BUS565-M1D1: Public Relations Can Be Measured

Public relations efforts by an organization will be difficult to measure results, unless there is a process with measurable objectives.  The traditional successes of PR word of mouth, getting published, placement or reach are not quantifiable.  Setting measurable goals to align with a business strategy is critical to fully execute a public relations campaign.  Predetermined goals communicate with the team, create a sense of purpose, and determine accomplishment (Anderson, Hadley, Rockland, & Weiner 2009).   It comes down to data, creating objectives and establishing qualitative results to track.  PR superstar, and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins’ Shonali Burke, will have you ask:  “why are you investing time and money into your campaign?”


Communication aims need to be “specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”. Using the goals of a company as a guide, one example is “to increase company awareness from 5 % to 8% over three years”.  Then only those metrics important to that project are pertinent (Anderson, et al, 2009).  An ‘output’ is the first level of measurement only, similar to gathering “friends or fans” on Facebook.  This does not meet any business objectives. An analyst would have no idea of how the number of ‘fans’ increased ROI.  Impressions and gaining followers on Twitter aren’t very strategic (Communication Measurement, 2015).  Create a relationship with your fans so they will take action!



Three Considerations by Institute of PR

According to Paine, Draper & Jeffrey (2008), the points are well known outcome measures among PR professionals:

  1. An output result comes from press releases, sponsored events, promo material, and the web.
  2. An outcome is a measurement of what audiences responded to like ‘retweets’ and customer surveys. It does not measure ROI, it is only the result of an output.
  3. Business results aligning with the organizational goals such as saving money, an improved process, employee turnover, sales, stock prices.  These results are all due to outputs and outcomes.

Measurement in social media intertwines with public relations communication efforts.  Social media is all about relationships, and so is public relations.  Measurement methods can be used to solve issues in companies. Communication outputs in mainstream and social media are coded for analysis to keep up with standards and best practices. Coding sheets are used to assign how important factors can affect the relationship. Tone for example, can have a positive, neutral or negative impact on viewer’s opinions.  Having a company’s selling points mentioned in a blog review scores high.  Defining the audience a company, and having media quote an executive scores even higher in coding (Jackson, 2015).


Anderson, F. W. (2009, September). Guidelines for Setting Measurable Public Relations Objectives: An Update. Retrieved from Institute for PPR: http://www.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/Setting_PR_Objectives.pdf

Communication Measurement. (2015, Aug 25). Retrieved from https://mycourses.excelsior.edu/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_50263_1&content_id=_2296310_1&framesetWrapped=true

Paine, K. D. (Jan). Institute for PR. Retrieved from http://www.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/UsingResearch_DriveBusiness.pdf


About Professor Pepe

family man and marketing professor; sports, hard rock, pets, weightlifting & taekwondo enthusiast
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