer recommended as a credible measurement method. If you are a member of the national public relations body (PRIA), you can read about the best practice guidelines for evaluating campaigns on the PRIA website here. 

As the PR discipline is maturing, so is the sophistication of PR measurement. To help increase the understanding and implementation of PR measurement, the PRCA, ICCO and AMEC have launched “The PR professionals Definitive Guide to Measurement which can be accessed on your PC, tablet and smartphone.

This great resource can be used by PR professionals at any level and will elevate the understanding of best practice in evaluating campaigns.

Measurement should never be considered an optional extra as it is a strategic discipline that helps PR professionals to prove the value of their work.

VIVA! PR Director Melissa Chlad, lists her top three tips for measuring PR:

  1. Measuring the outcomes of a behavioural change campaign can be tricky – always start with benchmark data and allow adequate time for the change to set in before you measure the outcome
  2. Be clear about the goals set out by the client, these goals will affect the type of benchmark data needed and influence the approach to post-campaign measurement (qualitative, quantitative or mixed-method)
  3. Learn from each experience and be flexible in your approach. No two clients or campaigns are the same.