You hear it in the halls of every PR firm, and as a recent PR Daily article indicates, it is a well-known stereotype of our industry: we don’t like math. While that may be true, it is wholly untrue to believe math isn’t important to public relations.
In fact, there is a great deal of math in PR. Budgets, for one, are clearly loaded with math. If you can’t multiply a billing rate times an estimated monthly amount of time … in your head … quickly and accurately … then get out of the biz (or find a business manager who can, and never let him or her go on vacation. Ever!)
Timesheets are math. I spent 15.25 hours at lunch this month—is that bad? No, it isn’t.
And what about expenses? 792 miles at $.56/mile = $443.52. Is that really enough to cover the gas plus a little “wear & tear” such as an oil change or a radiator flush? Yes, it should be.
If you manage events, then numbers are all around you. Each table fits eight guests, and we have 17 tables, but the stemware we ordered comes by the gross. Will one gross be enough? Yes, it will.
And let’s not forget about P&L? If you’ve been in the PR business for at least five years, and P&L isn’t in your vocabulary yet, tighten up your resume!
In my experience, the best PR people know their numbers very well. They embrace math, especially as it relates to the business of PR. At Curley Company, we love the math in PR – for events, for fundraising and for public relations. And while that may be heresy among the PR pro masses, it just makes for good business.
By the way, I minored in math in college. Go figure…