How to Evaluate a PR Plan
Often, one of the most important steps in PR, the evaluation, is overlooked. Use these steps and guidelines as an aid to this overwhelming procedure and discover that although it may be time consuming, it also will steer any green professional the right way.
Separate all the press/media communication that is being used into categories:
- Trade magazines,
- Newspapers (Daily),
- Newspapers (Weekly),
- (Any other means you or your company may be using)
- This will allow an easier way to control and follow up on the coverage in each section.
Follow up on the media coverage mentioned above.Each section will have published the stories, interviews, images, press releases, stories, company profiles, events and any other information you pitched to the press. Now that the sections are separated, it will be easier to follow up on.
Take surveys.Surveys of not only customers alone but of prospects or of browsing individuals as well. Surveys can be posted on the company’s website or can be taken by specific websites offering this service.
Compare sales from previous year/month /quarter.The PR plan should be put in action before or in the beginning of a sales period (if any) in order to compare. The same goes for when a new product or service is being introduced to the market. Your effort will go in vain if your timing isn’t right.
Count the number of customers and compare from previous year/month/quarter.
Ask clients and visitors where they heard of you.
Use a Media Analysis Program.There are a few websites that offer this service.
Count the web-stats.
- Counting the visitors of the company’s website also determines the awareness the PR plan/program has created.
Collect clippings of published images, reports, interviews and all the above.
- Creating a collection of all the coverage will allow a wider perspective of what has been done and covered.
- When separating the media communication, it is recommended to then separate it by region and target group. If there was more coverage in a specific place/target group and the business or company has gained more “attention” in that area, than you know what works.
- When sending out information to the media, it is best to take the time and address each journalist/editor/contact individually and personally.
- Little tricks like using quality paper, colored envelopes, little gift giveaways and any other attention to detail will help you get noticed and not shoved aside.
- After each pitch to the media, follow up with a phone call (2-3 days later).
- When organizing your pitches to the media, let them know about the time frame. Getting all the publications/pitches published around the same time will have a stronger effect on the results.
- If you do not know your target audience or your public, you’re effort will be ineffective. Know the public you are reaching out to.
- Do not get caught up in gaining new customers alone. Once you neglect the ones already loyal to you there is a risk you will lose them.
- Sales and profits do not depend entirely on PR efforts. There are many more factors involved such as distribution, prices, and change in quality of the service or product.
- In order to be able to give accurate results and to evaluate or measure the specific program/plan, the time frame must be respected. If the time frame you have set isn’t regarded, the plan will most likely either fail or not deliver entirely.
Video: Why and how do you evaluate your PR campaign? - Catherine Luckhoff
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