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How to evaluate a PR and media campaign

Evaluating the success of a PR and media activity campaign is as important as the work carried out and the coverage secured. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate what the activity achieved and the beneficial impact the campaign has had on the organisation. Effective evaluations which enable you to see what activities did and didn’t work can also help you to develop future campaigns.

Whether reporting monthly, quarterly or annually, evaluating your campaign is vital to demonstrating its impact to your team, as well as the senior management at your college.

Analysing and evaluating campaigns

Look back at the campaign’s aims and objectives and use the collected data about the cuttings to see whether the aims have been achieved. You should analyse:

  • number of pieces of coverage achieved
  • source – regional, national, trade, broadcast etc
  • campaign reach, calculated by adding up the circulation of all the coverage
  • target audience and target media reached, and
  • keywords, key messages and spokespeople included.

It’s important to keep a record of both the positive and negative coverage as both will influence future campaigns.

You can help to analyse the campaign by asking:

  • were the aims and objectives achieved?
  • what tactics worked best?
  • what were the best pieces of coverage and why? Were they in the top target media and did they contain the right messages?
  • what impact did your campaign have in terms of media coverage, and the impact for the college as a whole? For example, if there is a direct correlation between an increase in applications and the PR campaign, that is a positive impact for the college.

Once those questions have been answered, begin to look at what lessons can be learned from the campaign:

  • what worked and what didn’t?
  • how could preparation have been better? What other research could or should have been done before starting?

The format for reporting back on the campaign will depend on who receives the information. A written report may take longer but it means there is a record of the success of the activity which can be printed out when necessary. Alternatively, the results could be delivered to the senior management team or board of governors, in which case a presentation might be appropriate. Whatever method is used, remember to break it down into sections which can easily be understood, avoid using jargon and keep it simple.

For more information on evaluating campaigns, what an effective media log looks like, and PR planning, please click here.

If you need any guidance or advice, please contact Press and PR Manager Kate Parker on