Despite its utmost importance, goal setting is often the most overlooked step of public relations planning. Practitioners often set goals and objectives that are too vague—which makes them very hard to evaluate, and worthless as a proof point of the success of a PR campaign.
Objective setting and measurement are fundamental aspects of any public relations campaign. But how do I set the correct objectives?
Do I choose goals or objectives?
First, let’s define the different terms. A goal is a statement rooted in the organization’s mission or vision. It acknowledges the issue and sketches out how the organization hopes to settle it. A goal is stated in general terms and doesn’t include specific numbers or data we can measure.
An objective, on the other hand, is a clear and measurable statement that emerges from the organization’s goals and is the end-point of a public relations campaign or communication program.
PR objectives need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. They should be regarded as an ideal to aspire to, but they should always be realistic.
An example of a SMART goal would be “to increase awareness of my brand from 20% to 40% among my target publics, within 10 weeks of campaign launch”.
Hierarchy of Objectives
Furthermore, when you talk about goal and objective setting for your PR campaign, you should keep in mind the hierarchy of objectives.
Every public relations campaign has three types of objectives: informational, motivational and behavioral. First, the target audience or stakeholders should receive and understand information. Second, this information should motivate them to perform an intended action. Third, this information and action should change their behavior.
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