What after AVE, or how to reliably measure PR activities?

It is part and parcel of a PR professional's job to constantly improve his or her competence. Only by doing so are we able to ensure that the actions we take are effective and tailored to the needs of our clients. We also cannot ignore important industry discussions that may have an impact on the entire PR market in Poland. That is why on Friday, 15 September, the entire Good One PR team took part in a training session entitled 'Measuring the effectiveness of Public Relations activities', conducted by Anna Miotk, an expert in this field.

During the full-day training, an expert shared her extensive knowledge of measuring Public Relations activities with our team. The training placed a strong emphasis on the practical part, during which we evaluated already implemented PR campaigns and, based on the acquired knowledge, we built an action strategy from scratch and developed measurable goals along with the methods of measuring them. We left the training richer in new, useful information that will help us work even better for our clients.

Below, we share the most important conclusions of the meeting:

  • Measurement of PR activities should already be considered at the strategy development stage - rather than after the project has been completed. First, however, it is necessary to set measurable objectives for the activities, which a thorough baseline analysis. It is about gathering as much data as possible to build up a picture of the Customer's current situation. Important information includes, among other things, those concerning the target group of the communication (what media they consume, their current level of knowledge about the client and its products), the current situation of the company (e.g. changing consumer trends, changes in the legal environment) and the effects of the communication activities to date. It is only with such knowledge that the PR professional is able to set achievable goals. It is also necessary to constantly verify the veracity of the information collected, because according to the IT maxim 'Garbage IN, Garbage OUT', the worse the input data, the more difficult it is to plan a measurable PR strategy.
  • The measure of a well-defined communication objective is, above all, its precision. At the heart of its creation is a good operationalisation of concepts (e.g. with which values we will define brand awareness in the audience), which makes it possible to accurately measure change (in this case, an increase in awareness) in a specific time frame. The important thing is that, after a well-executed baseline analysis, the target should be set at a level that is challenging, but at the same time achievable (e.g. a 5 per cent increase in spontaneous brand awareness in the target audience over a six-month period). The SMART method helps to set goals correctly, which specifies all the conditions that a measurable objective should meet.
  • It is basic knowledge for any PR professional that the results of their work are not immediately visible but are the result of a process. However, it is important to know, what stages make up such a process and that each stage can - and should - be measured with specific tools. For example, the immediate impact of distributing a press release about a competition will be the publications that appear, which will then increase the target audience's awareness of the competition and ultimately result in an increase in the number of participants. Correctly measuring each aspect of the process will not only allow us to determine how our actions translate into success for the client, but also provide valuable insights for adjusting the current strategy to maximise future results.
  • Due to the fact that no two PR campaigns are ever the same, and there is no one universal way to measure them. PR professionals have a whole range of methods, tools and metrics at their disposal to obtain the necessary data, so they need to select from among them those that will best suit the project in question. Methods include content analysis, statistical data analysis, survey research, but also less common ones such as focus groups, participatory observation or psychophysical measurements (such as eyetracking). Each method has its own set of tools. For example, media monitoring will be a tool for analysing the content of press materials, as it provides information such as the number of mentions of the client, the type of media in which the mentions appeared or the tone of the publication. Ultimately, the PR professional must also determine the yardstick that confirms the existence of a given phenomenon. It should be borne in mind, however, that in the case of tools from various sources, metrics with the same name may be defined differently and, more importantly, counted differently. It is worth bearing this in mind when working with several research institutes and receiving differing data from them.


As you can see, fluency in measuring the effectiveness of Public Relations activities is crucial, not only in terms of the PR activities themselves, but also in terms of working with the client. It is only through effective measurement that it is possible to show accurately how our activities translate into the achievement of his business objective. Furthermore, the ability to plan measurable goals is crucial if the PR professional wants to be a viable adviser to the client.


Text author: Christopher