Yes, PR pros, you do use math—and more than you realize

Sure, you focus on quality, but quantity matters, too. Think about reach, placements, ROI and more metrics than you can count on one sliderule. And then there’s geometry…

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There was many an afternoon when that thought went through my head, which may explain why I chose a less numerically minded career path.

Here’s the rub:

The closer I look at everything we do here at AirPR (and everything PR pros do in general), the more I realize just how intertwined math is in our day-to-day work. From time management to data visualizations that allow audiences to extract meaning from numbers, math is everywhere.

PR measurement guru Shonali Burke sums it up nicely: “If you’re managing a client’s budget, you’re doing math. If you’re using data points to pitch a story, you’re doing math. If you’re managing a research project which comprises surveys, you’re doing math. If you’re running your own PR business, you’re absolutely doing math.

“When measuring PR, even if your metrics are primarily output metrics, you’re doing math,” she adds. “What else would you call counting all those impressions, hits, and followers? I think many [PR] pros think ‘differential calculus’ or other complicated functions when they hear ‘math.’ However, regular math? Everyone does it without even knowing it, so it’s time to stop being frightened of it!”

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