SAVE THE DATE: Annual Conference to Celebrate 75 Years of Multifaceted Strategies

March 13, 2013

Click here for full details, including a message from Gordon Paulus, APR, VP of Annual Conference.

Annual Conference

FREE Member Event: Structuring Successful Internships – Intern Pursuit Roundtable

February 26, 2013

Get ready for Intern Pursuit by attending this fantastic workshop focused on getting the most out of your interns! Join PR powerhouses from the top agencies in Orlando and UCF’s Ad/PR Program Internship Coordinator as they discuss structuring effective internships that help employers gain productive contributors to their organizations while ensuring that students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. Topics include internship program design, recruiting, effective management techniques, project design, skills assessment and development, and more. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about how PR pros run their internship programs to get real results.

Groom your next intern to be your company’s star employee, and you’ll both come out on top.

Date:  Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Time: 8:30-9:30 a.m. with networking beginning at 8:00 a.m.

Location:  MetroPlan Orlando – One Landmark Center, 315 East Robinson Street, Suite 355, Orlando, Florida 32801


Lindsay Hudock – Instructor and Internship Coordinator, UCF Advertising/Public Relations Program

Amanda Mestdagh, APR – Senior Account Executive, Fry Hammond Bar

Beth Watson – Senior Account Executive, Ron Sachs Communications

Julie Primrose – Communications Specialist, Curley & Pynn

Parking is available at metered spaces, directly behind the building on Ridgewood Street or in the Landmark parking garages.

This event is free for FPRA members; $10 for non-members. To register for the event, please contact Kat Kennedy at

Call for Nominations: PR Professional of the Year

February 19, 2013

As is tradition within the FPRA-Orlando Area Chapter family, we mark the beginning of each year by accepting nominations for the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award for Career Excellence.

This award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by the Orlando Area Chapter of FPRA and will be presented to the 2013 winner at the annual Image Awards banquet on April 11.

We strongly encourage you to nominate a local public relations professional that demonstrates:

Experience and leadership in the public relations profession;

Contributions made back to the profession;

Contributions made to the community and charitable organizations; and

Lifetime achievement, service and awards.

Please send a summary, 500 words or less, explaining why you feel your nominee should receive the award. If available, please also send your nominee’s current resume.

Submit your nomination by Friday, March 1 to Amanda Forbes Mestdagh, APR, Immediate Past President, at Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

The winner will be selected by the previous Public Relations Professional of the Year Award recipients.  These practitioners have previously won the award:

2012 – Sara Brady

2011 – Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC

2010 – Chris Gent, APR, CPRC

2009 — Maureen Brockman

2008 — Susan Howard, APR

2007 — Danielle Saba Courtenay, APR

2006 — Jane Hames

2005 — Jim DeSimone

2004 – Ann Marie Varga, APR

2003 — Susan Blexrud

2002 — Carol Brinati

2001 — Bette Jore, APR, ABC

2000 — Bill Warren, APR, CPRC

1999 — Nickie Sarner

1998 — Ron Pecora

1997 — Jan Donlan

1996 — Frank Stansberry, APR

1995 — Randy Berridge

1994 — John Rutherford

1993 — Carolyn Fennell

1992 — Todd Persons

1991 — Linda Costa, APR

1990 — Kay Bartholomew

1989 — Frank Hutsell and Karen Plunkett, APR

1988 — Bob Davis, APR, CPRC

1987 — Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC

1986 — Truman “Duffy” Meyers

1985 — Holly Bennett Thatcher

1984 — Joe Curley, APR, CPRC

Chapter Rewind: 7 Secrets of the New Media Relations Superstars

February 18, 2013

February’s FPRA-Orlando Area Chapter breakfast event, co-hosted by PRSA, brought together more than 115 public relations professionals to participate in a program led by Michael Smart, a popular media pitching coach who has landed coverage in top publications such as the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today.

After a brief introduction, Smart played an audio clip of a flawed phone pitch and encouraged attendees to discuss the caller’s missteps. Some errors included speaking from a script (too wordy), inability to make a clear point/pitch, unable to answer follow-up questions, and so on. The audio clip clearly illustrated that the journalist was not engaged or interested because of the failed pitch.

Smart stressed that PR pros must adapt to the changes of today’s media. “Journalists have less time because they are now covering multiple beats, producing additional stories and blogging. Plus, they have the added media responsibility of promoting themselves through social media channels,” explained Smart. He suggested the following two-part approach to grab the attention of a journalist or blogger:

1. Attention grabbers: Formulate (say/write) a teaser pitch (15 seconds or less). “Journalists may not have time for etiquette, so don’t worry about presenting a formal introduction for yourself. The journalist will see that info in your email signature,” Smart advised.

  • Tip: Reference the journalist’s earlier work (offer positive feedback), then transition into how you can offer relevant info. In pitching…it’s not me, me, me (the PR pro), but rather you, you, you (the journalist), i.e. ‘feed the ego.’
  • Ask “can I send you more info?” and provide further details in a follow up email.

2. Angles: Find a better angle that is not obvious!

PR professionals who utilized Smart’s practical tips credit him for subsequent placements in the Wall Street Journal, Today, CNN, the New York Times, and the top blogs in their markets. Smart shared the following “7 secrets of the new media relations superstars” to adapt to the dramatic changes in the media landscape and land big placements:

1. Consider the process. In addition to being prepared to communicate what was achieved, understand how it was achieved.

2. Embrace the influence of pop culture. This might include humorous attention grabbing applicable to specific target audiences.

3. Keep pitches brutally brief.

  • Limit email pitches to 150 words or less.
  • Skip intro since your email signature is present.
  • Don’t paste press release copy into the body of your email.
  • In general, the best time to pitch is usually 10 a.m. to noon. However, notice the time of day in which a journalist is responding to your emails and plan accordingly. Tip: Smart shared how one PR pro gained success from pitching on a Friday afternoon because no other PR pros were pitching at that time. Therefore, she capitalized on the slow time and stood out.

4. Treat bloggers differently.

  • Bloggers are usually an expert in a specific area and strive to foster a sense of community.
  • Participate in ‘comments’ and disclose who you are.
  • Then, email a blogger once you have engaged.
  • Bloggers do not like the typical PR call-to-action of an interview. Instead, offer immediate info via images, report, white paper, etc.
  • Unlike a traditional journalist pitch, it is acceptable to craft a lengthier email pitch with (all) detailed info.

5. Never call to follow up, but always call to follow up! That basically means, “Call to follow up if needed, but never say that you are calling to follow up,” says Smart. “Instead, act like it’s a cold pitch, assuming that your email is lost in their spam, or yet to be seen. They will let you know if they did in fact receive it.”

  • 80% of placements come from follow up; otherwise only 15-20% response is had.
  • Your follow up can present an opportunity for ‘added value.’
  • Never follow up on the same day!

6. Media relations pros work consistently to get on the radar, i.e Read & React.

  • Schedule time in your week to follow select journalists.
  • Retweet, share, tag, comment, link a story, etc. Outlets can see if a site is generating an influx in page views.
  • Email praise without a pitch.

7. Create a story when there is no story.

  • Make an old story new again with unique and creative approaches. Smart shared a video spoof that he created to generate viral buzz for Brigham Young University. The goal was to earn media coverage for the school’s top math genius (who opted to attend BYU instead of other schools like Stanford). Take a look: music video.

For more information, visit You can join Smart’s ‘Inner Circle’ and gain feedback on your media pitches and tactics. Click here to view event images.

Bio: Michael Smart, principal of MichaelSMARTPR, has been landing top-tier coverage for 15 years. He’s also trained more than 4,500 communicators from Geneva to Bangkok and Green Bay to Malibu how to boost their media and blog placements, including pros from Aflac, GlaxoSmithKline, Disney, Verizon, all the big PR agencies, many other companies, associations, and non-profits, large and small. Smart is regularly the top-rated presenter at public relations industry’s largest conferences.

This event was brought to you by FPRA Orlando and PRSA Orlando.