November 12, 2013

Lauren Hyer

By: Lauren Hyer, APR
FPRA Orlando VP of Membership

When I reflect on the tremendous membership benefits of FPRA, three words come to mind: Opportunity. Value. Investment.

As the oldest association for public relations professionals, FPRA prides itself on offering powerful professional development and networking opportunities. By joining FPRA, you not only connect with a strong network of local PR professionals, you have the chance to meet and learn from more than 1,000 like-minded professionals across the state.

With the cost of a yearly membership at $175, it is an extraordinary value and the most affordable investment you can make for your career.

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to renew your membership, as the unmatched benefits you receive far outweigh the cost. Additionally, we will raffle off a $25 gift card to those who renew their membership by November 29.

To renew your membership today, simply follow one of the steps below:

  • Call the FPRA State Office at 941.365.2135 ext. 306
  • Fax your renewal form (link to .pdf of renewal form) to 941.906.1556
  • Email your renewal form to state@fpra.org
  • Mail your renewal form to 40 Sarasota Center Blvd., Suite 107, Sarasota, FL 34240
  • Renew online at http://www.fpra.org/Non_Member_Message.aspx

For more information, please email Lauren Hyer, APR at  Lauren.Hyer@chsfl.org.

5 Tips for Creating Effective Social Media Ads

November 8, 2013


By: Rosalinda Torres
Account Manager at CCH Marketing + Public Relations

Social media marketing is no longer a free marketing tool. As many social media marketing professionals know, it is now a ‘pay-to-play’ medium of sorts as more networks begin to rely on advertising dollars as a main stream of revenue.  Facebook and Twitter recently launched more advertising tools, Pinterest has begun to test promoted pins and recently Instagram launched its first promoted post.  And so begins the shift to paid media.

Online networks have become saturated with business profiles, all vying for the attention of their targeted audiences. Facebook alone has recently reported that over 15 million businesses, companies, and organizations have Facebook pages.  This saturation has made advertising critical to success in social media marketing. So how do you get the most of those social media ad dollars?

  1. Plan it out. A plan is the best tool in your arsenal when considering advertising on social media. Sites like Twitter and Facebook only charge for paid engagement within an allotted budget during the date of your choice. This makes it easy to plan out when to make a marketing push and how you would like to space out your budget. If you plan on using social media advertising more often, set up a calendar that dictates what you will be posting, when you plan to post, and how much you would like to set aside for each post.
  2. Promote your best content. Is your content share-worthy? Does it do something for the reader? If your answer is yes, it is more likely to make for an effective social media ad.  Given how most social networks structure their advertising, an ad is often bolstered by organic engagement. The more followers that share or engage with your post, the more likely their friends will also gain interest, and so forth. Once a post reaches increased engagement, it also gets pushed more organically.
  3. Keep it visual. Newer platforms like Pinterest, Instragram and Vine are extremely successful for one main reason—they share strictly visual content. Facebook and Twitter have taken notice, making visual content stand out  on their platforms. Whether you’re using professional photography, purchasing stock imagery or snapping a photo with your smartphone, visual content should be the foundation of your post. 
  4. Keep the copy to a minimum. When it comes to social media advertising, less is more. Social media users don’t want to be bombarded with advertising when scrolling their feeds, so the less advertorial, the better. This also ensures that your post is more likely to be shared by users, increasing the organic engagement. Facebook and Instagram have taken their own measures to ensure that ads are less advertorial by minimizing the amount of copy that is allowed in their ads.
  5. Make it interactive. Sharing a statement and an image isn’t enough to produce engagement. Users are most likely to interact with content if they have the opportunity to do something with it. Providing a vehicle for more content like a link to a blog post or contest will increase engagement, further stretching your ad dollars. Studies show that tweets with links or other supplemental content often garner the most engagement.

There is no doubt that social media marketing will continue to evolve, but these five tips can serve as a foundation for navigating the relatively new world of social media advertising.

Chapter Rewind: 2013 Professional Development Workshop

November 4, 2013

In the Public Eye
By: Lorena Streeter
FPRA Orlando VP of Professional Development

There’s just something about the first chilly day of fall … like Mother Nature replacing an air-conditioning system with even cooler … yes, it was chilly. Yes, there were technical glitches (the Wi-Fi wasn’t working). But isn’t PR all about making it shine when you can’t find the Tarn-X? Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, the OAC-FPRA Professional Development day defied the elements and drew nearly 50 people—many of them non-FPRA members—out to Leu Gardens for five great presentations.

Leading off were Rick Roach (Orange County Public Schools) and Ron Thomas (Full Sail University) in our first pair of breakout sessions.

Rick, who’s not on social media (he’d rather meet you over coffee), noted that Orange County is the 9th largest school district in the country. He then led into a discussion of things that most companies face: How to turn a negative into a positive, bad things happen, how do you prepare, is there a pipeline for good news?

He also included examples of OCPS challenges in the good news/bad news mix.

In his presentation “Marketing Your Crisis,” Dr. Thomas spoke about being prepared in crisis situations, whether they’re routine emergencies (spring break in Panama City Beach) or all out crises. The four phases of emergency management, as Dr. Thomas explains, are: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Interestingly, these stages were tied to the four Ps of marketing. “How do you promote your product without being crass during the response stage of a crisis?” he asked. The answer: lend cars marked with your company’s logo to the cause.

The second pair of breakouts were led by Grant Heston (UCF) and Megan Licata, APR (Fry Hammond Barr).

Grant’s session—titled “What a Playboy Playmate Taught Me about Issues Management”—addressed some specific situations faced by UCF in recent years and key takeaways from those situations.

Access Magazine—how to deal when a model takes a controversial picture on your campus and it’s on the cover of a campus magazine

  • It’s important to talk to your other teams—in this case, the Athletics Dept.
  • Get a handle on the facts before the problem gets bigger
  • 90% of the time you only know 10% of what’s happening
  • Don’t assume something is going to go away

UCF’s freshman honors dorms possibly not opening on time for the fall semester—do they tell the students and parents and prepare alternative housing, or just hope that the building will be finished on time?

Good Morning America calls because they heard 500 of your students were caught cheating after they got ahold of a test ahead of time, and they’d like to come take a look at your testing lab and interview your professor and students. What do you do?

  • Is it best to be upfront and try to dissolve the “problem” before it gets even bigger?
  • When possible, prep who is speaking as much as possible for the best outcome

Grant’s tips on surviving in issues management

  • Relationships matter
  • Establish a process to discuss issues
  • Listen inside and outside, and to your gut
  • Shorten the lifespan
  • Know your organization’s “heat index”

Megan Licata, APR and Kate Thomas’ talk on “Peabody Ducks: End of an Era” began with the portrayal of the Peabody as a beloved hotel in Orlando, and the trials of promoting it as a business destination using a small flock of ducks as iconic ambassadors. When the hotel was unexpectedly sold, Megan and Kate struggled with being told to remain silent and wanting to help quell the fears the Orlando residents had about the ducks. “What is going to happen to the ducks?” was asked countless times, even going national in its exposure. In their talk, Megan and Kate presented a very real problem they had to fight to be in charge of, regardless of whether or not they would be with the hotel after the sale—a serious possibility hanging over their heads. However, a duty to convey the correct message to the public and to preserve the name of the Peabody eventually led the duo to a successful final Peabody campaign and introduction of the new Hyatt Regency Orlando. The in-depth presentation provided a good look at balancing the different interests, messages, and audiences during a business negotiation that involved more than just the principals.

The luncheon keynote was a briefing on the use of social media site Pinterest for marketing and PR purposes, presented by Kim Matlock, Hard Rock International’s Director of Digital and CRM. In part a “Pinterest 101,” the session covered the basics, including statistics (80% of users are female; the average visit is 14 minutes), and dove into the “why” of Pinterest. The site is based on visual appeal and interest—rather than relationships—making it a useful site for branding and connecting over content—what your brand is about, which fortunately creates more statistics: people follow brands they connect to, they make shopping decisions based on pins, and they share with their friends.

Member PRofile: Mary Ann Horne

November 4, 2013


What is your title and company name?
Community Outreach Specialist, MetroPlan Orlando

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I help communicate our activities and those of our transportation partners to the public. My job is a combination of pieces — from website and social media to presentations for groups to working with our board and committees.  My goal is to help Central Floridians understand more about long range planning for our transportation system in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

How many years have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
I have been a member for almost two years, but I attended meetings for a year before that to sharpen my skills and to network.  In fact, I first met my current boss, Cynthia Lambert, at an FPRA meeting!

What was your favorite FPRA event?
I always learn so much at the Professional Development workshops. This year’s was wonderful!

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
I was really honored when our 2012 annual report won the Grand Golden Image Award.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
I moved to Central Florida 20 years ago when the newspaper I was working for in Texas went out of business. I spent 15 years at the Orlando Sentinel, then three years in social work before finding the perfect job at MetroPlan Orlando to combine all my skills and interests.

Contact info:
407-481-5672, ext. 305

Quotes Corner

November 4, 2013


By: Jennine Miller
Quotes VP of External Affairs

As a student chapter of FPRA, Quotes encourages its members to attend FPRA events. I was thrilled to see several members present at the 2013 Professional Development Workshop: In The Public Eye. Attending the event was a great opportunity to hear from guest speakers and to interact with local professionals. Unfortunately, many people don’t utilize this chance to network to its fullest potential.

It’s human nature to stay within your comfort zone, but when you’re in the PR industry, your connections are a valuable asset. Who you meet today could lead to your next internship, job, media contact, and so on, making these real and positive connections crucial.

Whether you’re a student or professional, use these tips to make a good first impression and make the most out of the next networking event you attend.

Be approachable. What you’re wearing, where you’re standing and your facial expression all send out a message. Standing in the corner with your arms crossed closes you off from everyone else and makes them less likely to want to approach you. Place yourself somewhere that is centrally located, maybe even walk up to a group of people, and always wear your smile.

Be a good listener. The best PR practitioners know how to listen and interact. Drive the conversation by asking open-ended questions. Talk about yourself, but remember it’s not all about you. Just like you need to think about what the media will get out of your pitch, you also need to learn more about the needs of who you are talking to.

Bring your business card. Although attendees wear name tags at most events, it would be borderline impossible to remember every person you’re introduced to. If you bring your business card and give it out to others, they will likely do the same and it’s a lot more professional than just asking for their card.

Follow up. Networking is great, but if you don’t follow up and only call upon your new connection when you need something, then you haven’t actually built a relationship. Set aside some time after an event to sit down with those newly acquired business cards and follow up with your new acquaintances. Sending a personalized email or LinkedIn invite is a great way to make sure they remember you and an opportunity to schedule a lunch date.

Keep these tips in mind at the next FPRA breakfast on Thursday, November 21 from time to time.