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Chapter 8 March 22, 2009

Chapter 8 is about the evaluation stage of the program plan in Public Relations. The definition of evaluation given in the book  is the measurement of results against objectives. In order to have an evaluation, one must first have objectives. They will be used to evaluate success in obtaining the objectives. On average, about 4-5% of a public relations budget is put towards the evaluation stage. There are different levels of evaluation. On the most basic one, practitioners can measure message distribution and media placements. The next level, which is more sophisticated, measures audience awareness, comprehension, and retention of the message. The final and most advanced level is the measurement of changing attitudes, behavior, and opinions. Also involved in the evaluation process are the measurements of production, message exposure, audience awareness, audience attitudes, audience action, and supplemental activities.

Measurement of production:

Some examples of how this is done is by tabulating how many news releases, brochures, annual reports, etc. This is an estimate of employee’s productivity and output.

Measurement of message exposure:

Some methods are calculating media impressions (potential audience reached with a message), systematic tracking methods by using databases and software, percentage of key messages used, and the percentage of coverage related to the competition. At times, evaluation is also determined by researching the cost to reach each member of the target audience.

Measurement of audience awareness:

This process is used to find out the level of awareness and understanding the audience has of the message. This is usually measured through surveys.

Measurement of audience attitudes:

This is determined through a baseline or benchmark study. The awareness and opinions are measured before, during, and after a campaign.

Measurement of audience action:

This shows whether or not the campaign helped an organization achieve its goals through changing audience behavior, whether it involves sales, fund-raising, or the election of a candidate.

Measurement of supplemental activities:

Some methods are communcation audits ,pilot tests, split messages. Meeting and event attendance are measured by the number of people there and their attitudes. Newspaper readership can be evaluated by content analysis, interest surveys, advisory boards, and article recall.

All information is based off of the content from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (9th ed.) by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

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