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PART 2: Big Data 101 for PR

We know, we know…sequels so rarely live up to the hype of originals, but I can assure you this part duex is guaranteed to deliver as much punch and pizzazz as what came before. A few weeks ago my colleague and engineering partner-in-crime, Frank Jing, knocked it out of the park with his succinct and […]


Math: PR Style

Who remembers sitting in your [insert preferred mathematics class here] thinking, “When in the name of Merlin’s beard am I ever going to use this absurd theorem in real life? This feels like a gigantic waste of time.

I can honestly say that there were many an afternoon where that exact thought went through my head. Which may explain why I chose a less numerically minded career path.

But 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. From time management to data visualizations that allow audiences to extract meaning from numbers, math is everywhere.

Why PR should love mathPR 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.” she asserts.

“And when measuring PR, even if your metrics are primarily output metrics, you’re doing Math. 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!”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Shonali.

In order to boost your computational confidence, we tapped a few mathematically minded folks to help uncover 5 hidden ways PR pros are using math.

1. Probability Theory & Classification

To see these two principles in action, look at the intrinsic ranking methods used to identify priorities and hierarchies before, during, and after PR campaigns. Not every PR activity gets the same amount of attention or time dedicated to it. By weighting outputs, ranking outlets, and making explicit choices to use some words or messages more than others, you’re totally enacting the underlying principles of Probability Theory and Classification. Go you!

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