You are to the end of your contracted period with your client. First thing you need to do: rewind a few months to the beginning of the campaign. This is when the evaluation starts. As you progress through your public relations campaign you need to document every little thing that you do – all of the outputs and outcomes you receive, press clippings, etc. Not only will this make your life easier come the end of the contract, but it ensures that all information is accurate and as detailed as possible.
Before you begin writing the contract you should get together with your account and brainstorm just as you did in the beginning. One of the most important parts of the evaluation, especially if you are looking to renew, is the “improvements for future work” section. This should not just be corrections of possible mistakes that may have happened, but fresh ideas that will lure the client in. Although this is one of the most important parts, there are several others. Below are different sections that are important to include in the evaluation.
1. An introduction summarizing what your goals were for your campaign
a. This is a good way to start your evaluation so the goals you had originally presented to the client are fresh in their mind when you are presenting.
a. The next thing you want to do is break up all of your tactics into main sections, such as “public outreach, media relations and promotional activities.” Under each section you will write the exact tactics that were carried out and the outcomes of those specific tactics.
b. It is incredibly important to QUANTIFY EVERYTHING. If you are saying that you placed an article in The Temple Times, the next thing you should say is what their circulation is. The client will be happy you got them coverage, but what they will really want to know is- who did I reach, how many people did I reach, etc.
c. You also want to be explicit and say exactly how that tactic and outcome benefitted the client.
3. Your tactics section should be followed-up with a short paragraph summarizing the outcomes and benefits of your campaign.
4. Problems that occurred
a. It is important that you are honest during this section, while maintaining professionalism. If there was a big problem that impeded your ability to your best work, you need to address the issue. If there was an internal problem within your firm, this should remain private unless having a significant impact on the campaign.
5. Improvements for future work
a. As I said earlier, this is your part to end the evaluation with a bang and leave the client wanting more. Come up with fresh ideas, and use what you have learned over the course of the campaign to determine what could work better next time.
So there you have it, a mini framework of a public relations evaluation. Although your formatting could change, the topics outlined are the essentials. Always remember – start the evaluation from day one and quantify, quantify, quantify!