Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 14 - Other
Power of PR
Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC; Northwest Florida's Business Climate Magazine

Award of Distinction

Research/Situation Analysis: As in-coming president of the Pensacola Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), I survey members in June 2006 to prepare a plan for the year. The survey included questions on satisfaction with Chapter internal communication tools such as its newsletter and meeting E-nnouncments, interest in APR accreditation and whether membership dues were paid for by employers.
The results of the survey showed 58% of Chapter members have their dues paid for by their employers, 23% were interested in learning more about APR accreditation but some wanted more information, and satisfaction with chapter internal communication tools was very high, 100%. However, it was pointed out that there was little information on the practice of public relations reaching non-member practitioners and the business community.
A review of Pensacola-based business publications reaffirmed there was a lack of information of an educational nature about the practice of public relations. The creation of such an external communications tool would not only be in keeping with our commitment to enhancing the profession, it could help achieve chapter goals.
Further in-depth research was done into the readership, circulation, distribution methods and geographical reach of the publications to determine potential opportunity to educate practitioners and business leaders on the value of sound public relations practices, FPRA and accreditation. The publications examined were Pensacola Business Journal and Northwest Florida’s Business Climate Magazine. This research showed that Pensacola Business Journal, a monthly newsprint publication, has a readership of 29,800, a circulation of 10,500 and is primarily rack distributed as a free “pick up” publication in the Pensacola area and that Northwest Florida’s Business Climate Magazine, a full-color, glossy magazine published every other month, has a readership of 40,000, a circulation of 15,000 and a large direct mail subscription base throughout Northwest Florida. Based on this information, Northwest Florida’s Business Climate Magazine was identified as the publication that would provide the greatest reach and opportunity for impact. Interviews were also conducted with business leaders to gauge their interest in educational information on public relations practices. All agreed there was a need.

Objectives: The objectives were to 1) create a forum to increase awareness of the benefit of sound public relations practices, the Florida Public Relations Association and accreditation among practitioners and their employers, those who pay for the majority of memberships 2) support the Chapter’s goal of two members taking the APR exam by 8/31/ 2007, and 3) support the Chapter’s goal of 120 members by 8/31/2007.

Implementation: The idea of a public relations column was pitched to the publisher and editor of Northwest Florida’s Business Climate Magazine in July 2006. The proposal was accepted and an on-going column, Power of PR, began in September 2006. The 1,000-1,400 word columns have included: September/October 2006 – How to Use the Power of PR (overview of the profession and how it can help achieve business goals); November/December 2006 – On the Same Page (the importance of involving publics in the formulation of strategies and messages); January/February 2007 – Add Value to Your Ad Campaign (the extra value public relations can add when used in conjunction with marketing/advertising); March 2007 – Got Issues? When No News is Good News (issues management and how to use it to avoid negative impact); April 2007 – Research: The Key to Success (first in a series on the individual elements of RACE) and June 2007 – Are We There Yet? (second part of the RACE series on setting and evaluating objectives).

Evaluation: All objectives were achieved and Power of PR has been well received. 1) An on-going public relations column was secured in Northwest Florida’s Business Climate Magazine. The Florida Public Relations Association and the fact that the author is Accredited in Public Relations is included in the columnist’s biography that appears along with each column; 2) The Pensacola Chapter achieved its goal of two members taking the APR exam by January 2007, seven months ahead of plan, and 3) The Pensacola Chapter achieved its goal of 120 members in February 2007, six month ahead of plan. Chapter membership as of May 31, 2007 is 136. This number represents a 13% increase over goal.

Budget: There are no costs associated with the column. There is also no compensation. In the spirit of giving back to the profession, I declined the publication’s standard compensation to contributing writers. The amount of time dedicated to Power of PR averages 10 hours per column.