Join PRSA as a Group and Save Big in May!

To celebrate the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, the PRSA Group Member Program is offering a special promotion for all New Group that join PRSA between May 8 and June 5. New group members can take advantage of the following discounts:

  • FREE initiation fee for all new members (a $65 value)
  • FREE reinstatement fee for returning members in the group (a $35 value)
  • FREE professional interest section dues for one year for all members of the group (a $60 value – excludes Counselors Academy)
  • FREE chapter dues for one year for all members of the group (dues vary per chapter – Tampa Bay dues are $50)

There are several advantages for employers who join PRSA as a group, including:

  • Single Invoicing - Make a single payment each year for group members' dues, rather than numerous individual payments.
  • Transferability of Membership - Each membership within a group is easily transferable. This is convenient when an employee changes departments or leaves your organization.
  • Ease of Adding New Members - PRSA will prorate the dues to maintain the same term year and renewal date.
  • Employer Posting Opportunities - Receive discounted or free postings on PRSA's career and employment website, the PRSA Jobcenter.
  • Listings in Online Organization Search - Take advantage of complimentary listings in our Find-A-Firm Directory.
  • The Best Pricing on PRSA Events - Save on registration for on-site training at the annual PRSA International Conference, as well as various specialty conferences and seminars throughout the year.
  • Geographic and Sector-Specific Networking - Membership to specialty communities, such as our local Chapters or Professional Interest Sections, is provided according to group size.

To learn more about group membership, visit To join PRSA as a New Group, please contact for the next steps.

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Welcome New Members, April 2015

Welcome PRSA Tampa Bay new chapter members!

Kourtney Berry
Assistant Account Executive
Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Timothy Cook
Managing Director, Corporate Communications

Barbara St. Clair

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Agency Leaders: Grow Your Business by Knowing Your Worth and Creating Value

For anyone running and growing a business – public relations agency leaders included – you must be able to recognize and express your worth and the value your firm brings to clients. If this is unclear in your mind or you are not able to communicate it effectively, you run the risk of giving things away instead of growing a successful business.

Tap into your inner CEO to identify your worth and make the money you deserve by following these tips:

Understanding Your Worth
As the leader of your firm, your time is extremely valuable – and it’s your most precious resource. In your industry, time is literally money. Do you know your worth and is your firm set up to help you realize it?

Let’s imagine you want to have a personal annual income of $200,000 – that means you value your expertise at that amount. Now multiply that by three, and $600,000 is roughly the amount your firm should be billing to support your desired income. Further calculations, including taking into account all of the business expenses associated with servicing clients, will lead you to a solid understanding of where you should set your billing rates so your perceived worth becomes a reality.

Also, take a good look at how you and your firm are spending time. Is every activity, every networking event, every volunteer opportunity, even every client, ultimately contributing toward the goal of making what you’re worth? If not, consider how you can delegate or even suspend tasks and activities that will distract from achieving that goal.

Creating Value
Once you have a firm grasp on your worth, the next step is being able to communicate that to a client or prospect so that you don’t give away your time. Giving away your services is the quickest way to slow or reverse your business growth. You have something of value – do not give it away!

When working to create value for your agency, it’s critical to understand that people buy the why and the results. The why means that when you meet with prospects, you need to clearly articulate why they need your services, why they should work with you and your firm, and why they need to get started now.

The results means you clearly express to prospects what kind of results they can expect if they work with you – this helps to create value in the prospect’s mind. However, this does not mean you should sit with a prospect and give him or her a bunch of ideas for free. Instead, share examples of results you’ve gotten for other clients so they can understand the types of results they can expect if they hire you. You want to clearly illustrate the ROI you will bring the prospect without giving away your valuable time and ideas.

Knowing your firm’s worth and creating value so you can get paid what you deserve are two essential keys for unlocking business growth. Here’s to bringing out the CEO in you!

About the Author:
Juliann Nichols is the CEO of Focus On You Strategy. She combines an open and welcoming personality, contagious sense of humor and astute head for business that has propelled her to be consistently approached as an expert in personal and business branding and being the CEO of you. She can be reached at (813) 609-2223 and

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Turning Bad Reviews into Positive Promotion

By: Aroushad Tahsini, University of South Florida PRSSA

Bad reviews in any industry, specifically the restaurant industry, are inevitable. But your response can decrease negative criticism and help maintain a positive reputation for your brand.

PRSA Tampa Bay members and guests met at Datz Deli to hear a panel discuss how to respond to reviews on social media. Panelists included Suzanne Perry, owner of Datz, Jennifer Vickery, president and CEO of National Strategies PR, Brett Nehls, senior community manager of Yelp Tampa Bay and Lauren Cresta, digital marketing manager of Bonefish Grill.

So how can you navigate reviews on social media?
1)     Handle the situation promptly. It’s easier to alleviate a problem immediately rather than wait until it escalates. Perry explained that every table at Datz has a card that includes funny suggestions such as crumpling the card and throwing it at a manager. She admits the method is risky, but it also encourages unhappy diners to contact management right away if there is an issue.

2)     Track online reviews: Both Perry and Cresta use software to collect online reviews. They are updated quickly and know when a client is unhappy.

3)     Apologize: Try to acknowledge that person’s point of view. If the situation were reversed, what would you want to see? Apologize immediately and promise to work on a solution.

4)     Use discretion with private or public responses: It really depends on your team whether or not you want to address a review publicly or privately. Perry usually responds privately and publicly to posts, while Cresta usually responds privately due to the large scale of Bonefish.

5)     Politely address corrections and disgruntled comments: Sometimes reviewers make incorrect or frustrating remarks. Nehls highly recommends politely correcting the comment and avoiding rude responses.

6)     Encourage direct communication: In order to diminish negativity on social media, Cresta and her team invite clients to contact the company directly.

7)     Be yourself: Formality is not necessarily the right tone to use in every situation. Vickery suggested that you tailor your responses to suit your publics’ and organization’s personality.

8)     Appreciate good reviews: When clients leave good reviews, be sure to thank them. It makes them feel appreciated and shows good customer service.

Guests also enjoyed delectable treats and beverages provided by Datz.

The next PRSA Tampa Bay event is the membership picnic at Picnic Island Park in Tampa on Saturday, May 2 from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tickets are free for members and family and $10 for guests. Please RSVP by April 30.

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New & Current Members Save on Section Membership In April

Help your public relations career bloom by joining PRSA Tampa Bay this spring. PRSA is offering a free one-year section membership, a $60 savings, when you become a national member. Just use the code MAR15.

Professional interest sections include:

  • Association/Nonprofit
  • Corporate Communications
  • Counselors to Higher Education
  • Educators Academy
  • Employee Communications
  • Entertainment and Sports
  • Financial Communications
  • Health Academy
  • Independent Practitioners Alliance
  • New Professionals (less than 3 years’ experience)
  • Public Affairs and Government
  • Technology
  • Travel and Tourism

PRSA provides public relations and communications training to help you keep your skills sharp and advance your career. Members have access to dozens of free live or on-demand professional development webinars. And our local chapter, PRSA Tampa Bay, provides monthly programming.

Current or renewing members can also take advantage of the savings. PRSA is offering $20 off section membership. Just use the code SEC15. Note: Discount cannot be used toward an existing section membership.

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Differences between American and British English That PR Pros Should Know

By: Joseph Priest, Corporate Writer, Syniverse

If you were working for a British-English-speaking company or customer, would it be correct to write “She expects to send it towards the end of April” or “She expects to send it toward the end of April”? Or “He traveled there last year” or “He travelled there last year”? How about “That team is able to do anything” or “That team are able to do anything”?

English has become the lingua franca of the global economy. However, this language has two major forms: British English, used in the U.K. and many former British colonies, and American English, spoken mainly in the U.S. In fact, according to the CIA World Factbook, English is now the official language of at least 50 of the 240 countries and territories listed in that resource. Yet many if not most of these countries and territories, including such economic leaders as Canada, Australia, India, Singapore, and South Africa, use British English.

Although American English and British English are generally interchangeable, there are enough differences to occasionally cause awkward errors in communications created by or targeted to speakers of both language forms. And in an increasingly globally integrated business world where British-English-speaking countries are forming a greater part of the mix, it’s important for PR pros to be as adept as possible with both forms of English. (By the way, the correct answers to the questions in the first paragraph include the sentences with the words “towards,” “travelled” and “are.”)

To help PR pros navigate these differences, below is a rundown of differences between common American English and British English words and usages that can cause confusion, along with a few resources that can provide further guidance. Having an awareness of these will help your work be that much more accurate and effective in a world where British English represents a significant part of business communication.

Different Words with the Same Meaning

American English

British English 

calendar (appointment book or day planner)




anchor (for a news media outlet)


check mark


cool (in the sense of “excellent”)








period (punctuation mark)

full stop



program (plan)



CV (curriculum vitae)





zee (pronunciation of the letter “z”)


Note: The words on the right above represent words commonly used in place of the words on the left, but they are not necessarily the only words used in place of the words on the left.

Words with Different Spellings

American English

British English









check (bank payment)













per cent











What Day?

In American English, the month-day-year format is used to write dates. In British English, it’s the day-month-year format.

  • American: Jennifer is coming on May 13, 2015.
  • British: Jennifer is coming on 13 May 2015.


No Periods, Period
In American English, abbreviations such as "Mr.," "St." and "Dr." are properly written with a period. In British English, these are typically written without a period. This latter usage follows the rule that a period is used only when the last letter of the abbreviation is not the last letter of the complete word.

  • American: Mr. Carlin and Dr. Fox arrived late.
  • British: Mr Carlin and Dr Fox arrived late.

You Can Quote Me on This
In American English, periods and commas are always enclosed in closing quotation marks. Colons and semicolons always follow closing quotation marks, and question marks and exclamation points follow unless they are part of the quoted matter. In British English, however, only those punctuation marks that appear in the original material should be enclosed in quotation marks.

Additionally, in American English, single quotation marks are only used to enclose quoted content within a larger piece of quoted content, or in certain typographical styles, such as for headlines. In British English, though, the practice is generally the reverse: single quotation marks, also referred to as inverted commas in British English, are used as double quotation marks would be in American English, and double quotation marks are used to enclose quoted content within a larger piece of quoted content.

  • American: “I won’t go,” Marissa said.
  • British: ‘I won’t go’, Marissa said.


  • American: What time does this “Twitterthon” start?
  • British: What time does this ‘Twitterthon’ start?

One or Many?
In British usage, collective nouns that represent groups of people often take a plural verb.

  • American English: I think the government is on the right course.
  • British English: I think the government are on the right course.

Where to Turn for Help
Here are some handy resources to help distinguish differences between American English and British English words:

Have a question about a difference between American and British English? Please send it to me at



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Award Season Is Here! 2015 Silver Anvil Awards

By Melissa ReelMarketing Coordinator at Design Styles Architecture

Award season is here! Nationwide industries are recognizing their best and brightest stars. From the Golden Globes Awards® to the Tony Awards®, and the Academy Awards®. PRSA is getting in on the glitz and glamour too! We are recognizing public relations industry with 2015 Silver Anvil Awards, soon to follow is our “Best of the Best” 2015 Bronze Anvil Awards. Across the country public relations professionals are recognized for their high achievements in public relations. The 13 over all categories are drilled down to subcategories to ensure all areas are recognized, they include:

  • Public Service
  • Marketing
  • Integrated Communications
  • Events and Observances
  • Reputation/Brand Management
  • Community Relations
  • Internal Communications
  • Multicultural Public Relations
  • Crisis Communications
  • Public Affairs
  • Issues Management
  • Global Communications
  • Investor Relations

Last Friday judging for the Silver Anvil Awards wrapped up on location in New York City. I recently spoke to Silver Anvil 2014 and 2015 judge and PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter member Bobby Eagle. I asked Bobby what preparation goes into the Silver Anvil judging process. He credited PRSA with having an excellent preparation package. The comprehensive packet contains procedures, examples, judging criteria and scoring aggregates to assist during the process. Then, the judges are divided up into individual teams and given a category. Of course, Bobby’s industry experience is a great asset. You can follow Bobby Eagle @robertceagle  and other Silver Anvil Award judges and engage in the latest 2015 Silver Anvil Awards conversation and tweets at #prsanvil .

Bobby provided some best practice suggestions for PRSA candidates/nominees .

  • Pay close attention and follow the guidelines
  • Stick to the 2 -page summary, don’t go over
  • Be concise, but make a strong case in your summary
  • Show specific and measureable objectives tied to your results

He also explained the best practices are not limited to these points alone. He emphasized that strategy is “key”, as well as being able to explain what information your research provided. Whether the campaign is about awareness, or branding. What did the actual measureable results provide? Bobby’s 10+ years’ experience in the public relations industry is certainly helpful. Although his judging experience has provided him with great learning opportunities, it has enhanced his personal knowledge by learning through the success of others. One of the many PRSA core values is the advancement of the profession. Judging the PRSA Silver Anvil offers a valuable learning opportunity and helps to advance the profession. Winners from the previous years have their submissions posted online for anyone to read, providing an endless resource for best practices. The nominees who do not make it to the final round are still provided with a significant amount of instructive advice and critique from the judges. The Silver Anvils are not only an opportunity for prestigious recognition winning experience, but a learning experience too.

Check out the past winners page to learn from the companies, private practitioners and agencies implementing outstanding public relations work doing that qualifies them. For more information, visit 2015 Silver Anvil Awards.

If you are interested in submitting for 2016 or know someone you would like to nominate, the Silver Anvil guidelines packet is a great please to start with plenty of helpful information. 2015 PRSA Silver Anvil Guidelines and Entry Packet is a great place to start.

If you are interested in participating the 2016 Silver Anvil Silver Anvil Awards.


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Introducing the PRSA Tampa Bay PRestige Awards

By Melissa ReelMarketing Coordinator at Design Styles Architecture

The rumors are true. The PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter will be hosting an inaugural awards recognition program, the PRestige Awards, this fall. The details are still being finalized, but we can let you know that our chapter will recognize outstanding public relations initiatives in various categories that demonstrate excellence in research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Similar to PRSA's Silver Anvil Awards, the PRestige Awards will give our chapter an opportunity to honor our local members' achievements.

Information regarding the submission deadline and guidelines will be coming soon. Award recipients will be announced at the inaugural PRSA Tampa Bay PRestige Awards Luncheon this October. Be sure to check our website regularly for updated information.

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PRSA Tampa Bay's February Program Focuses on Social Media Crisis Management

By Megan Doherty, President of the University of South Florida's PRSSA Chapter

Tampa Bay PR professionals gathered together at the Brio Tuscan Grille Tuesday, Feb. 24 for a PRSA luncheon featuring Chief Jane Castor and spokesperson Laura McElroy from the Tampa Police Department. The sold-out event focused on social media and crisis management with the primary question being: “Could Twitter Prevent Ferguson?”

PRSA Tampa Bay President Marissa Segunda, APR with Chief Jane Castor and Laura McElroy
PRSA Tampa Bay President Marissa Segundo, APR with Chief Jane Castor and Laura McElroy

As large plates of salad topped with chicken, strawberries, and grapes were passed out, Chief Castor and McElroy eloquently addressed the positive and negative effects social media plays in the depiction of a crime and its investigation. McElroy posed questions to the group about the Ferguson shooting; could the department have prevented public unrest and riots if they had released the video of Michael Brown assaulting a cashier at the Kwiki Market moments or if it had released photos of Officer Darren Wilson’s injuries. She advocated releasing information so the public has a complete picture of the events leading up to shooting.

Chief Castor discusses crisis management and dealing with the media.

McElroy explained that police departments can’t hold all of their information close to the vest.

“The public has a right to know what is happening in their community,” McElroy said. “Without compromising the investigation we have to give the citizens that information.”

McElroy then showed a series of examples in which Chief Castor and TPD had to practice transparency while maintaining the integrity of their investigation. One such incident was the death of fallen officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis, who were killed during a routine traffic stop. The public and media were hungry for information on the incredibly sensitive subject, which the department provided while continuing to search for the alleged shooter.

McElroy explained her big dog theory: “The media is like a dog that eats all of the time. If you don’t feed it, it’ll get into your garbage.”

McElroy went on to discuss she has helped position the Tampa Police Department as a model organization. From police officers escorting skateboarders to skating zones on National Skateboard Day to viral videos of officers lip syncing to the song “Call Me Maybe,” McElroy has emphasized the approachability of the TPD and how the officers care for the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve.

Save the date:
The next PRSA Tampa Bay luncheon will take place on Mar. 25. The subject will be “Bienvenidos a Cuba: What An Open Cuba Means for Tampa Bay Communicators,” with speaker Bill Carlson, President Tucker/Hall.

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Spring Into Savings with PRSA's March Membership Promotion

By Melissa Reel, Marketing Coordinator at Design Styles Architecture

PRSA is offering new members who join in March a FREE 1 year section enrollment when you join PRSA National. Whether you’re a New Professional or a seasoned public relations professional, join a professional association that is designed to enhance your career, as well as provide direction and guidance where it is needed. As industry professionals, having a resource such as PRSA is priceless.

As a member of one or more Professional Interest Sections, you have access insider industry information that is critical in today's highly competitive workforce. Designed to focus on issues, trends and research in specialized practice areas and industries, Sections offer programs and face-to-face networking events that keep you connected with your peers and on top of the latest public relations best practices.

  • Association / Nonprofit
  • Corporate Communications
  • Counselors Academy
  • Counselors to Higher Education
  • Educators Academy
  • Employee Communications
  • Entertainment & Sports
  • Financial Communications
  • Health Academy
  • Independent Practitioners Alliance
    New Professionals
  • Public Affairs & Government
  • Technology
  • Travel & Tourism

Receive all the professional benefits of industry education, networking and so much more!

Existing members have the opportunity to save as well. If your current or renewing members can save $20 for a new 1-yr Section membership and pay only $40.

For current and renewing members use promo code SEC15, New members use code MAR15.

Register online at You can also call 212-460-1400 or email with any questions.


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