Module JP060

PR Performance Measurement
and Evaluation


Module author

Simon Goldsworthy

University of Richmond

Learning objectives After you have worked through this study material, you will be able to:
  • Define public relations measurement and evaluation is, and what it means to measure output, outtake and outcome;
  • Use measurement and evaluation techniques;
  • Measure the financial value of PR;
  • Understand the special features of measuring and evaluating PR activity involving social and other online media;
  • Discuss the difficulties with which PR measurement and evaluation is confronted;
  • Consider the current state of PR measurement and evaluation and possible future issues.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: What is measured and evaluated
2.1 PR planning
2.2 Measuring Output
2.3 Measuring Outtake and the Use of Market Research Techniques
2.4 Measuring Outcome

Chapter 3: Media Measurement and Evaluation Techniques
3.1 Issues about who does it and how it is done
3.2 Measuring the Financial Value of PR work
3.3 Advertising Value Equivalents

Chapter 4: Measuring and Evaluating Social and other Online Media

Chapter 5: Outcomes and obstacles to PR performance measurement and evaluation
5.1 Cost
5.2 Confusion
5.3 Containment
5.4 Speed
5.5 "Everyone's an expert"
5.6 Beyond the media

Chapter 6: Methodology
Study points 2
Reading extract PR Performance Measurement and Evaluation


Why Open School of Journalism believes that PR performance measurement and evaluation is important

For professionals in the public relations industry and for companies who rely on efficient PR strategies, it is essential to have the tools to accurately measure and evaluate how a brand or an individual's public relations are handled. PR Performance Measurement and Evaluation is the critical analysis of the effectiveness of PR strategies or campaigns at delivering intended results. The two halves of this field are equally vital, with accurate and useful measurement of PR just as critical as the evaluation of all the relevant data.

The topic of PR performance measurement and evaluation is above all relevant to professionals specializing in the field of public relations. In addition, businesses that rely heavily on how their public relations and adjacent fields to PR, such as marketing, can enormously benefit by understanding how their public relations are being handled. Given the rapid share of information and the omnipresence of today's medial environment, favorable PR practices are more important than ever to a company's success. The shifting relationship between journalists and PR departments in the spread of accurate and useful information also requires that PR professionals regularly advance their knowledge of the industry. Perhaps more than any other single tool, learning how to evaluate one's own PR performance is critically useful to developing strategies for any media climate. As the landscape shifts, PR professionals regularly need to adjust how they approach their work and draw on new tools to ensure continuing success. However, a fundamental understanding of accurate measurement and evaluation can offer eternal aid, helping you to constructively criticize your work and continually improve it.

Students in the module "PR Performance Measurement and Evaluation" will gain a number of concrete skills, which can be translated to any aspect of public relations work. Firstly, the module will prepare you to consider exactly what is meant by "public relations measurement and evaluation" is. You will understand the essentials of the field, understanding for example what it means to measure output, outtake and outcome. In addition, you will study the various techniques used in PR measurement and evaluation. You will learn to critically review the various techniques and understand their relative benefits and drawbacks, as well as the particular issues that different techniques raise. In addition, you will consider the potential limits on how accurately one can measure the financial value of PR. You will specifically learn the special features that characterize PR measuring and evaluating, when social and online media are involved. You will review the particular difficulties that PR professionals face in attempting to measure and evaluate PR strategies. Finally, you will compare PR measurement and evaluation today with any likely changes or issues facing the practice in the near future.


Overview of the module

The module "PR Performance Measurement and Evaluation" consists of six main units, which cover everything from PR planning stages to measuring financial value of PR work.

The course unit will begin with an introductory unit, in which students will familiarize themselves with the guiding principles of performance measurement and evaluation, as well as the overall landscape of public relations today.

In the second chapter, students will move on to asking the question: "What is measured and evaluated?" Students will need to reference and to deepen their fundamental understanding of the aims and scope of public relations. In so doing, they will learn to identify the phenomena most worthy of measurement and evaluation, both for qualitative and for quantitative analysis. This phase of the class breaks further down into four main units: PR planning; measuring output; measuring outtake (and using market research techniques); and measuring outcome. Students will learn how each aspect of measurement influences their overall findings.

The third chapter of the module, Media Measurement and Evaluation Techniques, introduces students to a range of various techniques. In this phase, students will learn to appreciate how various techniques provide information differently. Unit three breaks further down into three individual sections. The first section focuses on who does measurement and evaluation and how they perform the task. In this part of the class, students will learn the possible relationship between the particular parties carrying out the analysis and the techniques they adopt. In the next section, student will learn about the possibilities for quantitatively measuring the financial value of PR work. They will learn techniques for analyzing financial value as well as the potential limitations of truly gauging financial gain. Finally, students will complete the third unit with a study of advertising value equivalents.

In chapter 4, students will focus on the tools for measuring and evaluating social and other online media. This unit will cover the unique methods of evaluation afforded by various popular social media platforms. Students will also critically consider how these forms of evaluation compare with their ability to measure and evaluate other aspects of public relations, and the implications and issues raised by this difference.

In the fifth chapter of the course unit, students will focus on the outcomes of measurement and evaluation as well as the obstacles blocking its success. This unit will cover the "Three C's": cost, confusion and containment. For example, students will become familiar with the costs typically associated with measurement and evaluation and the potential cost-related obstacles to sufficient analysis. Students will also learn about the factor of speed, and how the timeframe of analysis can impede or enhance its likelihood of success. Students will gain an introduction, too, to the "Everyone's an expert" phenomenon, and learn strategies for moving beyond it.

Finally, the sixth chapter of the module will focus on methodology. Students will learn all the practical steps they need to take to ensure that measurement and evaluation analyses are carried out accurately and efficiently. In essence, this element of the module teaches students to evaluate their measurement and evaluation abilities.

While PR Performance Measurement and Evaluation may seem like a complex theme for novices in the field, in fact it plays a key role in providing effective and competent public relations work. Not only does measurement and evaluation help PR professionals to maintain and uplift their own standards of work. It also serves a critical role in attracting new clients and assuring current clients of the value of your PR work. For businesses who employ PR firms or have in-house PR strategists, it's equally useful to stay informed of the nuts and bolts of the business. In the 21st century, public relations are more central than ever to a company's overall commercial appeal and success. However, surprisingly few companies are equipped to effectively evaluate the work of their public relations departments. Whether internally or externally, regular analysis should be carried out in accordance with the most appropriate and far-reaching techniques. By taking a module devoted to the subject, PR experts and other professionals can ensure they are up-to-date on the best practices and understand their implications.