PR is Math

We’ve all heard it at least once, “I got into PR because I suck at math”. Sorry, but if you suck at math or don’t like math, you probably aren’t going to get very far in your PR career. There, I said it. Now stop making the rest of us look bad.

You can be a great communicator and have creative ideas, but unless you can show your organization or client the impact of your efforts through research and evaluation, they will have no reason to keep you around. Research means measurement and measurement means math. You have to be able to understand statistics to show your client their ROI.

So, now that we agree that you need to at least tolerate math if you want to be a successful PR practitioner, what about those who love math (yes, we’re out there)? You know, the few of us who get giddy over statistics. Well, one option is academia. There will always be a need for passionate PR professors who give back to the field through research and education. But, that’s not the only option for math lovers.

Somewhere between traditional practitioners (media relations, community relations, etc.) and academia is the world of applied research. This is a world that I will explore this summer in Ann Arbor, Michigan at PRIME Research as part of a research fellowship I was rewarded. PRIME’s services include advanced media analytics and stakeholder surveys to aid in planning and evaluation.

PRIME is not the only agency out there that values research. If you love stats and PR, but aren’t sure about teaching, a career in applied research may be something to explore. I suggest checking out the Institute for Public Relations to learn more about the research side of PR. Are you now drooling over these possibilities? If so, get back to analyzing some data on SPSS!


5 thoughts on “PR is Math

  1. Great post! Now, more than ever, PR professionals MUST prove ROI in order to keep business and be seen as a legitimate source of investment. Although we all griped at having to learn SPSS, if more PR companies took the time to do that kind of in-depth research, the industry as a whole would benefit.

  2. Since I’ve gotten over the fantasy of PR not involving math, your post further lets me know why it is very important. I was not a math girl in school growing up. I loved writing more than anything, but I can understand how PR can’t dismiss that math is still needed. This gave me a heads up….thank you for this post!

    • Glad it helped! Actually doing the math might not be a favorite for everyone, but looking at the numbers and being able to show your impact is always fun!

  3. Data and analytics is becoming such a huge part of PR and marketing. It’s best for practitioners to get experience with that ASAP. It will definitely help you stand out in your endeavors.

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