Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 10 PR Resolutions to Welcome 2010

As we get ready to ring in the new year, some of us will be making New Year's resolutions -- all well-intentioned -- but most of which will be broken before long. As public relations professionals we are use to setting goals to help us chart success, the key is making sure they are attainable. The Southwest Florida Leadership team has prepared a Top 10 List of PR Resolutions that will be easy to follow and will help each of us polish our PR skill set and try new things in 2010.

  1. Review the AP Stylebook (and buy the most current version if yours is old).We all get a little rusty and could use a refresher. Conveniently, AP Stylebook is available by subscription online and also is on Twitter.
  2. Try a new (at least to you) PR tool. Consider learning something new about social media!
  3. Use FPRA to try out or hone a PR skill – e.g. internal communications (newsletter articles and promotions), event planning (PR University) or management (committee chair).
  4. Begin the process to become an APR or CPRC. We provide lots of support (including financial), and those who have done it swear by the professional benefits that credentialing brings.
  5. Read a business book about a business other than PR.
  6. Review Chapter 496 of the Florida Statutes to see if it applies to you
  7. Be a mentor or find someone newer to the profession who wants a mentor. Not only will you learn more about yourself and your career through either process, but you likely will discover a life long friend.
  8. Donate your PR skills to a nonprofit, and get involved with events and projects in your community. You’d be surprised where those things lead. Do good while being good!
  9. Expose a friend to PR; invite a non-member (or even your boss!) to a meeting or event.
  10. Attend an FPRA event: Social Media Cafe, Image Awards, PR University, Pro Bono Day,Media Breakfast or others as they arise. And don’t forget the FPRA State Conference in August in Naples. It is close and convenient – and our chapter is putting on an event!You’ll have fun, gain knowledge that you can put to work right away and meet the nicest people…your fellow PR professionals.
Happy New Year from the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Image Awards - April 2010

We know that TIME FLIES and April 2010 will be here sooner then we think- so in the coming months, we will give you some handy tips to help you navigate your way through the process of preparing your Image entries.

Getting Started
  • Consider every project you are working on as a potential entry. In order to enter, some part of the project must take place between January 1, 2009 and mid-March 2010 (end date will depend on the deadline to be announced).
  • Write your plan now. Set your goals (broad) and objectives (precise).What are you trying to accomplish? You can have qualitative and quantitative objectives, but they must be specific and measurable.
  • Organize support materials. Keep a file for notes, surveys and documentation. Start saving copies of results, proof of research, before and after samples, e-mail correspondence or feedback, media clips, letters/notes, reference materials, photos, etc. If you start now, all you need to do is “put it together” later.
Categories to Consider

Most people think of the big stuff – marketing campaigns, special events, brochures, new Web sites, etc. But there are also entire categories for a poster or calendar, news release, written speech, electronic communications, presentation, or even a unique specialty item. If you
don’t have enough elements to enter Division A, you can try parsing it out. This
may give you the leading edge and make for a winning entry.

PR Students!

Did you know you can submit an Image Entry? Its true, students can enter a written speech, newsrelease, position paper or computer-generated communication. You can also enter any other category in the other professional divisions if they have something that doesn’t fit in the student division. As you complete your school or internship projects, you may have a gem hiding right in your portfolio. Just think how great it would be to tell future interviewers that part of your body of work won an award at the local, or even state level. That would definitely set you
apart from the crowd and really help your career “take off!”

The Guidelines

Yes, they matter. In fact, failure to meet the guidelines may get your entry disqualified. After you have burned the midnight oil to crank out a future winning entry, you would hate to have be taken out of consideration for not following page or spacing guidelines. There is a certain way to
submit or present your entry, what should be included and how your presentation materials need to be formatted. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”

What you need to know...

Put most of your work into the two-page summary, not the notebooks. Seventy percent of the scoring is based on the summary of your project that sets out the reason and need for development of the public relations program or tool, how it was implemented and the results. The judges then review the support materials for professionalism, innovation and design to score the remaining 30 percent of the entry.

Make sure you address five elements in the two-page summary - Research, Objectives, Implementation, Evaluation and Budget.

If you don’t follow the directions, your entry could be disqualified or at the very least, overlooked. The summary should include all the elements and everything important about your entry. And it should be clear, concise and factual – not just creative. So by following the specific directions – your flight plan – you won’t “veer off course” and you will be able to reach your final destination (a.k.a. AWARDS!!).

2010 Conference: "The Big Picture"

What will bring you to FPRA Annual Conference? There are a lot of great
things happening already with the 2010 Annual Conference, and you won’t
want to miss the “The Big Picture!”

To be a part of "The Big Picture"...
  • MARK YOUR CALENDAR: August 8 – 11, 2010 at the beautiful Naples Grandein Naples, Fla. Did you know that Naples Grande Beach Resort is a certified Florida Green Lodging hotel?
  • RESERVE YOUR HOTEL ROOM NOW: Reservation link is up at
  • REGISTER NOW: Registration forms are ready! Not sure if you’ll have the budget for Annual Conference next year? Have some money left over in your 2009 budget? Take care of it now and relax! Go to to download your registration form
GREAT SPEAKERS CONFIRMED: Confirmed general session speakers include
Jim Lukaszewski, The Lukaszewski Group– Developing a Strategic Mindset: How
To Become a Trusted, Strategic Advisor; Lisa Malone, NASA– PR strategy around
sun setting of the Space Shuttle program; Deirdre Breckenridge, PFS
Marketwyse – Putting The Public Back In Public Relations as well as several
breakout session speakers on topics regarding:
  • •Building a Strategic Plan
  • Launch of the Disney Parks Blog
  • How PR Pros Avoid Legal Woes
  • What Your Boss REALLY Wants But Hasn’t Told You
  • Polishing Your Professional Reputation

TELL US what brings you to conference: In addition to the terrific programming and professional development opportunities, great networking is at Annual Conference because of you! Please email Kathleen Taylor, APR or Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC and tell us “What will bring you to Annual Conference?” for a chance to win an FPRA prize!

Keep an eye out for updates on the FPRA website. This is FPRA’s key professional development seminar, and the focus is on great speakers, of-the-moment topics and tried-and-true
strategies of public relations. Some other things to think about:
  • Do you know of potential sponsors of Annual Conference? Our sponsors help FPRA offset the cost of registration for attendees.
  • What items could your business donate to the FPREF scholarship fundraiser? Let’s help Southwest Florida Chapter co-chairs of the fundraiser Cheryl Garn, APR and Sharon Arnold obtain some great items that will pack the house for the night full of big excitement and big success.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ring in the New Year and new Calendar

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season we are all scrambling to keep tasks and holiday treats in order.

As a helpful reminder, Dec. 31, 2009 is the last day to renew membership without incurring an additional fee.

As we open our 2010 calendars, let us not forget...

Save the date and get ready for an event jam-packed with the latest in the social media market. Topics inlude:

• Social Media Ethics, Butch Ward, Poynter Institute
• Utilizing Youtube for Citzen Engagement, Michelle K. Garnder, UCF
• A social media success story, Chris Griffith,
• And More!

Friday, January 22, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Royal Palm Yacht Club in the Fort Myers River District on West First St.

The 2010 State Conference: "The Big Picture: Bringing Public Relations Strategy and Leadership into Focus" will bring four-days of education, networking and fun to the Naples Grande from Aug 8-11, 2010. Register early, reserve your room and relax!

Save the dates: August 8 - 11, 2010
Location: Naples Grande

Looking for ways to mix business and fun together at 2010 Conference? Consider:
• Lending a hand in raising funds for the Florida Public Relations Education Foundation. By either volunteering for the fund raising committee, making a personal donation, or joining in the festivities with your fellow FPRA friends at the Sunset Social you will be sure to have a blast!
• Have you been looking to take a stay-cation? Why not extend your stay after conference and bring the fam! FPRA negotiates a group hotel rate for the conference, and you can extend your stay for the same nightly rate.