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Measuring PR's Value: By Practice Area


Crisis Communications and Issues Management

Employee Communications

Event Sponsorship

Integrated Marketing Communications

Investor Relations

Media Relations

Multicultural Relations

Relationship Measurement

Reputation Management

Speaker Programs


Crisis Communications and Issues Management

Paine, Katie Delahaye. “How to Measure Your Results in a Crisis,” Institute for Public Relations, 2002.

The survival of an organization’s reputation during a crisis depends on its internal culture, strength of its communications and integrity of its leadership. Despite the urgency of all management and communications efforts in a crisis, today’s technologies make it possible to effectively monitor public impact and reaction virtually in real time, and to adjust strategy and tactics accordingly. This paper describes the possibilities for public relations practitioners.

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Employee Communications

Berger, Bruce K. “Employee/Organizational Communications: Measurable Benefits,” Institute for Public Relations, 2008.

A growing body of evidence demonstrates that effective internal communications help increase employee job satisfaction, morale, productivity, commitment, trust and learning; improve communication climate and relationships with publics; and enhance quality, revenues and earnings. Examples are provided.

Charland, Bernie.“The Mantra of Metrics: A Realistic and Relevant Approach to Measuring the Impact of Employee Communications,” Public Relations Strategist, Fall 2004.

For years, the debate in public relations has focused on measuring the impact of traditional external activities. Product publicity, community outreach and media relations were measured through tools like active preference and ad equivalency. But now the discussion has reached the variable field of employee communications. Showing how positive media coverage impacts brand equity and revenues is a challenge, but demonstrating how more informed and satisfied employees can increase revenue may be more difficult. A number of studies offer tantalizing evidence of the link among engaged employees, productivity and cost savings, but they are not easily duplicated in agency-client situations. As a result, public relations agencies rely on a wide assortment of models and tools — of varying levels of sophistication and scope — to explore and measure this link.

Langbaum, Eric, and Samantha Langbaum.“Measuring Communications Performance,” Public Relations Strategist, Spring 1999.

The Employee Workplace Assessment of employees surveys how they feel about their local work environment instead of the company as a whole. Information gained through this process is used to adjust communications strategies and helps align employee actions towards supporting corporate objectives.

Khan, Julie. “Internal Communications: Ensuring Strategy and Measurement Coexist,” Public Relations Tactics, February 2000.

Internal communicators may be doing a disservice to their companies by not proving their plan is adding value. Assess who your audience is by conducting research and analyzing the situation. Then measure to what degree your audience understands your vision and the corporation’s goals. Successful communication of business initiatives moves employees from awareness of a strategy and understanding its purpose to accepting or agreeing with its premise and then taking action to support it.

Nicholson, Tom. “Measuring Success: Both Externally and Internally,” Institute for Public Relations, 2003. 

This presentation, a Sears, Roebuck and Co. case study, was presented by Tom Nicholson at the 2003 International Public Relations Research Conference. It describes the company’s approach to measuring public relations success both externally and internally, and linking the two by demonstrating how improved employee attitudes contribute to improved customer attitudes.

Collins, Kathy. “Measuring the Effectiveness of Employee Communications and How Employee Communications Contribute to HR Goals,” Institute for Public Relations, 2003.

One in five Americans knows and regularly talks with a General Motors employee. Employee contact is one of the most credible sources of information about the company and the products. So how does GM measure the effectiveness of employee communications? This presentation offers a case study.

O’Neil, Julie.“Measuring the Impact of Employee Communication on Employee Comprehension and Action: A Case Study of a Major International Firm,” Public Relations Journal, 2 No. 2, 2008.

This study describes the employee communication strategy of a global firm, and the research that compares communication output and outcome data from 2004 and 2007. The paper also examines the impact of various employee communication tactics and channels in engendering employee comprehension and action in support of the firm’s objectives. Results of a global communication survey indicate that timely, complete, and accurate corporate communication and face-to-face managerial communication can help to secure employee action in favor of company goals. This case study also serves as an example of how corporate communicators can measure and evaluate their employee communication programs.

Rawlins, Brad L.“Measuring the Relationship Between Organizational Transparency and Employee Trust,” Public Relations Journal, 2 No. 2, 2008.

The literature on transparency and trust suggest the two concepts are related. Using an instrument that measures both transparency and trust, analysis of employee opinion supports this notion. In particular, organizations that encourage and allow public participation, share substantial information so their publics can make informed decisions, give balanced reports that hold them accountable, and open themselves up to public scrutiny, are more likely to be trusted.

Miller, Debra A.“Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Intranet,” Public Relations Strategist, Summer 2001.

Intranets are being touted at one of the best ways to communicate with employees, but many organizations are having problems measuring their effectiveness, due to the difficulty in assessing intangible returns.

Pretzer, Mary.“How to Measure Your Newsletter’s Effectiveness,” Public Relations Tactics, November 1994.

Focuses on how a company should judge the effectiveness of its newsletter: significance of going after the reader for feedback; need to conduct a proper reader survey; tips on increasing survey response rates; use of humor in the survey; and a reminder that effectiveness is judged by what appeals to the majority of the readers. Includes top tips.

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Event Sponsorship

Jeffries-Fox, Bruce. “A Guide for Measuring Event Sponsorships,” Institute for Public Relations, 2005.

The author presents a detailed discussion of research tools available for developing events and evaluating their impact. These research tools are appropriate for both large and small organizations, and for large and small evaluation budgets. This paper addresses two audiences: public relations leadership who will be requesting and reviewing the results of evaluations, and staff members doing the actual assessment.

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Integrated Marketing Communications

Smith, Brian G. “Representing PR in the Marketing Mix: A Study on PR Variables in Marketing Mix Modeling,” Institute for Public Relations, 2008.

As public relations and marketing are further coordinated, the question of measurement, especially the issue of public relations’ contribution to organizational objectives (i.e., sales, revenue), will become one of prime importance. This study will examine one emerging area of growth — marketing mix modeling — and public relations’ representation in such measurement and evaluation.

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Investor Relations

Michaelson, David and John Gilfeather, “What You Need to Know to Measure Investor Relations,” Institute for Public Relations, 2003.

Investors and those who influence investors are a multi-dimensional and interconnected constituency. This paper focuses on: defining the players who comprise the investor relations constituency, exploring the communications channels and discussing ways to evaluate progress.

Laskin, Alexander V. “The Value of Investor Relations: A Delphi Panel Investigation,” Institute for Public Relations, 2006.

This study first identifies what academic research considers the contribution of investor relations, and evaluates these academic ideas by experienced investor relations practitioners. The evaluations by individual practitioners are merged into one consensus answer, which becomes a snapshot of today’s view of both academics and investor relations officers on how investor relations contributes to the organizational bottom line.

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Media Relations

Martin, Aimee, and Carter H. Griffin. “Creatively Measuring Media Relations,” Public Relations Strategist, Spring 1998.

What value do I get from appearing in the press? How much is press coverage worth? These are the questions that Kaiser Associates officers Carter Griffin and Aimee Martin tackle. Using sophisticated measures, the two suggest a roster of strategies and analytical tools that can help answer management’s concerns.

Likely, Fraser, David Rockland and Mark Weiner. “Perspectives on the ROI of Media Relations Publicity Efforts,Institute for Public Relations, 2006.

This paper is not intended as a be-all and end-all documentation of how to calculate the ROI of media relations publicity as part of a marketing campaign. Instead, this paper attempts to list various approaches now in use and to provide a critique of their strengths and weaknesses. The paper is from the perspective of three practitioners, each of whom works in a different aspect of the field. Fraser Likely is an independent public relations/communication management consultant (Likely Communication Strategies). David Rockland is a partner and research director for a large agency (Ketchum). Mark Weiner is the CEO of a media measurement firm (Delahaye). We hope this paper inspires continued debate and a refinement of the techniques we describe, and that it contributes to the advancement of the field in general. This, then, is a primer with the intent of encouraging additional studies and papers in the future.

Lindenmann, Walter K.“Improving Your Media Relations with Research,” Public Relations Tactics, September 1994.

Offers advice for public relations practitioners on how to use research to improve their relationship with the media: publicity content analysis; analysis of media coverage of the entire industry in which the public relations professional’s firm or client is involved; evaluation of the reputation of the media outlet.

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Multicultural Relations

Clavijo-Kish, Christine.“Hispanic Market Miracles on a Budget: How to Effectively Measure Your Marketing Initiatives,” Public Relations Tactics, July 2007.

One of today’s hottest trends in mainstream public relations is ROI measurement — specifically how metrics reporting should be factored into every strategy plan and execution. Here are some tips to help you effectively measure your Hispanic market initiatives.

González, Ana Rita.“Grassroots Approaches to Reach the Hispanic Audience: Nontraditional Approaches to Measure ROI,” Public Relations Tactics, July 2005.

While media relations continue to be a staple of the public relations profession, other approaches are often required to effectively reach target audiences and generate the desired impact. This is especially true when the objectives of a program go beyond influencing perception to generating changes in behavior — driving the adoption of new products or services through an experiential approach.

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Relationship Measurement

Hon, Linda Childers, and James E. Grunig. “Guidelines for Measuring Relationships in Public Relations,” Institute for Public Relations, 1999.

As important as it can be for an organization to measure public relations outputs and outcomes, it is even more important for an organization to measure relationships. Tools and techniques for measuring and evaluating the relatively short-term outputs and outcomes of specific public relations programs, events and campaigns have existed for quite a number of years. But up until now, measuring the success or failure of long-term relationships, stemming in part from public relations efforts, have not existed. The authors have found through their research that perceptions regarding an organization’s longer-term relationships with key constituencies can best be measured by focusing on six very precise elements or components of relationships.

Grunig, James E. “Qualitative Methods for Assessing Relationships Between Organizations and Publics,” Institute for Public Relations, 2002.

To facilitate the use of qualitative interviews and focus groups to assess relationships, researchers at the University of Maryland have developed procedures and questions to gather information about the type and quality of relationships.

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Reputation Management

Paine, Katie Delahaye, Linda Hon and Jim Grunig. “Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations,” Institute for Public Relations, 2003.

This document offers standard guidelines to help professional communicators answer that question and implement the third directive of the PR Coalition: The CEO should establish a formal system of measurement, measurement of trust a business standard for that proved benchmarking and encouraging peer pressure and CEOs should make trust a corporate governance issue and a board priority tied to compensation.

Singer, Ben A., and Alan R. Hiburg.“Taking Another Look: Why Measuring Reputation Is a Must,” Public Relations Tactics, July 2006.

Would it surprise any communications executive that reputation and its institutional brand implications remains a front and center issue for most business leaders today? Certainly not. In health care, a nearly $2 trillion sector of the U.S. economy beset by daily challenges and change, how reputation impacts stakeholder relationships takes on an even more critical role in building business. At least that’s the consensus of the nation’s top health care CEOs who participated in the Health Academy’s What’s Reputation Got to Do With it? survey.

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Speaker Programs

Eisenmann, Marianne, and Katie Delahaye Paine. “Measuring the Effectiveness of Speakers Programs,” Institute for Public Relations, 2007.

Speaking opportunities are often sought out by executives as a marketing opportunity to profile themselves and their company to a live audience for little cost. However, the investment in speaking opportunities can be quite significant. Time spent preparing a speech or presentation and traveling to the location can be considerable, for what is often a brief or shared opportunity at the podium. To test the value of these opportunities, we’ve developed a list of measures that can help provide an assessment of the effectiveness and value. These are simple tools that are easy to do yourself, but will provide a clear and cost effective indication of whether or not the speaking opportunities are beneficial.

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