Visit our website and you’ll find the latest in our new series of intros, this time focusing on evaluation.

Evaluation is a really important part of a campaign because you need to know whether it was successful and whether it achieved its aims. It’s not just so you can justify your salary to your director or chief executive. If you’re in a third sector organisation you need to demonstrate the value of what you do to trustees, donors, volunteers, stakeholders and more. You also need to determine the success of your campaign for your future strategy. PR doesn’t stand alone but feeds into every part of your organisation.

Like so many aspects of public relations, evaluation has changed and there are new methods to demonstrate a campaign’s success. It used to be the size of your cuttings book that mattered. A weighty tome with hundreds of pages was, and still is, an impressive document to drop on to the Board’s desk, especially when your cover page boasted an advertising equivalent that was six times what the campaign cost to run.

But now the industry has recognised the need to analyse the content of that coverage – its tone of voice, if it contains key messages, a logo or a web link. ‘Opportunities to see’ is a key calculation as it assesses the number of times someone might come across your message. It can mean a feature in a local weekly paper has as much value as a NIB on page 12 of the Daily Express.

Digital and social media have also added new dimensions to campaign evaluation. It’s tempting to be dazzled by figures and celebrate 1,000 ‘likes’ or 400 new Twitter followers, but as our intro will show you, the real value is in impact and outcomes. Did you set out to get 400 new followers? Or did you want 400 new callers to your helpline?

These are questions you should be asking yourself at the beginning of a campaign. In order to know where you’ve ended up you need to know where you started from. And if you’ve kept an eye on things on the ‘journey’ (sorry, went a bit reality TV show there for a minute) then you’ve made changes where you’ve needed to, and achieved your goals.

We’re always interested to hear from you. If there is an intro you’d like from us then let us know.