Ron Aslop’s article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal on the need for M.B.A. programs to do a better job covering public relations and marketing communications in their curriculum quotes McCall Butler of Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations in New York saying…
“MBA programs are very obsessed with numbers, and since you can’t tie numbers easily to communications, it isn’t seen as real and as something that can make a significant difference.”
I sure hope this was taken somewhat out of context, because I strongly disagree with Mr. Butler’s position. Online public relations programs provide new opportunities for measurement and analysis. On the net, you know how many people saw your news, how long they spent looking at it and whether or not they clicked through to other areas of an organization’s website.
You can determine geographic hot spots, online referral sources and measure the impact of your online PR efforts on your search engine ranking. The value of PR is difficult to deny when changes to a website’s micro content result in measurable spikes in visitor traffic.
These measurements have the ability to demonstrate PR’s ability to generate new business leads, secure an organization’s position as an industry leader and drive sales. As online public relations programs start getting a more appropriate share if the PR budget, business communicators will have the opportunity to demonstrate accountability as never before.