Tuesday, December 14, 2010

President's Word

Ending the year on a Hot note!

Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC, President
 Yes, you heard right.

I said ending the year on a Hot note, not your typical high note. And, I’m not talking about the weather in Southwest Florida either.

I’m talking about the fact that public relations has been named one of the Best Business Careers for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report. Our profession earned this distinction based on the U.S. Labor Department’s projection that employment for public relations specialists is projected to increase by 24 percent, or more than 66,000 jobs, between 2008 and 2018.

At the same time, in a parallel universe, public relations has become a hot story line for television shows. It all started in the late 1990s when actress Kim Cattrall portrayed PR agency owner Samantha Jones in Sex in the City (and the number of students enrolling in undergraduate public relations programs skyrocketed).

Interest has hardly waned in our profession, indeed just the opposite, as universities are graduating record number of students majoring in public relations and, earlier this year a number of new TV reality shows based on public relations were announced.

• In early 2010, Kell on Earth premiered, based on the life of Kelly Cutrone, founder of the public relations, branding and marketing firm, People’s Revolution.

• The Spin Crowd followed this past summer. Produced by reality star, Kim Kardashian, the show is based on the lives of her PR pals Jonathan Cheban and Simon Houck of Command PR. (Warning - these are seriously beautiful people.)

• And yet another reality PR show is rumored for next year. Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy is said to be planning a show about crisis management, based on the career of PR consultant Judy Smith, who has helped high profile celebs and politicians such as Bill Clinton, Michael Vick and New York Governor David Paterson.

I don’t for a moment profess to believe that television shows remotely do justice to promote the realistic worklife and contributions of the majority of PR professionals, in fact, they do just the opposite. But I, for one, don’t mind riding the wave of working in a profession receiving a little buzz.

We may not have our own television show anytime soon here in Southwest Florida, but we are part of the thousands of hard working professionals who sustain the reputation of our profession, mentor students and young professionals, and continue to deliver the communications results required in a global economy and digital world. And that, I believe qualifies us as working in one hot profession.

Happy New Year!

Congratulations to Melissa Simontis, APR

Congratulations to Melissa Simontis, APR, for successfully passing the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations and becoming an Accredited public relations practitioner. Melissa received her APR pin on the December 6th business meeting.

For those of you who are considering making this commitment to your professional development, it may interest you to learn that the APR status is recognized not only by FPRA, but also PRSA and seven other PR associations. And, perhaps more importantly, an accredited practitioner generally earns 20 percent more than non-Accredited members. If you want to join this elite group, contact credential co-chairs Mary Briggs, APR, CPRC at mary@briggsrogers.com or Kara Winton, APR, CPRC at pkwinton@earthlink.net.

December meeting recap: Are you a bouncer or a splatter?

December’s FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter membership meeting included both a community service project for feeding the hungry and hearing from someone’s whose mission is to do so on a daily basis - Sarah Owen, CEO of Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (CCMI).

As part of CCMI’s management process, they reflect on both the successes and challenges faced throughout the year, including accepting and acknowledging how the challenges actually helped them improve. She compared taking risks to a trapeze artist hanging on to the safety of the bar versus the beauty of when they let go and fly through the air. The beauty lies in letting go rather than always playing it safe.

Our response to discouragement and failure that sometimes occurs when taking risks holds the key to our future. You can either be a “splatter” – someone who falls apart or becomes crippled when discouraged; or a “bouncer” – someone who pulls it together and rebounds. It’s a choice whether to give up or get up.

In the past year, Starbucks’ business model was crumbling. They were shutting down stores, receiving bad press and failure was predicted. Owens and CCMI examined what happened and learned from it. Rather than giving up, Starbucks created a new way of doing business by adding new products and services and recreating the look of the stores and is now on the path back to success.

When nominated for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame, Owens was touched by the profound stories of the other nominees, and discovered the tie-in between personal and business determination to “keep going” despite adversity.

Become the “bouncer” and help other people to bounce. Your positive influence can also be pivotal to rescuing others from self-destructive discouragement. At CCMI, stories of despair are common every day. Each employee and volunteer is a part of the culture of helping people in need to keep going.

How do we rescue others? Help them to properly interpret setbacks by guiding them to the right perspective, connecting them to the right people, and restoring them with the right words.

In closing, Owens encouraged us to look carefully at 2010 and become the most beautiful trapeze artist we can be in 2011.

Credentialing Corner: You just never know when those initials will come in handy

By Kara Winton, APR, CPRC

Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes at an FPRA meeting with me knows I am a big proponent of earning one’s Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) credentials. I can run through a list of benefits a mile long. However, if you had asked me a year ago if I’d be a grad student today and those initials would help me get into select courses, I would have laughed at you longer than an APR study session. Laugh’s on me … because it’s true.

Last spring, I decided to combine my dream of being a full-time mom with a passion for continuing education and teaching. I pulled out the GRE study manual and applied to grad school. This August, I began work as a part-time grad student, pursuing a master’s degree in adult education through a distance education program at Indiana University (my Alma mater).

In addition to the litany of adult education courses, the program requires a chunk of credit hours in a “professional focus area.” Surprise, surprise … mine is public relations. So I started searching for online public relations graduate courses, and found just the classes I needed. I also discovered I had to have advanced permission to take the classes.

So I emailed the head of the graduate PR program (after being disappointed when I read his bio and discovered no initials after his name), and provided my resume. I mentioned what classes I was interested in taking, and was pleased to get a very quick reply. Not only did he approve me for the classes I requested, but any and all courses the program offered. Included in his rationale, and I quote, “two well respected professional credentials (APR, CPRC).”

How cool is that?! Clearly the effort I put into studying for the APR and CPRC exams paid dividends. What’s even more remarkable is the professor’s experience lies all in Indiana, yet he recognized and respected the CPRC designation, which is specific to Florida. Sounds like the PR industry respects the work of Sunshine State PR professionals!

So if you’ve ever wondered what earning your APR and CPRC credentials could do for you, imagine the unimaginable. The laugh could be on you next!

Make accreditation #1 on 1-11-11!

Do you have five years of PR experience and want to take your career to the next level? Are you interested in pursuing Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)? Then what better way to start a new year than setting a professional goal of making accreditation #1 on 1-11-11?

Join us on Jan. 11, 2011 for an informational meeting. We will share with you an overview of the accreditation process and talk to you about the next round of study sessions set to begin in February. We’ll discuss the best days/times for everyone involved and plot a course for you to pass the exam and earn those coveted initials – APR!

Why pursue accreditation?
  • 1 – Among FPRA chapters we are the only 1 to provide candidates electronic flash cards!
  • 11 – Join us for 1 meeting plus 10 study sessions and you will be prepared for the oral presentation and written APR exam.
  • 11 – We guarantee you will receive at least 11 congratulatory emails within the first hour after we announce to the chapter you’ve earned your accreditation!
OK, there are a lot of other reasons to pursue accreditation, and we would love the chance to talk to you about them. Don’t forget to join us on 1-11-11. We’ll meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Briggs and Rogers office, 7680 Cambridge Manor Place in Fort Myers. If you have any questions, or to let us know you plan to attend, please click on either of our names below.

Ensuring the success of each candidate is our #1 priority!
Mary Briggs, APR, CPRC and Kara Winton, APR, CPRC
Credentialing Co-Chairs

Local Image Awards 2011: Tips for Success

We already told you to look at your projects and think about the many categories you can submit entries for Local Image Awards. But the real Image formula for success is something so basic it may be overlooked - Read the directions!

Image guidelines are very specific. Since projects are different, there must be a uniform approach to presenting an entry so that judging can be fair and impartial. And remember, PR professionals are sticklers for details and they are the ones who judge your entries. There are guidelines for what should be included and how things need to be formatted, and those guidelines should not be ignored.

The very last thing you want is to have an award-worthy project fail to win or, even worse, be disqualified all together, because you did not follow the directions.

Put most of your effort into the 2-Page Summary. 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. Make sure you address five elements - Research, Objectives, Implementation, Evaluation and Budget. And it should be clear, concise and factual – not just creative.

The judges then review support materials for professionalism, innovation and design to score the remaining 30 percent of the entry. Please think about what you can include to help the judges understand or appreciate your project. Don’t lose valuable points by failing to include support materials that detail what you have presented in the summary.

And last, but not least, please, please proofread your final summary. Check, not only grammar and punctuation, but general typos that could cost you an Image award.

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence. ~Author Unknown

FGCU Student Chapter Finishes Semester Strong

On Tuesday, November 9, FPRA's student chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University hosted a panel discussion focused on Sports PR. More than 40 students attended.

The panelists included:

Gary Sharp, Miracle Baseball, director of media relations/promotions and P.A. Announcer

Ed Reed, The News-Press, sports editor

Nick Johnson, Florida Everblades, account executive

Justin Miller, 60 Feet Away, executive director

Congratulations to faculty advisor Professor Susan Moniz and our Student Chapter on hitting a home run with this very successful event!

A number of FGCU FPRA students topped off the semester by attending the professional chapter's December meeting with guest speaker Sarah Owen, CEO of Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (CCMI). Students were able to network with professional members and hear Sarah's inspirational message about embracing challenges and failures and turning them around as learning lessons. 

Annual Conference: Exceeding Expectations!

By: Dan Whicker
Director of Marketing and Communications
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

The 2010 FPRA Annual Conference was the first one that I attended. Having been a member of the FPRA’s Southwest Florida Chapter for just over a year, I was finding that the learning was great and the networking even better. Fellow members encouraged me to attend the Annual Conference, especially since it was being held right down the road from where we are in Fort Myers. So, with the blessing of my employer, I headed down to Naples with high expectations that I would be returning with some good PR-enhancing ideas.

Well, my high expectations were more than met, and I ended up making some nice friends along the way. The conference was well thought out and the sessions were all very informative. It’s too hard for me to pick a favorite speaker because they all did such a wonderful job. One of the most memorable was, of course, Jenny Dervin from JetBlue Airways, who had the misfortune of having to deal with a major PR incident at the exact time she was attending the conference and speaking! She expertly turned the situation into a learning experience for session attendees and it was a very potent reminder of how the PR professional’s role must constantly adapt to changing situations.

It is usually difficult for conference attendees to immediately put into practice what they have just learned. The everyday demands of work threaten to push new knowledge and ideas into the recesses of our memories once we return after a few days of learning and networking. However, through local chapter recaps, new relationships, and FPRA resources, help is never far away and you eventually find that you are using what you learned without even thinking about it.

I highly recommend this Annual Conference to all FPRA members and to anyone interested in growing in their roles as professional communicators. Kudos to all who were involved in setting up the 2010 event. I can’t wait to see what you do in 2011!

PR2011: The Evolution of Public Relations
August 7-10, 2011
Naples Grande Beach Resort

Holiday Forget Me Nots

Calling All FPRA Professionals!

We Need YOU!

Tiffany Esposito and Melissa Simontis, APR are gearing up for Pro Bono Day and this year's Media Breakfast, and they need our help. If you are able to volunteer to assist on the event planning committees for these two events, then please call or email Tiffany at (239) 992-2943, tiffany@bonitaspringschamber.com or, Melissa Simontis, APR at (239) 425-2366, ext. 25, melissa.simontis@pacecenter.org  No matter how big or small a role you can take, all help is greatly appreciated.

Pro Bono Day will be March 18th at the Lee County Elections Center and the Media Breakfast will be held in June, date still to be determined based on location.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

President's Word

By: Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC

As the holidays approach and we easily get caught up in a haze of frenetic activity, I hope you will join me in stepping back and finding a moment of peace and serenity to reflect on what you’re thankful for this year. 

Although my list could go on and on, here is my top 10 list of what I’m thankful for today, and every day. 

I’m thankful for:

•  My Mom, Audrey Scott, a beautiful woman who taught me how to read and write by the age of four and without a doubt set me on the path to a career in public relations. 

•  My children, Joseph and Deni, who inspire me daily.  They make me laugh, occasionally cry, and have given me a lifetime of wonderful memories with many more still to come. 

•  My husband, Jim, who listens endlessly to my “PR” stories and musings and gives me the greatest gift of always appearing interested. 

•  My friends, including those who have been by my side for decades, as well as those who are new in my life.  You lift me up and keep me grounded at the same time.

•  The blessing of living in a country where a young woman can go to college, pursue a career and know the sky’s the limit and dreams do come true. 

• The many mentors who have helped me on my professional journey.  You know who you are and I’ll never forget your collective wisdom, patience and support.  You celebrated each success and wouldn’t let me wallow when I stumbled, telling me to dust off my boots and get back to work.

•  A strong body and tenacious spirit which allow me to get up each day and embrace new opportunities and challenges.

•  The opportunity to embrace the spiritual faith of my choice and share it publicly.

•  The gift of technology which has the power to bring us together as one human race, yet cautions us to understand that with power comes responsibility.

•  My colleagues on the FPRA Southwest Florida chapter leadership team who work tirelessly and with giving hearts each and every day. 

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."   - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy Thanksgiving!

FPRA December Business Meeting

"Lessons Learned from Starbucks and the Energizer Bunny"

On Monday, December 6, you will hear from one of our area’s most amazing and effective leaders! Sarah Owen, Chief Executive Officer of Community Cooperative Ministries, will share her insight into business, public relations and leadership principles that she has learned this year from Starbucks and her experience with the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame. In addition to being CEO of Cooperative Community Ministries, Sarah Owen is a social service entrepreneur. Her journey into the non-profit arena came by way of a career in public relations and corporate communications. Sarah has worked in investor relations, public relations and corporate communications for publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange as well as private companies throughout the Southeastern United States. God has blessed Sarah with the opportunity to work at CCMI, and she humbly acknowledges that He equips her to carry out her responsibilities.

ood Drive

In the spirit of giving during this holiday season we will be holding a food drive at our December meeting to help CCMI meet the growing needs of the community. Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to this worthwhile cause

Click here to register now!

Congratulations to Melissa Simontis, APR!

Kudos to Melissa Simontis, APR, for successfully passing the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations and becoming an Accredited public relations practitioner. She is the development director for PACE Center for Girls, Lee County. Melissa joins an elite group of approximately 6,000 public relations professionals worldwide who have achieved Accreditation, including 26 from our chapter of FPRA.

The exam tests the candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities in the practice of public relations, and the preparation is a time consuming challenge of reading, memorizing and studying. Achieving the APR designation is evidence of Melissa’s high degree of professional expertise and is a testament to her personal determination. Congratulations, Melissa!

For those of you who are considering making this commitment to your professional development, it may interest you to learn that the APR status is recognized not only by FPRA, but also PRSA and seven other PR associations. And, perhaps more importantly, an accredited practitioner generally earns 20 percent more than non-Accredited members. If you want to join this elite group, contact credential co-chairs Mary Briggs, APR, CPRC at mary@briggsrogers.com or Kara Winton, APR, CPRC at pkwinton@earthlink.net.

November Meeting Recap: Ken Sneeden and Kirsten O’Donnell Share Tips on Making Your Video Stand Out

Guest speakers Ken Sneeden and Kirsten O'Donnell. 
At FPRA’s November 2 meeting, guest speakers Kirsten O’Donnell and Ken Sneeden shared tips and techniques for video production. 

As Director of Public Relations at Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Kirsten utilizes video for many purposes from education to promotion online. She also has professional experience in broadcast news. One of her most successful recent campaigns for Goodwill was the “So You Think You’re Thrifty” contest. She emphasized that while a photo is worth a thousand words… video, at 29 frames per second at just two minutes of length is worth 3,480,000 words!

With the availability of a wide variety of cameras and software, you can either do it yourself or go pro, depending on the audience, budget, medium, degree of artistic freedom, and the longevity desired. Cameras range from hundreds of dollars to thousands, depending on the quality. Software can be a simple as Windows Movie Maker or professional quality such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.
Doing it yourself is ideal for audiences already familiar with your organization or purpose, when you do not need to build credibility. By doing it yourself, you have a smaller budget, complete control (but lower quality), short and trendy format, and it’s easy to use for web, social media and podcasting.
You should hire a pro when approaching a new audience where credibility is not established yet, and you want to have a longer-lasting video with more return on investment. You’ll need a larger budget and will have less creative control, but will create a broadcast quality video with better effects.

Some additional tips that Kirsten shared for shooting an effective video:
  • Be a storyteller. A good story can go a long way. 
  • Have a shot list ready. 
  • Take more footage than you think you need, including different angles of the same thing. Rule of thumb: 10 minutes footage for 1 minute edited. 
  • Begin with an establishing shot to set the mood and begin the story. 
  • “Cover it up” – talking heads are boring. Edit video over talking. 
  • Keep it simple in terms of special effects – just because you can doesn’t mean you should use all those cool editing tricks. 
  • Consider video without video – use photos, music, video effects to create animation. There are some simple online services for this: Animoto, Vuvox, One True Media. 
Ken Sneeden is an award-winning former journalist and television station executive. He’s been in the business of professional video and multimedia production at his company Ken Sneeden & Associates since 1991. Ken shared a professional’s perspective on video production.

Some of the new developments in video production are that HD (high definition) is more commonplace with a 16 to 9 ratio. The old format is SD (standard definition) a 4 to 3 ratio. Sometimes, he still creates both formats depending on where they might be used.

The newest development is BluRay. It’s the highest quality you can get. HD is condensed on DVD, but is better on BluRay for a real wow factor. However, the user must have a BluRay player to view it.

If you want to shoot fairly good quality video, try a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera with a tripod. With newer models, HD quality is built-in. This type of camera is good for beauty and contrast. However, they’re not as good for action, moving subjects, panning and zooming.

Ken also discussed length of video. With shorter audience attention spans, videos are becoming shorter, too. Old corporate videos would generally range from 7-10 minutes. Now they are 4-6 minutes, and no more than 2 minutes for the web. Production time has also decreased due to the newer technology – but when working with the pros be sure to allow about 30-45 days, including scheduling, planning, scripting, approvals, shooting and editing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Local Image Awards 2011

This month, the Local Image 2011 team wants you to really explore some of the categories you can enter. Most people think of the big stuff – promotional/marketing campaigns, special events, internal campaigns, etc. But you may not realize that you can also enter a poster or calendar, news release, written speech, specialty item, electronic communications (including blogs, e-mail, newsletters and surveys), brochure, website or even a presentation.

We point this out because the feedback from many people on why they don’t enter is because the process is difficult and time-consuming…and yes, it can be challenging for large-scale projects. But you can also break larger projects up into small, more manageable pieces. Since most of these projects are smaller in scope, entering your work in the “tools of the trade” categories B and C may be less overwhelming, especially to someone who has never submitted anything. This may end up being your formula for success!

So, think about all the categories when looking over your project list and see what sparks your imagination!

Note to students Students can enter a written speech, news release, position paper or computer-generated communication like a website or PowerPoint. You can also enter any other category in the other professional divisions if you have something that doesn’t fit in the student division. Just think how great it would be to tell future interviewers that part of your body of work won an award at a local, or possibly state level. That would definitely set you apart from the crowd and help jump-start your career!

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” - Pablo Picasso

Member Spotlight: Victoria B. Moreland

Victoria B. Moreland joined the Lee County Port Authority as the department director of public affairs in May 2007. The public affairs department is responsible for the promotion of Southwest Florida International Airport and Page Field General Aviation Airport though media relations and public information/marketing communications including special events, community relations programs, corporate citizenship and employee communications. The department also oversees the production of advertising and promotional materials, manages the Art in Flight program and maintains the airport's Web site.

Moreland has 34 years of experience in the aviation industry. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Moreland was the Vice President of Planning with Spirit Airlines. She has held senior management positions in marketing, public relations, airport administration, government affairs, route selection and strategic planning for Spirit Airlines, Emerald Airlines and Air New England.

Moreland is a member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA). She served on the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA board as treasurer from 2007-2009 and as team leader of the Local Image Awards in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Moreland was awarded the 2010 Chapter Member of the Year from the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA for her work and contribution to the chapter.

Counselors’ Network Winter Symposium set to be magical

This year’s Counselors’ Network Winter Symposium is being held January 20-22, 2011 at the spectacular Lowe’s Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios in Orlando. While speakers are still being confirmed, a behind the scenes peek into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is rumored to be on the agenda.

Hotel reservations must be made by December 30th, 2010 to obtain a magically low rate secured for this event. Call: (866) 360-7395.

Counselors’ Network is currently open to any Universally Accredited member in good standing of FPRA who is actively engaged in providing counseling service, either as a full-time principal, officer, partner, or employee of a public relations firm, corporation, organization, or agency, and who has been in a counseling capacity for at least three years and has ten years of public relations experience.

Take note though, beginning November 1, 2011, membership in Counselors’ Network will be restricted to FPRA members who are CPRC’s (Certified Public Relations Counselors). Now may be the perfect time to pursue this additional level of credentialing for PR professionals. Contact credentialing co-chairs Mary Briggs at mary@briggsrogers.com or Kara Winton at pkwinton@comcast.net to learn more about the CPRC process.

December Tidbits

Have a PR Tip to Share?

Whether you’ve been in the public relations field for one year or 30; you have a resource tip that is invaluable. Generally it is a website, but it may be a free application; a social media group, page, or hint; a book or other resource. We would like share one or two tips a month with members in “Tidbits”. Send your tidbits to Kate Gooderham and please mark that they are tidbits.

Tidbit 1 - Submitted by Karen Ryan, APR, CPRC

www.FreePressRelease.com provides permanent hosting of your media releases absolutely free! Please note that the free service, as with many free posting services, include advertisements posted on your media release and you have no choice of the products or services that are advertised. You can, for a fee, enroll in the Add Eliminator Unlimited Plan. Even if you don’t post a release, there are great media release tips on the site.

Want to have your media release evaluated for marketing effectiveness? Visit www.pressrelease.grader.com

Tidbit 2 - Submitted by Laura Puerto

Two words can save you time, stress and money! That’s right! Google Alerts allow you to stay on top of just about anything your heart desires. These e-mail alerts are simple to set up and are free! Based on your topic(s), Google Alerts can track the web, blogs and more on a once-a-day, once-a-week or as-it-happens basis. Google Alerts make tracking media impressions, keeping tabs on the competition or just hearing the latest gossip on your favorite star a snap! To sign up, visit http://www.google.com/alerts.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events 2011 

In the coming year give yourself the gift of enhancing your skills and expanding your professional network. Add participating in the numerous FPRA opportunities available in 2011 to your New Year’s resolutions. Here’s a sampling of what’s in store.

Internship Opportunity

BIG ARTS Sanibel is looking for a part-time intern for its Marketing Department. Marketing duties can be tailored to the applicant’s strengths, however, we are in need of help with press releases, feature articles, photography and graphic support. Prefer experience working with Photoshop and InDesign. We are looking for someone to work 10 to 20 hours. Learn more about us at www.bigarts.org Contact: Cathy Paus Marketing and Creative Director. Email: cpaus@bigarts.org Phone: 239-472-9705

Thursday, October 14, 2010

President's Word

The New Black: Personal Relationships
By: Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC

Personal relationships are back in vogue. That’s right. The old-fashioned face-to-face, let’s get together and talk in person or via phone type of relationship. 

No, it’s not time to give up your smart phone or iPad, but it is time to set them aside occasionally, disconnect digitally, and dive in for some direct human interaction. 

In the recent 2010 Happiness Survey conducted in 16 countries (including the U.S.), 40% of those surveyed said catching up with loved ones at the end of a work day was the happiest time of their day.  Conversely, only 5% said they were happiest when connecting with friends online.

The latest wave of building relationships online...is to take them offline.  Tweetups, Meetups, and special events solely for niche online communities are mushrooming as we build relationships online and then over time start feeling the need to meet our “digital” friends and get to know them on a more personal level.   “Putting faces with names” as we used to say in the pre-social media age. 

We recently spent a full day at PR University in Southwest Florida, embracing the power of personal relationships and by extension – networking for success.  We’ve captured the thoughts of outstanding speakers Andy Robinson, Greta Schulz and Josh Hallett, amongst many others, on our FPRASWFLBLOG.  It wasn’t just the power of the speakers that drove home the importance of personal relationships, it was also the personal connections with fellow PR and marketing professionals that day.  I know of job opportunities discussed, possible leads on new clients, and ideas shared on engaging the next generation of PR leaders throughout the day. 

Still questioning the validity of personal relationships in our digitially-driven age?  In a 2009 survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, almost 95% of those surveyed said “face-to-face meetings” are critical to successful long term relationships.

One way to build personal relationships is to join, and become actively involved with, a professional trade organization.  In Southwest Florida, the Florida Public Relations Association has been providing professional development and networking opportunities to public relations and marketing professionals for more than 25 years. If you're not a member, I invite you to join.  If you are a member, I hope you are using the resources of the organization to power your success.  

Get in style. Get personal.

November 2nd Business Meeting: Lights, Camera Action!

Lights, Camera, Action! – Tips on Making Your Video Stand Out!

On Tuesday November 2, prepare to have all your questions on video production answered! Kirsten O’Donnell, Director of Public Relations for Goodwill Industries of SWFL, and Ken Sneeden, President of Ken Sneeden and Associates Multimedia Production; team up to offer PR pros insight into their experiences and tips on how to make the best of your video productions. The presentation will be given in a panel format, with O’Donnell covering the aspect of how to do it yourself and get a great product, while Sneeden will talk about when it's time to hire a multimedia firm, and how to work with a firm to get the video results you want. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session near the end of the presentation.

Click here to register today!

Kirsten O'Donnell has worked in nearly every job possible in Television News production: From writing, reporting, and anchoring, to editing tapes and shooting video. Since entering the world of public relations four years ago, she has looked for new ways to incorporate video-- and in particular online video-- into Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida's PR and marketing efforts. She produces both internal and external videos for the agency, and online video plays an integral role in one of Goodwill's biggest events-- the annual "So You Think You're Thrifty" competition-- a search for the thriftiest shopper in Southwest Florida.

Ken Sneeden is an award-winning former broadcast journalist and television station executive. Sneeden was the creator of the nationally recognized Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Awards television production and continues to provide professional and volunteer services to local, regional and state public service efforts. For the past several years, he has donated multimedia production services to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s "Celebration of Reading" presentation in Naples, produced by VolunteerUSA. Messages produced by the company include video productions, live and interactive multimedia presentations, and touch screen kiosks.

Membership Renewal Reminder!

It’s that time of year again, as Membership Renewals are due October 31!

Membership in FPRA provides:
  • Exclusive member-only savings and opportunities
  • New career opportunities
  • Involvement through leadership roles
  • Information on communications tips and trends through quality programming
  • A place to build relationships with the area’s leading PR pros!
And if that isn’t enough to encourage renewal by October 31, we’ve sweetened the deal! Everyone who renews before the 10/31 deadline will have their name put in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Twisted Vine in downtown Fort Myers. Drawing will take place at the Dec. 7th meeting. If you haven’t yet renewed your membership, do it now! Email carla.ulakovic [at] gmail.com for a Membership Renewal Form.

A limited number of membership scholarships are available for renewing members. If you're interested in a membership scholarship, please submit two or three paragraphs outlining your financial need, involvement in chapter activities, commitment to professional development and how your participation in FPRA will benefit the chapter and your professional career. Submit your request to carla.ulakovic [at] gmail.com.

PRU: Putting the Relations back in PR

PRU: Putting the Relations back in PR included a diversified panel who touted the importance of building relationships through successful communication.

Greta Schulz, President and CEO of Schulz Training, energized the PRU crowd during the morning session with thought-provoking questions and practical advice on how to grow one’s business by building relationships. She encouraged us all to Stop Selling and Start Building Relationships.

Josh Hallet, of VOCE Communications had the answers to all of our burning social media questions. Attendees learned how to chart their social media success and build stronger brands through social media planning, monitoring and measurement tools. And yes, there is such a thing as over-posting.

Attendees took the opportunity to network and play a few trivia games before lunch hour speaker, Andy Robinson, took the stage driving home the basic principles of building and maintaining relationships.

One thing is for sure, no one in the PRU audience wanted to be a “dead fish”. Suzanne Willis, spoke to the group on “The Art of Making Meetings Pay Off” highlighting tips, tools and tactics to set the foundation of strong relationships. Suzanne urged us all to master the art of the handshake- the key is to be firm and make eye contact, and most importantly try to avoid a limp handshake known as “the dead fish”.

Do you ever find yourself shuffling papers, or straightening your office when a deadline is quickly approaching? According to Butch Ward, Managing Director of the Poynter Institute, this may be a part of our writing process. Butch took us back to the basics and really encouraged attendees to look at the writing process and find ways to better map out a project from start to finish.
What better way to end the day, than with three of the area’s finest in graphic and print design? The SWFL Chapter welcomed, Homer Gaines, Sue Lampit and Shell Lamers Redfern, to discuss tips and tools for PR pros to use in order to be more successful with their design elements. From logos, to websites to direct mail pieces, all of the attendees burning questions were answered. To read more, click here!

The event was a success due to a wonderful line-up of speakers, volunteers and sponsors. The SWFL Chapter would like to once again thank the News-Press; Briggs and Rogers Marketing & PR; LCEC; Southwest Florida Community Foundation; Gravina, Smith, Matte and Arnold; and Nulman PR & Marketing for their support of the SWFL Chapter and PRU.

Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with our team by completing this short survey. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L7DWKFH. Thank you for sharing today with us!

Thank you SW Florida FPRA for the opportunity to attend this years PR University. The speakers were informative and impressive. I have implemented several of social media tracking items already. It was truly a well planned event right down to the attendee gift jars matching the logo and program materials. - Patrice Cunningham, Lee County YMCA.

View more PRU photos by clicking here!

Local Image 2011

Local Image Awards are held annually to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Southwest Florida. So, even though it is months away, your Image committee is excited and already making plans for the professional and social event of the year…and so should you!

Put your projects under the microscope and consider everything you do to be a potential award-winning entry. We know it takes time and effort but we want you to showcase your very best work
  • In order to enter, some part of the project must take place between January 1, 2010 and mid-March 2011 (end date will be announced shortly).
  • 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. Basically, collect everything that will help someone understand your project and provide back up to your two-page summary. And for 2011, let’s make every effort to save work product electronically!
Remember…"Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found." – James Russell Lowell


PR2011: The Evolution of Public Relations
August 7 – 10, 2011
Naples, Florida

From its earliest days as an emerging profession with “founding fathers” Edward Bernays and Ivy Ledbetter Lee, public relations has been a dynamic industry with its share of controversy and change. However, even with their foresight, Bernays and Lee could never have envisioned where our profession stands today with the impact of technology, cultural diversity and global reach.

The 2011 FPRA annual conference will embrace the evolution of public relations including the foundational skills and knowledge required to be competitive in today’s marketplace, as well as taking a giant leap forward …exploring the journey ahead for our industry.
The conference will kick-off with a Tailgate Party to raise funds for the Florida Public Relations Education Foundation. It’ll be a collegiate showdown to see which school reigns. So start dusting off your college colors and plan to win one for the home team.

Mark your calendar now and visit http://www.fpra.org/ for more information.

November Member Spotlight: Danielle Flood

Danielle Flood joined ECHO, Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization in December 2007 after serving as a missionary in Niger, West Africa for two years. She is responsible for ECHO's Public Relations and Communications, including ECHO's website, media relations and social media campaigns.

Flood graduated magna cum laude from Florida Gulf Coast University with degrees in Spanish and Anthropology. She enjoys learning languages, experiencing diverse cultures and being outdoors.

Flood is active in the Florida Public Relations Association where she served as Special Projects Co-chair and currently serves as Website Chair for the Southwest Chapter.

October Member Spotlight: Lucy Costa

Lucy Costa is president of Promotional Incentives, Inc. and a long-time member of FPRA. Promotional Incentives is a strategic branding company that provides expert advice and products to companies and organizations with the focused goal of Getting Results® - bringing in more business, recognizing donors and employee achievements, and improving a company image.

The best examples of Lucy’s work are to highlight what she has done for our organization. In addition to being a member for more than 15 years, Promotional Incentives has provided the Southwest Florida Chapter speakers gifts such as candy jars and business card holders, board of director gifts including crystal desk accessories, USB Pens, and clocks, promotional giveaways like coffee mugs, promotional pens, t-shirts, our chapter professional awards (which were recently substantially upgraded), and most recently the FPRA T-shirts.

For more than 15 years Promotional Incentives has supported FPRA events on a statewide and local basis including event-themed giveaways like the Cactus-shaped pen for the Annual Conference Hoedown, flower power key rings for the 70’s themed party, flower-pot coffee mugs for “An Opportunity to Bloom” theme for the Southwest Florida chapter Image Awards, and USB flash drives for PR University attendees.

Lucy Costa has been a presenter on promotional marketing and recognition for our chapter as well as other organizations in the area. She serves on committees, boards and is involved with many civic and and non-profit organizations including PR University, Uncommon Friends Foundation, Lee Building Industry Association, CCMI, Habitat For Humanity, WGCU Public Media, and Epiphany Episcopal Church.

Above all Lucy loves FPRA and thanks all of its members for their continued support and loyalty to Promotional Incentives!

November Tidbits

Have a PR Tip to Share?

Whether you’ve been in the public relations field for one year or 30; you have a resource tip that is invaluable. Generally it is a website, but it may be a free application; a social media group, page, or hint; a book or other resource. We would like share one or two tips a month with members in “Tidbits”. Send your tidbits to Kate Gooderham and please mark that they are tidbits.

Tidbit 1 - Submitted by Ginny Cooper, APR, CPRC

If you hope for television coverage of an event, be sure to factor in the time of the stations’ daily assignment meetings. They are usually held around 9 a.m. so plan to schedule your event for 11 a.m. or later for a better chance of getting coverage.  Call individual TV stations to find out specifically what time they hold assignment meetings.

Tidbit 2 - Submitted by Beckie Reeves, Marketing Director, Florida Eye Health

One of my weekly projects at Florida Eye Health is sending an email newsletter to our 80+ employees to keep them informed of what’s happening at our practice. I think it’s important to include an inspirational message every week and I find that my email subscription to WalkTheTalk is an excellent resource for these short messages, as well as ideas for Dr. Frantz’s monthly message. I receive several emails from them each week, including “My Daily Inspiration.” If you’re not already a subscriber, I hope that you’ll go to WalkTheTalk.com and sign up. I think you’ll find it a valuable resource for your company and for yourself.

FPRA Member Ginny Cooper to Present At TWTRCON

On November 18th San Francisco takes center stage as the TWTRCON SF 2010 Business in Real-Time conference comes to town for a jammed-pack day of speakers, case studies and workshops on how to effectively use Twitter as a strategic business tool.

Southwest Florida will be well represented at TWTRCON with FPRA member and Past President Ginny Cooper having been selected to conduct one of the first workshops offered at TWTRCON. While it’s easy to see how Twitter may be strategically advantageous for large businesses and well known brands, it’s often difficult for small businesses to see the value and allocate the resources to emerging platforms such as Twitter.

Cooper will be bridging the perceived gap for small businesses and solopreneurs, sharing lessons she has learned on how to strategically use Twitter to manage reputation, generate leads, grow business, and nurture customer loyalty. You can follow Cooper on her TWTRCON journey on Twitter @GinnyCooper.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PRU 2010: Graphic Design Panel

Sue Lampitt, Homer Gaines and Shell Lamers Redfern
Shell Lamers Redfern, Creative Director at Get Groovy! began her portion of the presentation by discussing the up and coming graphic designer. The age range in her class is 17-60, so it is not always the youngsters. Technology has been a useful tool for graphic design. What used to take three weeks to do, now takes 30 minutes or less.

Designers express their ideas very differently now.  5, 10, or 15 years ago, people spent a lot of time doing sketches. Designs were purposefully thought out because the process was so expensive. With all of today's technology tools, you'd think we have more time to work on ideas, but it is not that way. We have less time.

She teaches her class how to create artwork that can be reproduced. They learn how to use Adobe Creative Suite and six other software systems.  They also learn the difference between RGB and CMYK. When working with a student or inexperienced designer, it's important to take the time to teach them why changes need to be made. They may have technical skills, but need the experience.

Logo design tips -- When designing a logo, always start out in solid black and white. You can always add colors and grayscale later. If it doesn’t look good in black and white, then it won’t transfer easily to promotional items. When your logo is the size of a postage stamp, can you still read it? If not, then it is too complicated.   Your logo should be designed in illustrator first because it is vector based. Then is can work in other programs. It is okay to have more than one logo if they all have the same elements and feel. Many companies have vertical and horizontal logos.

Sue Lampitt, Intech Printing and Direct Mail Marketing emphasized that print is not dead, although many people say it is. It is a changing industry. People still incorporate it into their marketing every day. Sometimes it is a less expensive way to go. Print has been around for a long time, and can have a lot of impact and power.

10 Reasons to Continue with Printing:
  1. Print is for here for keeps. You read literature in an office; you leave with brochures; you can take it home and review while you think things over. You can hold it and feel the quality. Words are important when in print.
  2. Print is portable. It can go anywhere with you. You don’t have to turn it off on the airplane, and the battery won’t die. It complements all your initiatives. It can drive people to your website.
  3. Print Drives a higher ROI. It is persuasive as direct mail. It is a great way to expand business relationships and keep customers loyal.
  4. Print plays well with others. It complements your electronic advertising. With direct mail you can be specific and speak to the right group or a more focused group.
  5. Print is beautiful. It is art and the printer takes time to make sure it is beautiful. People have feelings that are evoked by beauty.
  6. Buyers seek print. Stores send out catalogs. You can relax when you look over the catalog. A more relaxed atmosphere prompts you to go to their website or store.
  7. Print is credible. It has a lot more value when it is in ink
  8. Print is not rude. It doesn't call you during dinner. People still like to go home and check their mailbox.
  9. Print is personal. With digital printing you can personalize each and every piece. Names and images can change with digital printing.
  10. Print is Everywhere. It is at the trade shows, the theater, it is everyone. 
Lampitt added that it's important to prepare electronic files properly for printing, including vector logos and color adjustments. She also suggested getting copies of your files from your graphic designer and keep it on file for future use or adjustments.

Homer Gaines, Sr. Flash Developer/Designer for Chico’s FAS discussed design trends which can help your initiatives.

A logo says a lot about a company and its services. People look at the logo and form immediate opinions. Sometimes companies fail to get their logo right because they don’t have the education. It takes both the technical knowledge and experience.

GAP is a good example right now of a bad logo brand choice. Why mess with a strong brand? They had a good logo and went in the opposite direction.

Sometimes people want their logo to be bigger, so they can be noticed more. That's not always the best way to get noticed.  When you start showing up in search engines, people are looking for content, not the logo. When they search, the are searching for the content. If you are not saying anything of value to the person searching for content, the logo size doesn’t matter.

Get creative with your content. You can embed stylized fonts into web content now. It allows you to step outside of the standard fonts that come with everyone’s machines, and create text that actually looks like images. Keep in mind that some fonts only look good on a Mac or PC. They may look good on the Mac, but not on the PC. Stay away from those fonts. Macs look like everything was done in Photoshop, but on a PC you can start to see the jagged edges on some fonts.

Educate your clients about design and what will work on the web. Web uses RGB, but printers need CMYK. An AI (Adobe Illustrator) file is the basic vector file. A designer usually provides this to the client, as well as converting it to a JPG for web use.

WordPress is a great tool for blogging. Anyone can set it up. You can maintain all the content that is on it. The only thing you have to pay for is your domain name and hosting spot.  Gaines says to avoid Go Daddy because their admin tools are not the easiest to use. They host and offer domains, but it is really hard to understand and very easy to get lost. There are plenty of hosting companies out there that are easier to use. Gaines uses BlueHost. He also recommends regular back ups in whatever you are working on, and your websites.

Guest blogger:  Jessica Clark, APR, Shell Point Retirement Community, JessicaClark@shellpoint.org

PRU 2010: Butch Ward - Writing and Editing for a New Media Audience

Presenter: Butch Ward, The Poynter Institute

“Writing may be magical, but it’s not magic.” - Donald Murray, Writing Coach

The importance and value of strong writing skills have never been more hotly debated than they are today thanks to the pervasiveness of digital media delivery systems. Some have gone so far as to predict the end of writing as we know it as newspapers and magazines hit their projected demise and the written message is condensed into 140 character sound bites or less.

We live in a changing world in how the written word is delivered.
  •  Communicators no longer need intermediaries
  • Anyone with Internet access can reach a global audience with a message
  • HOWEVER: With such access comes responsibility. We should always consider…How are we affecting the public discourse with the words we share?

The Hard Truth: When searching the Web, people spend less than 30 seconds on a home page and less than one minute on an interior page. And consider this: Most people bypass the home page and enter through a link, search engine, etc.

Which leads us to: Writing is Critical to GRAB ATTENTION and Writing and Editing are more important than ever and will remain important FOREVER! Especially for communicators.

Here are a few tips to rev up your writing and create stand out copy.

Follow the Writer’s Process

1) Conceive/develop the idea: What’s my story’s goal? Who is my audience?
First of all you need to understand where you get your story ideas: in the shower, while exercising, walking the hallway and talking to colleagues?

You can also collaborate with your audience, clients and colleagues and have them share their ideas and thoughts. Get them involved. In today’s words – embrace crowdsourcing.

Writer’s Block?
Try one of these two exercises to get the creative juices and ideas flowing:

The “Dining Room Table” exercise. Grab a few colleagues, set a time limit (say 20 minutes), select a topic and then start discussing it as if you were sitting with friends. Pick a subject that’s relevant to your business and share stories. These stories will lead to valid story ideas for future writing projects.

“The Wheel” exercise: Pull a group of colleagues and/or friends together and pick one topic and start throwing out story ideas based on every audience/stakeholder that touches that topic in some shape or form. For example: Topic: Black Friday. 20 possible story ideas (audiences) were identified. Everything from retailers to advertising representatives and daycare centers.

2) Gather your information (sourcing): What do I know? What do I need to know? The key is to get information that will “hook” the reader.
  • Who are my sources?
  • How diverse are they?
  • Take advantage of using your audience as sources.
  • Does my story have narrative tension, strong characters and action?
  • Do I have facts, and not just opinion? Are they verifiable?
**It’s critically important to verify information – your readers want to know it’s reliable. Always source! There is a golden opportunity for communicators to deal in fact, not opinion. There is too much out there now that is passed off as fact when in fact, its opinion.

3) Focus: Draft/Revise: What’s this story about?

A good exercise to understand what your story is about is to start by writing your story as a paragraph, then one sentence and then one word.

Other elements to consider when telling a story:
  • Photographs - elicit emotions
  • Graphics – deconstruct complex information
  • Video – present action
  • Audio- trigger the imagination
  • Words – communicate information with clarity and spee
4) Draft/Revise/Publish: How can I get my audience to notice it ----and read it?
  • Help the reader find you. (Build in Search Engine Optimization)  Put yourself in the audience shoes and think about what words your audience would use to search your topic.
  • Write to the link. Start the story on the “homepage” and jump it.
  • How much text to use? Less is usually more.
  • On the flipside: Not everything has to be short. A good story will hold a reader’s attention.
  • Use more dialogue (it achieves action) vs. quotations all the time. Capture conversations if possible
When Writing for the Web Keep In Mind:
  • Priority
  • Clarity
  • Efficiency
  • Brevity
  • Simple direct sentences
  • Use active verbs
  • One subject per sentence
  • Use bullet points
  • Use white space
  • Pay attention to logical order
Quick Tips for Editors:
  • Coach the idea
  • Coach the gathering
  • Coach the story
  • Coach the writing
A good editor infuses himself or herself into the writing process. They shouldn’t come in right at the end of the process. Coach the idea from the beginning, coach the story and coach the writing.

At the end of the Day Remember: Write like Ernest Hemingway not Thomas Wolfe!

Guest blogger: Pamela Cox-Nulman, APR, CPRC, Nulman PR & Marketing  pamnulman@earthlink.net

PRU 2010: Suzanne Willis - Manners Matter!

What is a session on manners doing in the middle of a professional development seminar? Ensuring success! In a study conducted by the Stanford Research Institute, “85% of your job success is related to your people skills.” So yes, manners matter! And Suzanne Willis, APR, of Willis Consulting & Communications (http://www.suzannewillis.com/) has been minding her manners since the tender age of 11, when a trip to Europe with her beloved grandmother “Mimi” where she learned proper dining etiquette and how to enjoy Afternoon Tea.

As a member of management for some of the best known names in the hospitality industry (The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group and South Seas Resort) Suzanne knows first-hand how important manners are in the business world. She shared some tips and tricks during her engaging presentation, including a secret to remembering which direction to look for your bread-and-butter dish and your drink when seated at the table.

There are 3 simple principles which guide etiquette:
  • Respect
  • Consideration
  • Honesty
If you’re not sure what to do in any given situation, ask yourself if the action supports those three principles.

The concept of manners guides us in knowing how to interact with each other, whether those interactions are in your personal or professional realm. As Warren Buffet has said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”

Body language is telling as well. In communication, the most important thing is hearing what isn’t said according to Peter Drucker. Willis gave an example of a non-verbal signal that a speaker is uncomfortable in a situation – sucking in your bottom lip. It’s a holdover from childhood when we sucked our thumbs for comfort, she explained.

One mannerism most often exhibited in business is the handshake. Why do we shake hands? To show we aren’t carrying a weapon. The ritual began on the battlefield in the 1500’s, as a gesture of peace and goodwill. The handshakes to avoid?
  • The Bone Crusher
  • The Dead Fish
  • The Glove (putting your free hand on top of the clasped hands – politicians and preachers do this one a lot)
  • The Lady Fingers (unless you expect to have your hand kissed instead of shaken!)
What’s in a name? Everything! It’s the most important thing someone wants to hear, and Willis cautioned us to get it right. And if you engage in conversation with someone whose name you know, but can’t remember, it’s perfectly alright to say so! Some tricks to remembering names?
  • Ask the person to spell their name (this isn’t going to work well if their name is “Sam”!)
  • Focus more on them than on yourself during the conversation
  • Look at their face
Meetings have some additional manners attached. And it was during the meeting manners discussion that many questions were raised. Points to remember if you are in charge:
  • Schedule the meeting with care, being considerate of others’ schedules
  • Watch the clock, be considerate of others’ time
  • Introduce yourself!
  • Be aware of your posture/grooming/facial expressions
  • Tune in, tune out – as a meeting participant, tune in to what is being said, tune out distractions
  • Fond farewells – be sure to thank the meeting host; meeting host be sure to acknowledge others involved
The importance of manners does not stop when you enter cyber-space. Because everything you do is a reflection on you, little things like ALL CAPS, punctuation and spelling are important in your communications, whether they are letters, emails, posts or tweets. (There is a little leniency with Twitter and other micro-blogging channels given the limitations on the length of the message allowed.) And despite the advancements in communication, one old soul said it best; “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who, with their soul, encourages another person to be brave and true.” – Charles Dickens.

Oh! The secret to knowing which side of the plate your bread-and-butter is on? Make the “okay” sign with both hands, and then look at them closely. The left hand has created a lower case letter “b” and the right hand has created a lower case letter “d”. Bread on the left, drinks on the right. Yep, it’s that simple – and so are good manners!

Guest blogger:  Ginny Cooper, The Cooper Group ginny@mycoopergroup.com

PRU 2010: Andy Robinson - The Importance of Personal Relationships

Andy Robinson of the CRG Leadership Institute LLC presented strategies and tactics on why it is important to tap into your personal relationships.His executive coaching focus is helping executives, business owners and leaders achieve and substation incredible career success. He also helps his clients to love what they do for a living.

The Other “PR” – Personal Relationships
What are they?
Why are they so important?
How do you develop and optimize them?

“Relationships are everything” - Brian Tracey, Personal Success Guru

“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows” - Ben Stein, Actor, Lawyer, Writer

The “Wake-Up Call”: You have to be proactive about developing, strengthening, and deepening my personal relationships.

Personal Relationships by his definition:  friends, current colleagues, vendors, family, former colleagues, business partners, college alumni, clients and advisors. If you were to put circle around the ones that are true personal relationships, it will include friends and family, but the others will be on the edges/borders, some closer into the circle and some further out. The more you bring them into the circle the better, because you are improving your personal relationships.

The Relationship Pyramid
You are at the top
Inner Circle (one level closer to you than just personal relationships)
Personal Relationships
Non-personal Business Relationship Acquaintenances
Names and faces that you see out and about in the world around you
Everyone else
You want to move as many people up the pyramid as possible.

Andy's definition of personal relationships includes:
  • Friendly cordial, respectful relationship
  • Relatively frequent bilateral or unilateral communication
  • Very likely to know certain details of each other’s personal life
  • Share an interest or otherwise have something in common
  • You do not mind asking them for a favor
  • Would very likely give you a business reference or recommendation, if applicable
  • You frequently “give” to them in some way
  • You have no problem asking them for business and vice versa
Why are personal relationships so important?
  • Advice, counsel and sounding board. You can seek this information out from these people
  • They offer an amazing platform for learning, personal development, and professional development
  • They can refer resources to us. Whether it is at work or home, plumber, IT, etc.
  • They offer a constant stream of new business opportunities.
  • They are very willing to spin positive PR for you in the marketplace. They will tell others great things about you
  • They are a significant source of career opportunity referrals
  • They are your advocates, cheerleaders, and VIP Influencers. They will stand up for you and tow the line for you
  • They are a “friendly” ear to listen and be there for you. Sometimes you don’t want advice; you just need someone to listen to.
  • They offer fellowship, comradery and personal fulfillment.
  • They provide leverage to get things done – they willingly tap THEIR own network for you.

How do you develop personal relationships and optimize them?

Desired Outcomes:
Expand and Broaden
Deepen and Strengthen

5 master strategies to expand and deepen personal realtionships:
  1. Give first, and give often in sync with your key branding elements. It is not always giving a present. You can share relevant and useful information. Making yourself available just to listen and offering advice when they ask for it. Celebrate milestones with them, send birthday or holiday cards, or sending a newsletter or note on a regular basis. Be a positive influence, lift others spirits.
  2. Connect, refer and recommend others. Be that person in your network that connects other people together.
  3. Communicate frequently and ongoing. If people don’t hear from you on a frequent basis, then how will you stay on their radar. They have to know you are out there somehow. Create a newsletter, or utilize status updates on social media. Send a just “checking in” email. Share your own good news with people, it brings them closer to you. Call occasionally to say hello.
  4. Embrace social media and immerse yourself in the medium. You have to immerse yourself in it because it is becoming a mainstream of communication. Get active in it, LinkedIn is a good example of one that needs to be used if you are a business person. Facebook is a bit more open, and be active on Twitter. Expand your network, it doesn’t work if you only have 3 connections. Avoid “brand” confusion. If you are using it for business, make sure to always use the same type of message. Develop a strategy on what and how you will do it.
  5. You have to have quality and meaningful personal interactions. It is not just about sitting behind a computer. You have to have personal interaction with them.
The next step is to take action!

Commit to a 30-day plan:
  • Write down 3 goals that you will commit to in the next 30 days.
  • Write down 2 actions that you will do in the next week that is focused on one of those three goals.
  • Write down 1 thing that you will do before the end of the day today that will expand or strengthen your personal relationship.
Habits are what it is all about. Embrace excellent personal relationship habits. Try to ingrain a habit. Personal relationships create magic, but you have to have a habit behind it. They are simple but powerful.

Guest blogger:  Jessica Clark, APR, Shell Point Retirement Community, JessicaClark@shellpoint.org

PRU 2010: Josh Hallett - Social Media in the Trenches

Josh Hallett is currently director, Voce Connect at Voce Communications providing social media consulting and development work with brands such as Disney Parks, Playstation, Ebay, Best Buy, CBS, Yahoo, Intel, Logitech, NFL and Comcast, among others.

His presentation entitled “Social Media in the Trenches” focused on the strategy of social media campaigns and the measurement techniques that get the noticed as an effective advertising method.

No matter what size company you are, there is an audience you want to reach and that audience is online. All social media (even at companies like Play Station) started with one person, working part-time to develop initiatives. By having goals and initiatives in place, they were able to grow social media into what it is today.

There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Media sharing, social networking, listening infrastructure, internal management, content planning and development, and community management are all things that make up the background of social media. Start with the basic things, such as listening and responding, and then build out. Customers want to get responses to questions they ask of your brand.

Earn to Play. Paid to Play. You are making the play.

There are three forms of media. Earned Media, Paid Media and Owned Media. Earned media consists of PR, investor relations, and customer programs. Paid Media includes campaigns, sponsorships, print ads and online ads. Owned Media, is original content that is shared with publishing tools. Hallett explained the three types as earn to play, paid to play and you are making the play.

Think of social media as a distributed system, where your corporate blog is the hub and where you spread your content from the blog are the spokes. Its often times hard to go back and find a link you once saw on Facebook days later, but if you replicate the link on your Twitter page and on your blog, others will be able to reference it easier at a later time. It is also important to distribute your content so that the content will gain higher search rankings.

Use the four P’s to successful at this. The four P’s include:

Use Radian 6 to find out what people are saying about your brand. Find out what is actual, what is trending, what is not trending and why they are talking, or not talking about this. At Voce a team of 6 individuals are doing this data research and analysis every morning and then they continue to monitor the results throughout the day.

Issue Flagging

Flag all issues that warrant a response. Determine whether you need to respond or whether you just need to look. If you will respond, track the timeliness in which you do so. Issue flagging and responding works much like a help desk system would.

Ed-Cal is Hallett’s Bible as it determines all the content that is going on everyday and is color-coded and time-scheduled to show the next week to three weeks of planned social media. Hallett also refers to a Twitter/Facebook Ed-Cal, which tracks links, which fan pages content will be posted to and where content would be going.

It’s all about timing. If you send a Tweet at 9 AM, be sure to retweet it every few hours.

The daily ebb and flow of communications is kept out of emails at Voce Communications, because email goes silent so quickly. This also enables work to continue at a steady pace, even if a co-worker is out of the office.

Use WordPress for all publishing. Voce recently redid the CBS sites all on a WordPress platform. Use Bit.ly as a tracking tool. For photo sharing, use Flickr. For videos, use YouTube, but you can also use Viddler, which provides more detailed analytics. Spredfast will allow you to schedule tweets and updates, but as Hallett stated, “automation is the devil” and should be used as sparingly as possible.

Even with the multitude of tracking programs out there, Hallett said that he still uses the good old-fashioned spreadsheet. He hosts the spreadsheet in Google Docs and makes sure to monitor and maintain tracking daily. This takes a lot of staff time, but measurement is important to tell where the company should be putting more money.


Seed the channel! If you are launching a new product, prepare three talking points prepared for the release. Three to four months before the release, start writing blog posts with those message points blended in there. Do a Google search on something you mentioned and look for the ranking. Once the content of your three messages points rank high on SEO, you have hit a home run. This is a way to tease out your new product announcement in a slow and steady, drip format.

Search for your product or service and take a screen shot. Launch your campaign and then do the search again to see where you are. People can cut PPC (Pay Per Click) by having a good social media platform. You can also save on email lists, since you can reach those people on Facebook. Social media will also help you to save on paying for focus groups or product insights.

Don’t forget HRO, or Human Reader Optimized content. Make sure it makes sense.

CNN makes sure to post something new all the time so that people will come back. Post your content as often as you want people to come back. Usually, 50-60% of the traffic to your website is coming from content released two weeks earlier.

Monitor what people are saying about your brand, because you need to respond to them. Mine for long-term effects on brand awareness and perceptions. How are you saving money? How are you making money?

Measuring social media is no different from anything else you measure.

A link is the most valuable commodity online. It is saying: please leave where you are right now and visit somewhere else. This is how Google bases their algorithm – on where people are going.

What’s coming?

Metricly is coming out and it will allow you to put all the analytics, Google accounts and social media accounts in one software that will build charts and graphs on your data.

Many companies are also starting to use Twitter as customer support to answer questions to reduce the costs of on site of off site customer support centers.

Getting Started

Set measurable goals on the tools
Align measurement tools
Start tracking sheets
Reporting frequently

Going offline

Build an online community and get them together offline as quickly as you can. Get them in the same physical location. Meetups are a very powerful thing. It will get you huge increases in engagement.

Survey to find out where your customers are in the realm of social media. Is your audience there? If not, why are you spending your time there?

Comments and shares on Facebook have four times greater rank on Edgerank, which is organized based on commonality of friends. For a small business, test certain messages and find out what you are driving interest in. Once you have the audience, ask them what they want to receive from you.

Post status updates with a question. Get others to respond to it and friends will able to see the responses. Know when your audience is on Facebook. If you post at 9 AM, your audience may not be on until 10 PM. Use teasers such as: Make sure to check out our page tomorrow at noon. Do you see an increase around the hours that you are asking them to come back?

Guest blogger: Diana Sabino, Southwest Florida College