Thursday, April 23, 2009

Get connected!

FPRA creates a new Facebook Page. Join us today and see new pictures from last week's Image Awards Gala!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PR on F.I.R.E

The FPRA’s 71st Annual Conference is quickly approaching! The event will be Aug. 9- 12 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Interest is Boiling ...

Spaces are filling up quickly for the Social Media Cafe: The Appetizer.

Don't miss this great opportunity to network with Southwest Florida Communications Professionals and to whet your social media appetite!

As an added benefit to FPRA members who register for the event, Flame Productions will be snapping complimentary professional head shots to add some pizazz to your social networking accounts. There will be a cost of $25 for non-members (a fifty percent saving) who would like to have a professional head shot taken.

The event will be held:

Friday, May 1 @ Hodges University

9 a.m. Registration --Those registered members who are interested in having a head shot done, are encouraged to come at 9 a.m. to keep the lines moving smoothly. Head shots will also be taken during the morning breaks.

Presentations: 9:30 a.m. - noon

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Time to Feed the Hunger

Do you find yourself wondering when would be the appropriate time to poke, tweet, and ping your colleagues? Or even wondering what poke, tweet, and ping mean?

FPRA has the answers! We are cooking up a series of workshops called The Social Media Café: Creating Your Social Networking Cookbook, to whet your appetite for all things social networking. The appetizer, a how-to-get-started in social media from the basic ingredients to all the new trimmings is ready to be served:

When: Friday, May 1
Time: 9 a.m. registration and networking
Program will run from 9:30 a.m. until noon
Where: Hodges University
Cost: $10
Registration Deadline: April 27

Flame Productions will be on hand to snap professional headshots you can use on all your social media sites. The cost of photography is $25 for registered guests, complimentary for FPRA members.

FPRA will walk you through the social media ingredients so you can create a recipe that is right for you and your organization.

Register for the course at Payment will be taken at the door, checks or cash only. But hurry, space is limited to 50 people!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

When the President Comes to Town

Our FPRA SWFL Chapter monthly luncheon meeting for April welcomed many past presidents, honoring them for their contributions. In coordination with the program topic, the SWFL Chapter welcomed FPRA President Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC, to town! She conducted a special recognition ceremony for our chapter's past presidents, giving each who was there an official quotes logo pin and thanked them for their past, current, and future service to FPRA. Past Presidents recognized were:

o Mary Briggs, APR,CPRC 1991-92
o Susan Johnson, 1998-1999
o Tina Haisman, APR, CPRC, 1999-2000
o Kate Gooderham, APR, CPRC, 2001-02
o Karen Ryan, APR, 2002-03
o Barbara-Anne Urrutia, 2007-08
Lynn Schneider, APR, CPRC, 1989-1990 and Olivia Orth, 2006-07 were both present for the official photograph but were unable to stay for the meeting.

Lanette praised their experience and support as a rich history for us to learn and grow from. She encouraged new leaders to consider the opportunities and the incredible return on the investment that comes from chapter leadership – particularly as committee members, chairs, and board members. She officially opened up the nomination process. Immediate Past President Barbara-Anne Urrutia is leading the nominating committee.

Susan Johnson, the General Manager of Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre was the panel moderator. She introduced the topic of “When the President Comes to Town,” relayed a story of how the Broadway Palm handled an event featuring the future First Lady, Michelle Obama, and then introduced the panel:

Vicki Moreland, LCPA. RSW created the environment for the President to arrive and depart safely into Fort Myers when he came to town.

Marietta Mudgett, Director of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. She was asked by White House officials to put together a list of 40 community members who would be personally invited to attend the Town Hall Meeting with President Obama.

Jennifer Hobbic , Public Relations Manager for the City of Fort Myers. Jennifer worked in coordination with the White House Press representative to corral media clamoring to gain access to the event.

Shelly Flynn, Public Information Officer for the Fort Myers Police Department. Was called to work closely with Secret Service personnel to ensure adequate coverage and safety in our area when President Obama visited. Was part of the coordination to get him from and back to the airport. Enlisted the help of neighboring resources with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and the Cape Coral Police Department.

Rose Rundle, Director of the Harborside Event Center. Rose coordinated the efforts to host the Town Hall Meeting (1500 guests!) when her venue was selected. Worked closely with police and other city officials to ensure safety, crowd control and proactive public relations before, during and following the event. Behind the scenes commemorative Thank You to volunteers can be found on their website, and linked here.

Save the date for next month's meeting at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre on Monday, May 4, 2009 at 11:15 a.m. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

And That's a Wrap!

The inaugural PR Pro Bono Day is drawing to a close, with guests mingling and networking with the PR professionals here.

Connie Martin of the Make A Wish Foundation won the free lunch!

And congratulations to Cindy Burgess for a phenomenal job in organizing this event. The monthly ROCKing Chair Award goes to Cindy. Many thanks also to Vicki Collins and Joni Schopke of the Hospitality Committee.

Social Media & Blogging

Carla Ulakovic and Kathleen Taylor addressing social media.

What is it? Connectivity and relationship building online.
It's impossible to be on every site! Now there are organizing applications like Friend Feed.

Fourth most popular activities on the internet are social networking and blogging. (Higher than emailing!)

30% of the global population is now registered on FaceBook.

Where to begin?
Assess your needs
Research the site
Establish and protect
Know your limits

There are faux pas - most importantly make it a relationship. Have a conversation, don't just push your agenda.

Q. How can nonprofits use social media for fundraising?
More for sharing information about events, causes, not actually raising money through the social media site.

As a nonprofit, make sure you are ALLOWED by your national organization to do so!

Special Events

Carolyn Rogers, APR, Lucy Costa and Heidi Taulman are preparing their very visual presentation on Special Events.

Okay, it's lights out now...

Carolyn: We're speaking about special events at a special event! I want to make a strong plea - if you're going to have an event, have an event with a purpose. Events are not the most efficient way to raise money.

You can never plan too much!
Include a follow up strategy in your overall plan and make it timely
Remember your goals and include them in the recap to your constituents
Say thank you an average of 6 times to your volunteers, donors, etc.

My belief is that an event is made more memorable with a commemorative giveaway.
You can give the item away BEFORE the event, as a means to encourage attendance.
Make it part of the planning process, not an afterthought.
Photos of VIP's in hard hats and t-shirts...good
Photos of kids in hard hats and t-shirts...better! Media loves kids and pets as visuals.
If you are giving an award, make sure it corresponds to the level of the achievement.

Carolyn: Make sure no one else is doing an event the same time as yours! Target your audience by asking advice of your target audience.

Lucy: Always have a plan B.

PR Budgeting & Measurement

Doing a little flip-flop in the agenda here while Special Events sets up their very visual presentation...

Phyllis Ershowsky, APR and Pam Nulman, APR are discussing the whys, when and hows of measuring your your PR effort.

I liked Karen's pudding analogy:
Awareness objective - do they know who brought the pudding?
Acceptance objective - did they like the pudding?
Ability and action objective - has the behavior been affected? (Are they coming back for seconds? Asking for the recipe?)

Pam: Nobody likes to talk about budgets, especially PR people!
Does anybody actually have a line item for PR in your budget? Only 2 did!
How many have a marketing budget? Fundraising budget? (A couple more hands)

Four traditional ways organizations set budgets:
% of total revenue
How much competitors are spending
Specific task or goal
Expense everything, PR gets what's leftover
Plus: We don't need one because we can get it pro bono!

Fixed costs and variable costs: PR is usually a variable cost.
To handle PR in-house with dedicated staff, outsource it or do it yourself? Measurement and budgeting can help determine this.

Talking to the Media

Seguing into the next panel discussion, Susan's number one tip is to be available by telephone 24/7! A few more from her handout:
Do suggest possible feature stories, but be prepared to wait!
You must know the right reporter to pitch to!
Paste the text of your release into the news release.

Vicki: As the PR director for 2 airports, my role is "instant answer". It's okay to say "I don't know, I will find out for you and get back to you."
Take your glasses off on camera.
Be prepared to answer the 5 questions you don't want to!

The 3 C's ....
Control your side of the story.
Be Competent - don't step out of your area of expertise.
Concern - be concerned, show concern.

Importance of bridging technique:
A Answer the question
B Bridge to message you want to convey
C Communicate YOUR message

Practice! Rehearse in advance! Have your staff role play the media for you.

Buying time: repeat the question (as long as it deosn't have a negative in it)

You can correct errors

How to Write a Press Release

Laurel Smith, APR and Sharold Arnold of Gravina Smith & Matte are joined by Kara Minoui of Wragg & Casas. Kara is the chapter's Vice President of Communications and responsible for the chapter's press and media relations.

Sharon opened the discussion with a very important question - is your news actually newsworthy? It's a very necessary question to answer, and one which the media will ask before deciding whether or not to run your release and/or develop your news into a story.

Laurel is going over the standard AP format for press releases and handed out a sample press release to illustrate. Make it as easy as possibe for the media to pick up your release and run it with little or no changes necessary. Have someone who knows nothing about the release read it to help you determine if you have communicated clearly. Laurel encourages the audience to pick up a copy of the AP Stylebook, the journalists' Bible, at a local book store (+/- $20). She is hitting the high points of proper format.

Kara: The way you distribute your release affects your credibility. Best practice is to send the relase out individually. If that's not possible, use your email list in the bcc field - DON'T use the cc field to copy everyone you are distributing to. Put NEWS RELEASE in the subject field. Watch the size of your photos if you are sending accompanying photos, no larger than 1mg, but a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Watch your bounce backs and correct your personal media list accordingly.

Sharon: Write in the third person!

Q: Should you ever thank a reporter for their coverage?
Laurel: Absolutely, especially if it he/she has taken your release and developed it into a feature story. Be sure to cc their supervisor. Key your thank you on what they specifically did that benefitted you, not just "thanks for the great story".

Sharon: It's all about the relationships. A thank you I sent to a photographer has turned into a lunch with a magazine editor.

Q: Should you send attachments?
Laurel: We do both, attach a document and paste into the text.
Aside from Susan Bennett: For instance I sent out a release to the News-Press today and had a conversation about the fact that they use Macs and cannot open newer formats of Word documents.

Q: What about using read receipts?
Laurel: Perhaps to a specific reporter but in general I'd say no.

Q: Follow up calls?
Laurel: No.

Q: How do we know who to send it to?
A: Buy the chapter's 2009 Media Guide and Directory!

Q: Online press releases? Optimizing releases for the Web?
A: That's a whole 'nother panel discussion later today! (Laughter)

Q: General rule of thumb for timeliness?
A: Depends on the event, and on when you want it to hit. Give dailies a week; monthlies 90-120 days ahead.

Cindy brought Susan Bennett, APR, CPRC and Vicki Moreland of the Lee County Port Authority up to complement the discussion, since their topic was "Talking to the Media"

PR 101

The first session began with PR 101 - distinguished panelists include Karen Ryan, APR, Eileyn Sobeck Bador, APR, Julia Babair, APR, CPRC and our chapter president Ginny Cooper. After a brief introduction by Cindy Burgess and a welcome from Greg Gardiner of United Way -- he thanked the PR community for reaching out -- the panelists got started.

Ginny presented the Media Guide and Media Directory, announcing the $50 non-member price and order form availability. She presented What PR is NOT -- not marketing, not publicity, not fund raising. Must first make the distinction between PR and other functions of the organization. In some organizations, the same person handles PR and marketing - causing confusion. We sometimes add to the confusion by saying we handle marketing and public relations, integrated marketing without distinguishing the differences. In reality, marketing and PR are separate management functions with different but overlapping goals. PR is the management function that establishes mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. Marketing is more transaction-oriented, exchanges something of value. PR manages the relationships.

In non profits, PR defines organization mission, builds and maintains public policy, communicates through various channels, builds relationships with key publics. Tactics differ greatly to accomplish all of these.

Don't give into temptation of not doing research -- check your assumptions about your publics, figuring out who you want to reach, what you want them to do. What messages to you want to convey? Apply the info to your bottom line -- you need to raise money.

Julia Babair -- discussed PR planning that deals with communications, behaviors, opinions and evaluations. That's how PR plays a part in overall business plan. It's important to know what your organization trying to achieve. What is the overall goal?

The PR plan doesn't guarantee your success, but provides your strategic plan that is a road map toward success. As a PR professional, what does the management and Board expect? Enhance competitive edge, expects us to protect two assets: name and reputation.

Understand situation, target audiences, key publics, goals and objectives. You need strategic thinking to develop long term goals. How does the process begin? With research. You need to understand your situational analysis. Effective PR begins with listening and getting feedback. Many people just want to jump in or they are intimidated by research but it doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. You can do a communication audit to get feedback, conversations with employees or audiences. You can do surveys or focus groups -- there are many ways to accomplish that.

You need to identify your target audiences -- employees, shareholders, donors, the media. Develop your key messages. What facts do people need to know?

Now you're ready to set objectives -- realistic but they should stretch you. Should be very specific about knowledge and the outcomes you expect. Identify qualitative objectives -- specific and measurable.

Objectives provide direction and give you a plan to follow. You will be prepared. Need to evaluate criteria.

Strategic planning will result in positive programming. Increased management and Board of Director support.

Must understand who your audience is. Your audiences are board of directors, general public, clients whom you help. You need to come up with strategies and tactics for each of those publics. Before you create your message, figure out your best way to communicate with them. We want to be positive and keep going. Be targeted and strategic. Showed examples to illustrate her company being environmentally friendly -- her company has been green for 30 to 40 years -- shopping bag decorated with a frog "Plastic makes me croak." Also a flyer and device to cover CF lightbulbs. Demonstrating strategy and tactic when she presents info on her company. Explained there are newer methods and newer tactics but she still uses "old school" tactics to accomplish some of her objectives. With our pursestrings being so tight we have to be careful, be very targeted. Welcomes calls for additional help.

Discussed evaluation -- can be scary. Compared to making pudding -- research recipe, want to impress your mother in law (target audience), have to set objectives like how much pudding are you making, when does it have to be ready. Decide the right ingredients, how you are going to prepare and what is it going to look like. Evaluation -- shows proof in the pudding. It has to be successful to impress your mother in law. Need to think about it early -- how you are going to measure it. Need to plan this in advance so that you are measuring the right things. Was there enough? Did the people like it? Did they ask for your recipe? When you're thinking about evaluation, think about Survey Monkey ( developing the questions in advance. You can also do written surveys to part of your audience, or one on one interviews. Make sure you have an evaluation plan in place. Gather data as you go along so when you get to the end, it is already compiled. We keep a box at my office and put everything needed for evaluation into that box so it is all there at the end.

Went back to research component. Discussed Google alerts,, set up alerts to know what is being said out in the online world. You can do this personally, for your organization, for your event. One way of doing research - free and very easy.

Asked for questions:
Comment that she uses email address for Google alerts.

Five things that non profits gain include to inform and motivate your key audiences to dedicate themselves and work productively in support of your mission.

Question about survey after event, would you recommend exit survey or public survey through email? Karen answered that if done at an event, you can explore further, ask follow up questions. Related her experience with exit surveys.

Ginny: when you mention your sponsors, you should be able to come back and say here's what we did for your money and show them the value, three times the value of their dollars. You can prove what you did for them.

Karen: Exit survey can be tricky especially if there's an open bar - sometimes the data you get back is not reliable!

Question: Is it just being associated with the event that sponsors want to be remembered? Don't you have to know what the sponsor really wants out of it?

Karen answered that you have to know target audience, creating your objectives and having tactics that match those objectives. Her organization looks at their objectives for participating before they sponsor. Sometimes it is "the right thing to do."

Question: There are so many events, would challenge someone to guess who Downtown Diva wrote about last week.
Eileyn suggested that we need to be thoughtful and set our objectives carefully -- not just to be doing event or series of tactics, but to have reason behind that.

She answered that FPRA has helped her become who she is today, helped her professionally and with ethics.

Karen -- always keep your organizational goal in mind.

Question -- what are some other ways besides press releases to meet your goals?
Eileyn -- explained that she asked residents why they were moving out of her community. Based on answers, she understood the economic reason and gave her tools for outreach -- as a result, she had 10 move ins. She projected five in two months and got 10 in one month.

Second part of question - if we have a supervisor who is press release/event reliant, how do we suggest what worked elsewhere? Case studies?

Julia -- FPRA can provide you with those tools -- resources to ask questions, networking with people and find out what has been done, what worked, what hasn't worked.

Karen -- if you can get over the first hurdle of having a plan with good results, you will make them a believer. Talked about Twitter, referenced someone who has been incredibly successful with it -- Wall St. Journal story, video. Karen took those results to her CEO and now that door is open. Case studies are great for showing results.

Ginny -- discussed HARO - Help a Reporter Out, free service to get included in queries.

Karen - gathering the data as you go along allows you to make mid-course corrections. Mid course corrections are fine.

PR Pro Bono Day About to Begin!

The chairs are set up, the room is filling up and the professionals of the Southwest Florida Chapter are excited about bringing this project to the nonprofit community! Six panel discussions are planned covering:
PR 101
How to Write a Press Release
Talking to the Media
Special Events Publicity
PR Budgeting & Measurement
Social Media & Blogging
Twenty-one members of the Chapter have dedicated all or a portion of their busy afternoon to this community service project.
The PR Pro Bono Day begins at 1:00 and concludes with networking and individual counseling at 4:30 p.m. So if you are with a nonprofit, have PR questions and would like free answers, come on down to the Lakes Regional Library and join us!