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PR goals and PR objectives: Not interchangeable terminology

By Marjorie Comer

48105701_s.jpgUnderstand the difference between these key components of a winning PR plan  


Goals, objectives, strategies and tactics are some of the most important parts of a public relations campaign and are key components of any PR plan. Many people often fail to fully understand – and therefore misuse – these uniquely nuanced words. Because of their importance, you, our client, need to understand their differences to ensure greater success for your business.

The two words that often cause the most confusion in developing a PR plan are “goals” and “objectives.” Far too many people believe these to be essentially the same thing; however, it’s important to note that without goals, you can’t actually have any objectives.

Once you understand the distinctions between these two key components of a PR plan, you can more easily understand and achieve success in your own PR endeavors.


One of the first things you must do is set goals for the overall program. You can set a few goals at first and add more as the PR campaign progresses.

  • A goal is based on your desired results.
  • Simply: What do you want your PR plan to accomplish?

You can measure your goals and their successes by the objectives you set.


You can only set objectives after clarifying your goals.

  • They are measurable statements that often contain a number.
  • When drafting objectives, use verbs such as “deliver,” “decrease,” “increase,” “obtain,” “sell” or “secure.”
  • Objectives are the specific, detailed steps you take in order to realize your goals.

For example, if you set a goal to improve public perception of your company, corresponding objectives to achieve that goal might include: increasing the number of 4- and 5-star reviews of your business on Yelp by six reviews; and decreasing the number of 1- and 2-star reviews on Yelp by four. These are specific, measurable steps taken toward achieving a desired outcome.

For PR professionals producing PR campaigns, the objectives of the campaign are a major component: If you don’t know your objectives, your entire campaign could fail, especially since your results and evaluations tie directly to the objectives you set.

When entering PR industry awards, the objectives of a PR campaign are a critical component of the award entry; if you don’t have clear and measurable objectives, your PR campaign probably won’t win anything more than criticism.

After setting goals, determining your audience and creating individual objectives for your PR campaign within your PR plan, you can move forward with your company’s strategies and tactics for achieving them.

Recognizing the differences between goals and objectives can have a huge positive impact on your team: Once key players understand the criteria they’re operating under, they know they’re working productively toward achieving a rewarding end.

If you have additional PR questions, tune in to our free “Questions and Answers from a Public Relations Professional” webinar.

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marjorie-comer-axia-pr.jpgMarjorie Comer is an award-winning PR professional at Axia Public Relations. She has worked for Axia since 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and cheers for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Follow her on Twitter @Marjorie_Comer.




Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations

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