Begin at the end - a guide to evaluating success

To become an evaluation pro you should channel your inner J.K. Rowling – it’s widely believed that she wrote the last chapter of Harry Potter before any of the books were even published to keep her on track. She knew where she was heading.

The same goes for PR. Plan ahead. Know what you want to achieve, set those targets and reach them. Hell, exceed them if you can!

Imagine the scenario – you’ve just completed a cracking PR campaign for your client but they’re struggling to see the value past the outputs and asks you what it means for their company…what do you do?

  1. Crumble
  2. Stutter through a shaky AVE document
  3. Blag it while secretly wishing you didn’t need to provide evidence
  4. Smile and whip out an evaluation report, complete with campaign measurement and ROI as agreed before the campaign began

Hopefully most reading will have gone for D. Measurement is becoming increasingly important to the PR industry. Clients want to be impressed with measurable results and see a clear return on investment.

It’s no longer enough to just say “we think the campaign was a success.” We need to set and reach KPIs for each campaign to show off our efforts. Self-made targets can be difficult to agree – aim too high and you’re setting yourself up for a fall, but aim too low and another agency could swoop in to say they can do better.

To some, measurement may seem like witchcraft and wizardry. With a seemingly endless list of metrics that can be measured, finding the ones that work best for you can feel daunting. However, there are now so many monitoring and evaluation tools available it is a far less laborious (and magical!) task.

Below is a list (but by no means a complete one!) of metrics that can be measured.

  1. Pieces of coverage secured
  2. Quality of coverage
  3. Client mention
  4. Website mentions
  5. Expert quoted
  6. Images used
  7. Amount of air time
  8. Number of links to the website
  9. Website hits
  10. Returning visitors
  11. New visitors
  12. In store traffic
  13. Sales
  14. Enquiries
  15. Time spent on the website
  16. Number of people attending event
  17. Social media followers
  18. Social media posts
  19. Number of likes
  20. Social media engagement
  21. Sentiment value
  22. Likely reach
  23. Number of downloads (app, whitepaper, e-book etc.)

Whatever you chose, set your KPIs in advance of any campaign but remember to keep it simple with our golden rule: only measure what matters.