Monday, November 14, 2011

Merry Mixer Replaces December Lunch

Mix, mingle and unwind on December 9 at the Chapter’s Member's Merry Mixer and Auction at JJ Taylor Distributing, 2040 Park 82 Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33905. The mixer replaces our December luncheon. Come out and enjoy some great networking at this can’t miss event! Plus One's Welcome. Tickets are $20/person.

Auction Items Include:
• Tickets to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater
• An HP Office Jet Printer
• A Edison Estates Holiday Nights Package
• Restaurant Gift Certificates
• And More!

Interested in lending a hand? The Chapter is still looking for a few more auction items. Contact with any questions.

President's Word: Giving Thanks

By Carla Ulakovic

November is a time to give thanks. It is a time to focus on building and celebrating relationships. Something that FPRA strives to do year round. Though, as the holiday inches nearer we are able to unplug from the monotony of working life for one day (or maybe two) and relax with family and friends. So this month I will deviate from the traditional “president’s word’’ and take the opportunity to share what I am thankful for:

FPRA Friends: As an all-volunteer organization, this chapter wouldn’t exist without its dedicated and passionate volunteers. And as individual’s we are fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive network of FPRA friends.

Education: The opportunities to expand my educational frontier through FPRA and other life endeavors.

Family Togetherness: Someone has to do the cooking, because I burn almost everything!

We’ve had an excellent start to the FPRA year and as you’ll see by this edition of the newsletter there’s a lot to report. So I keep it brief and simply say – I hope that you all have an opportunity to give thanks, relax and watch a little football!

Renewals, Scholarships and State News

Make Sure You Gift Yourself With Your FPRA Renewal!
With the holidays lurking right around the corner, everyone has their hands full for work and personal commitments. Don’t forget to get your renewal for FPRA turned in! Give yourself the gift of professional development and networking this holiday season and continue to see the rewards year round! All Members should have received your renewal notice in the mail last month, and if you have not received yours, please contact Jessica Clark, APR or renew online at Any renewals after December 31, 2011 will have to pay a late fee in addition to your renewal.

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

Membership Scholarships Available
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.

FPRA Treasures its Members!
This holiday season share the gift of FPRA! Help recruit a new FPRA member and you and that person will be entered into a drawing to receive a new Ipad ($500 value), a $200 Visa gift card or $300 of FPRA Professional Development bucks.

Have the applicant place your name on their application and the Chapter will submit the information to state upon approval of the application and turn it in to Membership Chair, Jessica Clark.

The deadline to enlist a new member is: December 31, 2011. Winners will be notified in January.

News from State
Each Quarter Chapter President’s and President-Elects travel to the FPRA State Board to meet with the Executive Committee to discuss FPRA business, events, programs and its future. The first meeting was held on October 21-22 and resulted in several changes for the upcoming year.

• State has revamped its newsletter to make in more user friendly and it will be issued monthly.
• It was announced that the 2013 Annual State Conference will be held in Tampa and will mark the 75th anniversary of FPRA be held in Tampa.
• The State Board Voted to increase membership dues next year. Professional - $175, Allied - $175, Multi-Institutional - $165 (first member of a company is $175, additional members are $165), Associate - $70 (membership good for one year only, intended for members who are temporarily unemployed), Retired Professional - $20, Student - $30
• In an effort to raise funds for FREF State will launch its "Every Member Campaign" in February and is asking every member to contribute. The campaign will run until May 1. The recognition for donors will become part of the President's Reception at conference and will be included in the cost of conference registration. There won't be any additional charge for donors or non-donors to this event. As a result, FPRA will not be hosting the auction at this year’s conference.

Pros Sharpen Their Skills at PRU

By Brian Hamman

"Don't make me do it.  Don't make me!" urged WINK News Anchor Lois Thome.  "Don't make me open your press release as an attachment."  Thome was the first in a list of distinguished speakers that presented to about 50 PR pros at PR University earlier this month.

Thome kicked off the day with a presentation on "Bad News Releases."  She shared tips including:
  • Send your release directly to the correct editor
  • Get to know a reporter in your field
  • Be persistent not a pest
Thome was followed by Michelle Bono, APR, CPRC, who outlined some of her award winning strategies for public relations planning.  Bono demonstrated how "Big Ideas" can get attention and convey a message.  One example was the flash mob her team used to raise awareness about a street project.

Other speakers on the agenda included:
  • Tara Tyler, "How Not to Write Commercials"
  • Dr. Hank Hine, "How We Opened the New Dali Museum and helped St. Pete become an International Arts Destination"
  • Kate Gooderham, APR, CPRC, "Sunshine Laws"
  • Joe Curley, APR, CPRC, "Crossing the International Border"
FPRA SWFL would like to thank sponsors:  The News-Press Media Group, LCEC, J.J. Taylor Distributing, Fort Myers River District.  Also, thanks to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for offering half scholarships to non-profit attendees.

Credentialing Corner: RPIE

Advice, recommendations and news you can use from the chapter’s seasoned professionals

By Angie Strait, APR

The holiday season is here and soon we will say good-bye to 2011 and step into a new year full of promise and possibility. This is a great time to recalibrate your settings and figure out what it is you want to accomplish in 2012. People start mentioning New Year’s resolutions this time of year, but I want to challenge you to go further. After all, you are PR professionals and the key to your “promise and possibility,” may be as easy as R-P-I-E.

PR plans have helped professionals navigate their work for ages. The research, planning, implementation and evaluation process (RPIE) is a systematic way to strategize and execute goals for your company and/or clients. This year, take your work home with you! Write a PR plan for yourself. We all have goals and RPIE is your chance to make them a reality. Where do you want to go in 2012? Do you want to take on a new job, a new event or even the APR certification? Here are some questions to get you thinking about achieving your professional and personal goals:

• Who am I (personally and professionally)?
• Where do I want to go?
• What do I want to learn/accomplish?
• How do I want to get there?
• Who can help me on my journey?

Take the time to write your plan. Identify goals, target audiences, objectives and even a timeline and budget. As you work through the process you will see RPIE for what it really is - a multi-purpose tool and something you can utilize to achieve that laundry list of goals you keep for yourself. Get back to your PR roots and use RPIE to help guide your path in 2012. When I see you next year at this time, what will you boast as an accomplishment?

APR Note: For those of you putting “get my APR” on your goals lists – your knowledge, skill and understanding of the RPIE model counts for about 30 percent of the questions on the written exam. Remember, practice makes perfect!

APR Trivia Question

Q: Is there a certain number of years of public relations experience required before I can pursue Accreditation in Public Relations?

A: No; however, the Universal Accreditation Board strongly recommends candidates have five years of PR experience.

Social Media Corner: Facebook Etiquette

Debuting last month, this is the Social Media Corner. I hope you enjoyed the Google+ review. This month we're going to discuss the etiquette of Facebook and some best practices.

By Samantha Scott, APR

Etiquette is important on and offline. As a result, Alex Fernandez, social media strategist at our office, developed a few key points (a dos and don’ts list) to help you manage the content for your businesses Facebook Page. While many of us (via our personal Facebook profiles) are representatives of the brands we work for, proper social etiquette is a must, even when we’re off the clock.

DO NOT: Constantly self-promote.
DO: Provide a variety of different types of content, balanced with some promotional elements. We are using the social space to build relationships not be sales-y so use a 4:1 ratio. That means for every four interesting, useful, creative posts you make, you can post one promotional or sales driven post.

DO NOT: Invite me to everything.
DO: Be wary of over-inviting people to your events, meetings, groups, etc. All of these actions result in a notification message being sent to other Facebook users. It’s important to keep the 4:1 ratio when inviting your fans.

DO NOT: Post about every part of your day. TMI!
DO: Post useful, engaging content. This may seem like common sense, but we’ve all seen posts about someone that is bored, going out to the store, etc. While this probably won’t drive people away, how does it help build relationships? It’s business. Don’t forget.

DO NOT: Exhibit unrestrained braggadocio.
DO: Plug yourself, every now and then, using discretion. Since it doesn’t actually help your users, it’s important to keep your kudos in check. This is probably a good place to note that liking your own status isn’t fooling anybody.

Other suggestions would include personal updates on your Farmville status, inappropriate language or images, etc. Just remember, this is the digital face of your brand (aside from your website) and proceed with caution.

SWFL Starts Thinking About Image

By Carla Ulakovic

Public relations professionals work year round manage brands, build communication campaigns, and enhance images year round. This month, the Southwest Florida Chapter challenges each member to reflect on your year of public relations successes and really begin thinking about projects you may be able to enter in the 2012 Image Awards Competition.

Maybe you launched a promotional campaign, held a special event, conducted an internal communication campaign, etc.

Image Awards offer an array of opportunities to showcase your hard work and provides the opportunity to showcase smaller projects like posters or calendars, news release, written speech, specialty item, electronic communications (including blogs, e-mail, newsletters and surveys), brochure, website or even a presentation. 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!

There is even an opportunity for students to enter! 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.

So put those thinking caps on and start thinking Image!