Monday, October 17, 2011

Presidents Word: Invest in yourself

In simple economics, we are taught to invest in things that appreciate in value. This is naturally true with cars and homes, but how often do we apply these principals to ourselves and our careers? If the goal is to increase your own personal value, then it should stand to reason that you should invest in opportunities that will help you attain your personal and professional goals.

Our Chapter Board is working hard to deliver value in 2011-2012 by bringing you ways to invest in your own futures through diverse programming; fulfilling networking events; and volunteer opportunities.

On Friday, November 4, you will have an amazing opportunity to invest in your future at PR University. The strategies, trends, tips and tactics you’ll learn in our Chapter’s largest professional seminar will be sure to make an impact on how you approach public relations. The intensive, full-day seminar provides valuable advice and a great opportunity to network. The speakers – truly some of the best in the business– will give you knowledge that you can use the moment you step out of the seminar actually begin achieving your goals.

We believe in helping individuals find the road to success. And to help in the journey, the Southwest Chapter has once again partnered with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the News-Press to offer scholarships to students and non-profits for PRU registration.

Another great way to invest in your future is to volunteer your time to the Chapter and watch what your efforts can accomplish! Maybe volunteering to Chair Image, seems like a daunting task, but have you considered blogging an event or greeting guests at a Chapter luncheon?

We understand that everyone is doing more with less and are proud to offer membership scholarships to interested members as an investment in the future of our chapter. We also offer a strong support network for credentialing candidates who are looking at making the ultimate investment in their future by pursuing an APR or CPRC.

If you make the right investments now, your career will continue to appreciate in years to come.

So, I ask you to join the 2011-2012 board in an effort to make this another fantastic year for the Southwest Florida Chapter and pledge to:
  • Get involved in our chapter by, attending and supporting luncheons and events; volunteering on committees, sponsoring an event, writing articles for the newsletter or presenting at a luncheon.
  • Be ambassadors for FPRA and the public relations profession.

Scholarships Available for PR University

PR University - The Art of PR
Friday, November 4
8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Hotel

This full-day professional seminar will examine trends in the changing market and the fusion of new media and traditional communication elements - all while giving you the opportunity to sketch your first idea or create another masterpiece!

Be sure to register by October 28! Registration is $75 for members/$90 for non-members.

Non-profit scholarships offered for PRU
For the third year, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is offering a limited number of half-scholarships to local area non-profit organizations to attend PRU. The scholarship will be applied to the regular-registration cost. Non-profit organizations interested in applying should send a 50-word summary to Michelle Nagel at Only one member per organization can apply. Scholarships are on a first-come first-served basis.

Student Scholarships
Two students scholarships are available to PR University courtesy of the Fort Myers News-Press. Interested students should send a 50-word summary describing why they would like the scholarship to Michelle Nagel at

Test Your Knowledge: Monthly APR Trivia Question

To help sharpen your mind about all things APR, we are going to include a monthly trivia question in the newsletter.  The answer will be published in next month's newsletter.

Q: In which decade was the APR recognition born?

Lunch Recap: It’s all About Cross-Marketing

Boris Hughes, Business Development Manager for Hewlett Packard, spoke with the group about QR codes, direct mail and leveraging technology to make the biggest impact with your marketing / PR plans.

If you missed this lunch, you missed a good one!  Here are a few of the tips he shared:

Creating push in a pull world
The new thinking!
• Companies need to track and drive all marketing channels.
• Interactive print can drive users/buyers to appropriate SM sites and create a push in a pull world.
• This enables tracking and gives your clients the data they need to justify their marketing programs
• Create interactivity that is relevant and may not exist today i.e.
• Make it easy to find with QR codes and pURL$.

Click here to read the News-Press article covering his talk.

Next month, PR University will take the place of our luncheon. See the article in this month’s imPRess to learn how to sign up.

Credentialing Corner: Going for your APR the Practical Way

Advice, recommendations and news you can use from the chapter’s seasoned professionals
By: Samantha Scott, APR

As with most challenging or time consuming things in life, we tend to think there's time to do it later or there will be a better time. When it comes to studying for your APR, that may not be true.

As a business owner, I completely understand having a busy schedule, but if you're thinking about getting your APR, don't let obstacles become excuses. Really evaluate if this is something that you want and could benefit your career (which I guarantee you it will!), then make the plans to do it!

Here are a few tips from my experience:
  1. Plan ahead. In PR, we're used to planning and this should be no exception. Consider annual events, family and work commitments, etc. to determine when the best time will be for you.
  2. Set aside the time - every week. It's important to take this one bite at a time. You can't swallow all the information at once and if you get behind, you'll end up with a stomach ache.
  3. Attend the study sessions. We're fortunate that our chapter hosts study sessions to help you learn the material, prepare for your Readiness Review and ultimately the exam. Use this!
  4. Review your notes and do case studies. While knowing the definitions is important, the name of the game is application. Apply what you're learning to work, to previous projects and do practice case studies.
  5. Don't stress! It's easier said than done, but trust yourself and your abilities. Anyone can become an APR if they study and really apply the lessons to their everyday practices.
I knew going into it that I would learn more about our profession and how to do my job, but I learned so much more. I have a new perspective and know I am serving my clients better. It was worth the commitment and I hope you will take the leap too!

Social Media Corner: Google+

Introducing a new component to the FPRA SWFL newsletter - social media! Here we'll share news, trends and tools to use this form of communication. The world of communications is changing every day. There are more ways to share a message and more channels to monitor for our companies or our clients. With the recent launch of Google+, add more one to your list.

Now the third largest social network, Google+ is the newest player in the social media game. Originally launched in beta/test phase, they opened it up to the public in September. Now users can give people, business, websites and more a "+1" or in Facebook terms, a "like".

For those of you using social media, or at least monitoring it, for your company or your clients, here's another one to add to the list. It's yet another reputation management platform where customers can express if they like your company or not. Additionally, as a social channel, Google+ offers another way to engage with your target audience, but you have to earn it. Even if someone is using Google+ and connected with you, they have to select to see your news and material. This is going to require businesses to put really valuable material up - not just promotions, in other words really using social media for communications and relationship building rather than sales.

Right now, businesses can't create profiles - much like how Facebook started - but that option is expected a little later in the year. Stay tuned as we'll keep you posted on this and other social media news in future editions.

Time To Be Renewed!

It is hard to believe that it is the time of year where fall is upon it, and our “season” is about to kick into high gear. As PR Professionals, we all have so many things to remember with all the events and holidays right around the corner. But there is one other thing you don’t want to forget…to renew your FPRA membership! All Members should have received your renewal notice in the mail by now, and if not, it should be on its way. But did you know that there is another way to renew where you don’t have to wait for your form in the mail? You can actually handle it all online by visiting If you have questions about membership or renewals, you can contact the president-elect and membership chair, Jessica Clark, APR at (239) 454-2071 or

As a bonus, all members who renew by October 31 will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant. So not only do you get all the great perks of membership, but you have the chance to win “dinner on FPRA” too!

Membership Scholarships
Worried about the Cost of Membership or Renewals? Don’t panic!

We know that many individuals and organizations have had to make budget cuts or limit participation in many professional organizations. Because of this, the Southwest Chapter of FPRA has a limited number of membership scholarship opportunities available. If you are interested in a memberships scholarship, please send two to three paragraphs outlining your financial need, involvement in chapter activities, your commitment to professional development and how your participating in FPRA will benefit the chapter and your professional career to Jessica Clark, APR.

Call for Auction Items

On Friday, December 9, the Southwest Florida FPRA chapter will host a member mixer from 5- 8 p.m. This will replace the regular monthly luncheon. The event will feature a beer tasting provided by JJ Taylor and a silent auction to raise funds for the many professional development opportunities our Chapter hosts. We are asking members to help coordinate auction items, so please reach out to the community and your clients and help make this a wonderful event. Contact Carla Ulakovic.with any questions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

PR Pro Bono Day- Session 3

Social Media For the Short-Staffed
Kerri Goldsmith of HBK Sorce Financial presented some tips and pointers for people to get the most bang for their social media efforts.
Social media is particularly important for nonprofits because internet users, especially social networkers, are more likely to be active in volunteer associations.

But how can you do it right?  Goldsmith offers four basic suggestions for starting your social media efforts:
  • Define your goals (awareness? donations? volunteers? events?)
  • Identify your resources (yourself? volunteers? an agency? your audience/supporters?)
  • Know your target audience (and in particular, what social media platform are they most likely to gravitate to?)
  • Start small and grow into social media
Once you've analyzed your situation, she offers more suggestions:
  • Don't be overwhelmed by your options.  Pick the medium you think will be most effective for your message and audience, and start there.
  • Use time-saving tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Seesmic.  You can also utilize these tools on your smartphone.
  • Plan ahead!  Schedule your messages in advance.
  • On Twitter, keep messages to under 120 characters so you can be easily retweeted.  Make sure to shorten URLs, and utilize hashtag/keywords to make it searchable
  • On Facebook, take advantage of static content, post longer messages, and use photos or video whenever possible.
  • Remember, communication works two ways.  Reply, comment, and thank your audience.
  • Build "lists" of people to follow... media, constituents, organizations with complimentary missions, so you can more easily communicate with them.
  • Measure your results by tracking links, clickthroughs, retweets, mentions, etc.