Posts filed under ‘PR evaluation’
Evaluation of communication activities of international and non-governmental organisations: A 15 year systematic review
As part of my PhD studies, I have undertaken a systematic review of how international and non-governmental organisations are evaluating their communication activities. I’m presenting a summary of this today at the European Evaluation Society Conference in Helsinki, Finland. Below are the slides, hope you find them interesting.
There has been a lot written and researched on the impact of communications – but little thought on how to measure the impact of journalism – how can the media measure the impact of their work?
Two recent posts explore this issue:
Ethan Zuckerman writes about how to measure the civic impact of journalism and one conclusion is:
“A possible metric – the efficacy of a story in connecting people to community organizations, volunteering opportunities, and other forms of civic engagement.”
He goes on to conclude:
“If we measure only how many people view, like or tweet, but not how many people learn more, act or engage, we run the risk of serving only the market and forsaking our civic responsibilities, whether we’re editing a newspaper or writing a blog.”
Jonathan Stray writes about the metrics of journalism and says:
“The first challenge may be a shift in thinking, as measuring the effect of journalism is a radical idea. The dominant professional ethos has often been uncomfortable with the idea of having any effect at all, fearing “advocacy” or “activism.” While it’s sometimes relevant to ask about the political choices in an act of journalism, the idea of complete neutrality is a blatant contradiction if journalism is important to democracy. Then there is the assumption, long invisible, that news organizations have done their job when a story is published. That stops far short of the user, and confuses output with effect.”
Both posts make interesting reaading and propose useful ideas. Both posts come to similar conclusions: The need to go beyond output metrics and look at the impact of journalism on events, individuals and policies. There are also some interesting parallels that can be seen with advocacy evaluation - food for thought!
Spending on PR/communications in companies and organisations is flat – but spending on communication evaluation is up by 5%, according to a new study of senior-level PR/communication practitioners in the USA.
The USC Annenberg’s Generally Accepted Practices (GAP) for Public Relations study found that compared to 2009, total spending on evaluation in PR/communication budgets jumped from 4% to 9% in 2012 – even when some 80% of practitioners reported overall PR/communication budgets flat or decreasing.
The study also found a shift in focus towards “outcome” measures, such as influence on reputation, attitudes and awareness – and away from “output” measures such as clip counting/media coverage.
The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation has announced the programme for the 4th European Summit on Measurement, scheduled to be held in Dublin from 13-15 June 2012.
The Summit will include a day of workshops followed by two days of plenary sessions with guest speakers and panels.
I’ve written before about the challenges of evaluating communication products, i.e. brochures, videos, magazines and websites. Little systematic follow-up is done on these products that can often form key parts of larger communication programmes. Here is a very interesting guide from the health sector in this area: “Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services” (pdf). Although focused on the health area, the guide provides some insights on evaluating different levels concerning communication products, from reach to use and impact on an organisation.
Thanks to Jeff Knezovich writing on the On Think Tanks blog that brought this to my attention.
David Michaelson and Don W. Stacks have published a new article on the need for standardization in PR measurement and evaluation, here is a summary:
As the public relations profession continues to focus more and more on outcomes associated with campaigns or public relations initiatives the question of standards has shifted to the forefront of discussions among and between professionals, academics, and research providers. Making this shift even more important to establishing impact on business goals and objectives is the fact that standardized measures for public relations activities have never been recognized. Unlike other marketing communications disciplinesi, public relations practitioners have consistently failed to achieve consensus on what the basic evaluative measures are or how to conduct the underlying research for evaluating and measuring public relations performance.
The annual North American Summit on communication/PR measurement is coming up in September 2011:
Since it began in 2003, the North American Summit on Public Relations Measurement has enjoyed an international reputation for being one of the world’s leading annual conferences about research, measurement and evaluation in communications and public relations.
Each year this event features a number of unique, hands-on pre-conference workshops along with a day and a half of superb program sessions focusing on how measurement is being used effectively throughout the communications industry. This measurement summit is also noted for having several superb networking events where attendees have opportunities to exchange insights with international experts.
Through lectures, case studies and interactive discussions led by some of the world’s most noted measurement experts, the North American Summit on Public Relations Measurement annually exposes conference delegates to innovations, methodologies and best practices from some of the world’s most successful public relations measurement programs.
Angela Sinickas, a US-based communications evaluation expert is conducting a one day workshop on measuring communications (with a focus on internal communications) in London.
I’ve had the good fortune to participate in a workshop with Angela and she does have an immense knowledge and experience in communications evaluation.
date: 30 November 2010
cost: 545-595 £
location: Broadway House, London.
This event is organised by Melcrum Publishing.
(This blog has no commercial connections to Melcrum or Angela – it just looks like an excellent workshop!).
I’m just reading my copy of the new publication “A Practitioner’s Guide to Public Relations Research, Measurement and Evaluation“. The book, by Drs. Stacks and Michaelson is a no-nonsense guide to PR measurement and evaluation that’s well worth a read. I like how they stress the importance of “measurable” objectives and endeavour to move the focus from measuring “outputs” to “outcomes”. They recommend three steps essential for evaluating PR and communication programmes, that I summarise as follows:
- Set clear and well defined research objectives
- Apply rigorous research design that enables reliable research results
- Provide detailed documentation with full transparency
I couldn’t agree more…
Please note, this blog has no commercial interest in this publication, we just believe it’s a good read!