“Math is not my thing, that’s why I’m in public relations.” Press releases, blog posts, email blasts, pitches- after a semester or two of writing, you start to consider that maybe you won’t need to remember what you learned in high school algebra after all. But just when you think you’re finished with math after that final gen ed course, think again. Numbers and calculations are actually vitally important in public relations (and life in general), so here are a few instances when you’ll need to utilize those math skills in PR…sorry.
- Measurement. Advertising value equivalency is what news coverage would cost if it were advertising space. And although AVEs are by no means an accurate way to measure the success of public relations according to the Barcelona Principles (for more info on the these principles, check out a previous post here), they are still widely used. AVEs need to be calculated using ad rates, column inches, and other figures.
- Evaluation. Effectively evaluating the results of a public relations campaign takes more than counting the number of media outlets that have picked up your story. You need to be able to calculate the percentage of increase in followers, page views, and other statistics that show your campaign is positively affecting client. It is one thing to tell your them that your work is making a difference but it’s quite another to show them the numbers to prove it.
- Data analytics. In the last decade or so, there’s been an explosion of data available to, well, just about everyone. The challenge lies is knowing what to do with all this new information. Being able to analyze and apply the information effectively in a campaign or strategy is now a necessary skill to have in PR.
- Research. The hardest part of doing primary research isn’t creating an effective survey or properly moderating a focus group. Like in data analytics, the real challenge is taking the information you’ve gathered and knowing what to do with it.
So learn to embrace math in public relations, because it’s a (very) necessary evil.