Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 2015 Member Spotlight- Sharon Brandon

Sharon Brandon is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office. She started as a part-time Patriot in 2006 then joined the Community Relations team as the Outreach Coordinator full time in 2012.  

Sharon coordinates outreach events, maintains the Outreach information on the Lee County Supervisor of Elections’ website, and works closely with Patriots to provide voter registration and voter education in the community. 

Sharon has been a member of the Southwest Florida Chapter of Florida Public Relations Association since 2012.

Sharon is also a professional singer and goes by the stage name of Sasé. She toured with the Supremes in Spain for seven months and with the popular recording group, The Platters for nine years. Currently, she performs for diverse audiences and covers a wide spectrum of music.

Sharon is making her mark in Southwest Florida and wants to be thought of as someone who has left love and passion in the hearts of many and is an inspiration to PR professionals and artists.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Image Award Tip

As you prepare for Local Image Awards, we wanted to give you some simple advice - “Follow the Rules!” Image rules are very specific and are in place to make sure diverse projects are presented in a uniform and standard manner.

Make sure your project falls within the specified time period and remember, you can’t enter the same exact project in more than one category. Two-page summary specifications must be followed: cannot exceed two pages, double-spaced with a one-inch margin and font has to be a minimum of 10-point Times New Roman. You have two pages to educate and prove your project is worthy to a judge. So, each word counts!  

In addition to the two-page summary, there are other items you must submit in order for your entry to be complete – an organizational overview, support materials (look for specifics in some categories), a table of contents, a 50-word summary and a digital image that represents your project. 

It is heart breaking when someone makes the effort and has an issue with “a rule.” Through the years we have seen award-worthy projects fail to win or, even worse, be disqualified for improper formatting, sloppy presentation and typos in written materials. Remember, PR professionals are sticklers for details and they are the ones who judge your entries.

So, open that Call for Entries and look at the rules and the entry checklist. If you are new to entering Local Image, we suggest making a copy and using it as a checklist. And, of course, you can always come to us with questions or for guidance. We are here to help!

Important dates to mark on your calendars
Image Workshop – Tuesday. Feb. 3
Deadline for Local Image - Friday, March 6

Image Question

Q: What if you have more than one project (i.e., special events) that took place in the proper timeframe and want to enter them in the same category? Can you do that?

A: Yes, you can. Even though you will end up competing against yourself, you are able to enter more than one project in a category. You may have had several special events in a year or have different clients with successful internal programs and if they are great candidates for an award you can (and should) enter them.    

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter Awards

SWFL Chapter of FPRA Annual Award Descriptions

PR Professional of the Year...

Our chapter honors a member who exemplifies the high standards of the public relations profession in Southwest Florida with the PR Professional of the Year Award. The recipients of this award display a professional attitude and exercise professional conduct, are cooperative and supportive of fellow public relations professionals, and are very interested in raising the professional standing of FPRA in our community. Think of this person as one who both leads by word and deed. She/ he is a person you respect for their work and for their determination constantly improve.

Chapter Member of the Year…
The Southwest Florida Chapter Member of the Year is one who goes above and beyond in their commitment of time and energy to ensure the success of the chapter. Not only has this recipient embraced the creative thinking and opportunities for participation in chapter programs and projects, but she or he also serves as an ambassador to the community of what FPRA is all about. Basically, this person excels at their profession, and enjoys giving back to this chapter to inspire future PR leaders to learn and grow through FPRA.

Rising Star of the Year...

The Rising Star award recognizes and up and coming leader in our chapter. This is someone who has shown enthusiasm and passion for the profession, and where ever you see them, they are likely to be making a positive difference through their service to chapter events, career pursuits and in other arenas. We like to encourage our members to seek opportunities to get involved, and the Rising Star awardee is someone who puts this call into action.

Unsung Hero...
The Unsung Hero Award was created to recognize the contributions of an individual SWFL FPRA member for their hard work and dedication to the chapter 'behind the scenes' that helps to enhance and promote the Public Relations profession.  This award honors an individual who consistently provides support and assistance to the chapter and its professional goals without hesitation.

Lifetime Achievement Award...
By far the most prestigious and honorable award, the Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for those public relations professionals who have dedicated their career to the profession and the advancement of it. It’s given only when there is someone eligible and is not required to be distributed annually.

Social Media Rules of the Game

Social media is an ever-evolving marketing platform with regular changes in rules, shifting audience demographics and new channels. Whether you are trying to grow a new brand, or working at maintaining your company’s presence on social media, the constant changes can be overwhelming and sometimes overshadow the simplest rules. Shift Communications recently posted an article titled “4 Social Media Commandments for 2015 (and Beyond)” where they recommended four “commandments” to follow to help you stay on track:

1.     Thou shall not talk about yourself 24/7.  It is never fun to constantly listen to someone talk about themselves. Social media shouldn’t be used to solely promote yourself, your company or your product; it should be a place where you build relationships.

2.     Thou shall not use 50 hashtags per social post. Hashtags can help your company gain more exposure, engage with others who have similar interests and allow you to be part of a trending topic. However, using too many hashtags will not only distract your audience, but it also looks amateur and sloppy.

3.     Thou shall not join social networks that have nothing to do with you. Some brands can find a way to fit in on every channel, but is it necessary? Honing in on the channels that are most popular with your audience will keep you from wasting time on sites where your company won’t reap the benefits. A little research will help you find out what platforms your customers are using the most.

4.     Thou shall use your head before posting. This is something you would think is a no- brainer, but time and time again we’ve seen major brands, political figures and celebrities make major social media faux pas. You can’t ever take something back once it is online, so think before you post. 
            While this list can be greatly expanded, these four easy-to-follow rules will help you appropriately navigate your social media strategies while trying to keep up with ever-changing world of social media.

How do You Know that Tweet was Effective? Measuring the Results and Impact of Digital, Video & Social Media"

On January 6, professor Andrea Fortin from Hodges University discussed how to develop a successful social media campaign. She began by stating that the most important aspects were the "ACC's" of social media- audience, content and community. Ms. Fortin explained that first you must consider your audience and who you're trying to reach. Will these people want to be associated with your posts or brand? Will they want to share the content? If not, you may want to reevaluate your messaging and content. You will also need to adapt to your audience. If they are using Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter etc. in a certain way, then in order to reach them, you will need to create the campaign in that way. In other words, "the medium is the message."
The content of your message is just as important. Make sure to research hashtags before you use them or create your own. Make sure that your message is creative, funny, and engaging. A great example of this is Taylor Swifts "Taylurking." Don't know what that is? Click here. 
Finally, community is the third most important aspect to consider in your social media campaign. Public relations and any campaign is really designed to build relationships with your fans, customers, stakeholders, etc. Without building this community of followers or fans you won't have longevity and neither will your product, brand or event.