Archive for Capital Chapter

Breakout 1D: Social Media Use in the 2016 Presidential Campaign: What’s Worked and What We Can Expect

Blogger: Amanda Handley (Capital Chapter)

Social Media Use in the 2016 Presidential Campaign: What’s Worked and What We Can Expect
Presented by: Lawrence J. Parnell, Assocate Professor and Program Director, Master’s in Strategic PR at The George Washington University

Larry Parnell, from George Washington University, opened his session by joking that he was “far away from Washington to be an expert” on all things politics.  His discussion of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and their use of media in the 2016 Presidential Campaign primarily focused on the results of two research efforts. One study is from Pew and the other is the PEORIA Project (Public Echoes of Rhetoric in America). The PEORIA Project’s goal is to understand how voters react to campaign messages. As a side note, Parnell recommended Pew Research as a free resource as all of the studies they conduct are free to the public.

Website Content:

The Pew research referenced in this session showed that Trump is relying heavily on earned media (holding many press conferences, etc.) with the vast majority of his content connecting to news articles and video clips published by traditional media outlets. Clinton is focusing her efforts on owned media (her website and social media pages). In fact, 80 percent of the links on Clinton’s site connect to campaign-produced content, most of which is written by former journalists. One commonality, though, is that like President Obama, both camps are relying on social media to control campaign outreach.

How this election looks different:

  • Unlike the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, this election is focused on a controlled message, which means that there is very little dialogue on the websites – there are no calls for comments on articles or for feedback about how stances impact.

  • None of the campaign websites have pages set up specifically for demographic groups (Latinos, African-Americans, women, etc.) Instead, campaigns are letting voters research issues that are important to them (instead of assuming that all women are concerned about healthcare and so on).

  • The use of video is dramatically increased from previous election cycles. Clinton is posting up to five videos daily, and Trump posts at least one. There are several factors influencing this change:

    • Today’s technology makes it easier to create and edit your own videos. You no longer need a full production team to produce a video. Anyone can shoot one and post it online.

    • Campaign staffs are more tech-savvy.

Social Media:

Although both Clinton and Trump are actively engaged on social media, there are some significant differences in how they use social media. Parnell focused mainly on the differences in the utilization of Twitter. Items of note:

  • Only Trump actively retweets other content. And 78 percent of his retweets were from the public and his supporters.

  • Both Trump and Clinton had millions of followers when they announced their respective candidacies, putting them well ahead of the other candidates.

  • Since early May, Trump’s social engagement has mirrored his earned media coverage numbers.

  • Twitter followers can be an asset. Trump used his Twitter to close the gap between him and Hillary Clinton and to get ahead of the rest of the GOP primary field. Additionally, Bernie Sanders effectively utilized Twitter to spread his message and close the gap between him and his primary opponent, Clinton.

Application to Strategic PR:

  • Sponsored content is growing in use. It’s extremely low cost, making it an effective play for many candidates.

  • There is a reduced dependency on traditional media to communicate messages and to impact public opinion. This has real implications for media relations and the media itself.

  • Engagement and followers are key measures for success. However, it is imperative to assess why they follow you and determine if they support you or are just curious.

  • The increased use of video is an effective means of message delivery. It reduces dependency on traditional broadcast media, and consumers (voters) accept it and share it with friends, creating a viral impact.

  • Twitter is a valuable means to offset a strong, well-funded opponent or competitor. (See: Bernie Sanders.)

  • Media coverage shared on Twitter can build followers.

Use Caution:

  • Retweeting requires extra diligence. Retweets imply endorsement, so it’s imperative that you vet what you retweet.

  • Don’t confuse followers with supporters. Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they support you.

  • Avoiding the media and relying too heavily on sponsored and owned content is a calculated risk.

    • The media will defend itself if you ignore it or challenge it. They may pile on when the opportunity presents itself. (See: Trump and Washington Post, Clinton and the email catastrophe, Clinton and Benghazi, and Trump and questionable business dealings.)

Final Thoughts:

Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary, has said that as a public relations professional, it’s your job to advocate for your client to the media. But it’s also your job to advocate for the media to your client. You need to help your clients understand that the media can be helpful. After all, media relations is about relationships.


  1. Is Trump’s constant retweeting strategic or just laziness?

    1. Likely laziness. However, he does have a very small staff. And, Trump also appears to only be concerned about being in the news, not what the sentiment of those stories are.

  2. Are you seeing a shift/trickle-down in local elections?

    1. Yes because it’s a really cost-effective way of reaching people.

    2. However, people will still be doing town halls etc., because this provides them with content.

  3. Does paid media placement matter? Do you need to place your ads in reputable sources like the New York Times?

    1. He doesn’t know for sure, but it doesn’t appear to matter. People do not appear to be vetting the sources of where they get their “news.”

  4. Do you think Trump’s advisors cringe when he speaks or do you think it’s part of their strategy because it seems to work?

    1. Not sure, but the biggest challenge in our profession is finding the right way, time, and place to say, “That wasn’t good.”

  5. Do you think it’s calculated that their messaging appears to be aimed only at their base?

    1. Yes, but it’s a dangerous choice because – as of right now – Trump’s base alone isn’t enough to get him elected. He’ll need more voters than just his base.

  6. Is this election an anomaly or an indication of where we’re going as a nation?

    1. It depends on the results of the election.

ParnellLawrence J. Parnell, M.B.A., is an associate professor and director of the George Washington University Master’s in Strategic Public Relations program, named the best PR Education Program for 2015 by PR Week. During a 34-year career in the private and public sectors, he has worked in government, corporate and consulting segments, and national political campaigns. He was recognized as PR Professional of the Year in 2003 by PR Week, and was named to the PR News Hall of Fame in 2009. In addition to his work at GW, he operates Parnell Communications, a boutique consultancy specializing in executive communication, strategy development and organizational effectiveness.


Joe Curley Rising Leader Award Class of 2016

















Congratulations to the winner of the Joe Curley Rising Leader Award - Rhonda Leiberick, APR from the Central West Coast Chapter!













Congratulations to the entire Joe Curley Rising Leader Class of 2016!


Liz Anderson Jacksonville Chapter


Corrie Benfield headshot

Corrie Benfield Tampa Bay Area Chapter


LaurenDeiorio final head shot

Lauren DeIorio Ocala Chapter



Angelica DeLuccia Morrissey Space Coast Chapter


erin igram

Erin Igram NW Florida Coast Chapter


Erin Knothe

Erin Knothe Dick Pope/Pol County Chapter


Cindi Lane

Cindi Lane, APR Volusia/Flagler Chapter



Rhonda Leiberick, APR Central West Coast Chapter


Zoe Linafelt

Zoe Linafelt Capital Chapter



Joey Mazzaferro Gainesville Chapter


Vianka McConville

Vianka McConville Orlando Area Chapter


Nicole Stacey

Nicole Stacey Pensacola Chapter


PR2D2′s “Tour of Chapters” Video

FPRA’s very own PR2D2 visited all 15 chapters this past year. Check out the video highlighting his journey.

PR2D2 video screen shot

Presidents’ Luncheon Chapter Awards

Annual Conference

Congratulations to this year’s President’s Luncheon Award Winners!


Chapter of the Year
Gainesville Chapter (Amelia Bell, APR, CPRC – President)


Chapter President of the Year
Andi Mahoney, APR (Northwest Florida Coast Chapter)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Accreditation & Certification
Southwest Florida Chapter (Heidi Taulman, APR – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Communications
Capital Chapter ( Jan Dobson, APR, CAE – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Community Service
Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter (Amy Wiggins – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Financial Management
Ocala Chapter (Jennifer Lowe – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Image Awards
Northwest Florida Coast Chapter (Andi Mahoney, APR – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Image Awards
Pensacola Chapter – Gordon Paulus, APR – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Leadership Development
Orlando Area Chapter (Kerry Martin, APR – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Membership Development
Gainesville Chapter (Amelia Bell, APR, CPRC – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Professional Development
Space Coast Chapter (Tessa Friederichs – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Special Event Planning
Central West Coast Chapter (Melissa Link – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Student Development
Southwest Florida Chapter (Heidi Taulman, APR – President)


Florida Public Relations Association President’s Award for Most Improved Chapter
Jacksonville Chapter

Congratulations to all the winners!

Rising Leader Nominees



Congratulations to the nominees for the 2015 Joe Curley Rising Leader Award, who will all be recognized at annual conference in August! Here are the first five members of this year’s class – additional members to be featured throughout June and July!


SStricklinStefanie Stricklin, Salter Mitchell
Capital Chapter
From her Chapter’s nomination: “For all the time and energy she invests in our chapter, Stefanie is one of those quiet professionals who doesn’t call attention to herself. She may be modest but Stefanie is nothing short of an FPRA rock star and shining example of the future of our profession.”



   Jeremy Piper, Realize BradentonJPiper
Central West Coast Chapter
From his Chapter’s nomination: “We believe Jeremy Piper is truly a rising star in our  community, in public relations and in our local chapter.”





AKinmanAlisha Kinman, Hippodrome Theatre
Gainesville Chapter
From her Chapter’s nomination: “Her dedication to the chapter, the association and the profession is evident in her active involvement…She is a dedicated professional…”




Elizabeth Austin, City of InvernessEAustin
Nature Coast Chapter
From her Chapter’s nomination in Elizabeth’s words: “My membership reinforces what I’ve learned in my graduate studies, and keeps it relevant to what’s happening today in the profession. All of this together, makes me faster—FPRA keeps me quick on my feet for the ever-changing communications landscape.”



KCarterKelli Carter, Visit South Walton
Northwest Chapter
From her Chapter’s nomination: “Kelli Carter is an advocate for FPRA and demonstrates the highest ethical standards. She has poured her heart and soul into FPRA…”

Congratulations to the following public relations professionals who earned their APR or CPRC in September of 2014.

Accreditation is offered through the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) to members of participating organizations, including FPRA. Though five years of public relations practice was previously required, ALL members are eligible regardless of years of experience. However, the objective, multiple-choice, computer exam does test a variety of knowledge, skills and abilities, so members interested in seeking accreditation need to be prepared in a variety of skill areas.

Earning professional public relations accreditation and receiving the designation of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR):


Holly Boldrin
Holly Anne Boldrin, APR
Public Relations Manager
Priority Marketing
Southwest Florida Chapter





Deb Jonsson
Deborah Jonsson, APR
Public Relations Manager
Southwest Florida Chapter





Jennifer Olivier, APR
Public Relations Manager
Florida Presbyterian Homes, Inc.
Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter





Certification is a unique, second tier credential offered exclusively to FPRA members. Candidates must have previously earned their APR and have ten or more years experience in the field of public relations. Though it is a second tier credential, it is not APR 2.0. This exam is a subjective exam that requires candidates to draw from their experience to solve problems and present solutions. Earning the CPRC credential involves passing a written exam (16 essay questions) and an oral exam (presentation of a public relations program or project).

Earning professional certification in public relations and receiving the designation of Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) from the Florida Public Relations Association:


Heidi Otway Headshot
Heidi Otway, APR, CPRC
Vice President, Director of PR and Social Media
Capital Chapter




For more information on Accreditation and Certification, as well as any available chapter or State Association rebates, please contact your local Accreditation and Certification Chair or Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC, VP Accreditation/Certification at


NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future.


Today is your last chance to RSVP for November’s meeting on NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future.

Speaker Lisa Malone, APR, CPRC, is the director of public affairs at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. With more than 30 years of experience in public affairs, Malone is responsible for overseeing news media, television, documentary and film crews, web, social media, exhibits, public inquiries, freedom of information and internal communications.

Malone has managed all aspects of NASA public affairs, including the KSC Visitor Complex, government education and VIP operations. She has served as launch commentator for 15 years for space shuttle launches.

Special thanks to our host firm, BowStern and our contributing sponsors, Demont Insurance Agency, Taproot Creative, Graphateria and TREW Media, Inc., for their generous support of this program and the Capital Chapter.

Mark your calendars for this exciting presentation!

Thursday, November 21, 2013
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Networking begins at 11:30 a.m.; Lunch begins promptly at noon.

FSU Alumni Center
1030 W Tennessee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32304

Register HERE.

November – Networking Around the State

While November marks the beginning of the busy holiday season, there’s always time for learning. Thanks to Florida Public Relations Association chapter events, public relations professionals throughout the state have the opportunity to learn some great tips to get them through this years holiday buzz. Learn more about the professional development and networking opportunities available near you below, and #ThinkFPRA.

Haven Hospice Public Relations Manager
November 1, 2013, Nature Coast Chapter (Hernando, Fla.)

‘Tis The Season For Holiday Story Pitches
November 5, 2013, Southwest Florida Chapter (Fort Myers, Fla.)

Disney PR pro Munroe discusses “Stories from Fantasyland”
November 12, 2013, Volusia – Flagler Chapter (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

Professional Development Luncheon
November 15, 2013, Ocala Chapter (Ocala, Fla.)

Trust in the 21st Century: Why and How Media Ethics Will Change
November 20, 2013, Central West Coast Chapter (Sarasota, Fla.)

How We Are Working to Establish Florida as the #1 Travel Destination in the World
November 21, 2013, Gainesville Chapter (Gainesville, Fla.)

NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future
November 21, 2013, Capital Chapter (Tallahassee, Fla.)

Moving People to Action Through Direct Marketing
November 21, 2013, Orlando Area Chapter (Orlando, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, Space Coast Chapter (Viera, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, 2013, Jacksonville Chapter (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, Treasure Coast Chapter

October – Networking Around the State

Map_small copyThis October, public relations professionals across the state of Florida will fill their minds with tricks of the trade at Florida Public Relations Association chapter events. Learn more about the professional development and networking opportunities available near you below, and #ThinkFPRA.

PR University: Creating Slam-Dunk Projects for Your Client
October 4, 2013, Southwest Florida Chapter (Fort Myers, Fla.)

Handling the Media and the Casey Anthony Trial
October 4, 2013, Nature Coast Chapter (Hernando, Fla.)

How to Write Right Again
October 8, 2013, Volusia – Flagler Chapter (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

Managing the PR Function: A Seat at the Management Table
October 16, 2013, Central West Coast Chapter (Sarasota, Fla.)

October Membership Mixer
October 17, 2013, Gainesville Chapter (Gainesville, Fla.)

October 17, 2013, Space Coast Chapter (Viera, Fla.)

NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future
October 17, 2013, Capital Chapter (Tallahassee, Fla.)

Marketing to the Power of ONE
October 17, 2013, Jacksonville Chapter (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Professional Development Workshop
October 24, 2013, Orlando Area Chapter (Orlando, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, Ocala Chapter

Topic/Date TBD, Treasure Coast Chapter

8 Ways An FPRA Membership Will Help Advance Your Career

By: Erica Villanueva, FPRA Capital Chapter President

Being the new President of the Capital Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association is such an honor and a privilege for me because I am passionate about our profession and committed to excellence in public relations. I love this organization and am so excited for the year ahead.

I joined the FPRA “Cap Chap” as a new transplant to Tallahassee. As a recent graduate starting my first job out of school, I was looking for a way to meet friends and connect with other public relations professionals.

I always heard the saying, “It’s who you know, and not what you know, that really matters.” Since that time, I’ve learned first-hand how important networking with other professionals is for advancement in your career. My education gave me a great foundation, but FPRA provided the springboard that allowed me to take my professional skills to the next level.

Here are my top 8 tips to get the most out of your membership in a professional association:

1. Join a committee. If you are looking to get involved, a great first step is to find a committee that focuses on one of your interests. If you enjoy event planning, join our programs committee. Have a passion for fundraising? Our development committee can use your help. Once you get your feet wet on a committee, consider joining the Board of Directors as a next step.

2. Find a mentor. The FPRA Chapters boast a deep bench of experienced public relations veterans to learn from. Whether you are just starting out in your career or have been in the industry for years, it’s always great to have someone on speed dial you can call when a question arises.

3. Learn a new skill. Associations typically offer numerous professional development opportunities throughout the year. For example, my FPRA chapter plans workshops and brings in national speakers on a variety of topics. Becoming a member of the local FPRA chapter also means you become a member of the State Association. State membership provides additional professional development opportunities, including our annual conference.

4. Build new relationships. In addition to professional development, FPRA offers its members many networking opportunities throughout the year. Meet new people and strengthen relationships with your colleagues outside the office. Expand your personal network and get to know local leaders in our industry.

5. Meet potential clients — or even your future boss. You never know how the connections you make will affect you down the road. I met Ryan Banfill, Partner at Ron Sachs Communications, at the first FPRA luncheon I ever attended. I remember being so impressed with his knowledge of political communications and introduced myself to him at the end of the meeting. Little did I know, I would be working with him just a few months later when I joined the Sachs team.

6. Be recognized for your work. Many professional associations offer award programs and other ways to earn recognition. Nearly all of the local FPRA chapters hold an annual Image Award program, and the statewide awards ceremony takes place at the FPRA annual conference every August. Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that won the Dick Pope Grand All Golden Image Award for the “Yes on Amendment 4” campaign. Going on stage to accept the highest award given out for a PR campaign is still one of my proudest memories.

7. Stay on top of emerging trends. With ever-changing technology and new ways to connect emerging all the time, it can be hard to keep up. FPRA hosts regular workshops and presentations to help you stay on top of these new trends.

8. Get accredited. FPRA offers a two-tier credentialing process for its members. The first tier, APR (Accreditation in Public Relations), signifies a high level of competence and validates a PR professional’s commitment to the field. The second tier, CPRC (Certified Public Relations Counselor), is available to FPRA members who already have the APR designation and 10 years or more public relations experience.

As with most things in life, you will get out of your membership what you put into it. Membership in a professional organization, like FPRA, will help you keep up and stand out in your industry.

I urge you to visit to find how you can become involved in your local chapter.