Guidelines for Setting Measurable Public Relations Objectives: An Update

2010 – This paper expands on and updates the thinking of the Institute’s original Setting Measurable Objectives paper which was drafted in 1999 by Forrest W. Anderson, Independent Consultant, and Linda Hadley of Porter Novelli, along with contributions from members of the Institute for Public Relations Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation.

In every business case – whether the organization is large or small; for-profit or nonprofit; local or global – there is an objective. Objectives may include generating a profit, approving legislation or giving back to the community. To advance the organization, those doing so need a clear understanding of the organization’s aims. This is true for the public relations (PR) team and its agencies: The purpose of every public relations professional is to help his or her organization achieve its business objectives.

While each component of the public relations process is essential for success, the initial stage of objectives-setting research is the basis for the entire PR program. It provides a framework for strategy, execution, and evaluation. And, while setting measurable objectives is critical to public relations programming, it also is among the most frequently overlooked.

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