Raising Your Profile: A Public Relations Workshop
for Chapter and Council PR Chairs
Andrea Sanchez, George Deutsch and Laurie Steiner
Did I really write that??
Andrea Sanchez, Communications Manager,
Editor, Facility Management Journal
George Deutsch, Senior Public Relations Specialist
Laurie Steiner, Public Relations Specialist,
Associate Editor, Facility Management Journal
Common PR Questions
What is public relations?
Public relations is a management function that
identifies, establishes and maintains mutually-
beneficial, information-sharing relationships between
an organization and the people on whom its success
or failure depends.
In lay terms, it is an ongoing discussion between an
organization and people who want to learn more
about that organization.
Who is your audience?
Your audience is the group of people in the general
public who would be interested in your news item,
and even those people who you would like to take
greater interest in your organization. The primary
audiences for local IFMA chapters may be (but are
not limited to):
Local media and
Other local organizations.
What is publicity?
Publicity, a part of the central foundation of public
relations, is information from an outside source used by
the news media based on its news value. It is an
uncontrolled (unpaid) method of placing messages in
Publicity primarily is seen in broadcast (television or
radio), print or Web-based media.
Examples of publicity include an announcement of a
large increase in membership, the results of a
fundraising campaign, an event announcement, survey
results or any media item that describes your
organization and its contributions to the communities it
What is the difference between
public relations and marketing?
Marketing is specifically concerned with an
organization’s relationship with its customers. It
identifies ways to satisfy customer needs and wants.
Public relations, on the other hand, deals with a
broader range of people involved with or affected by
What is the difference between
publicity and advertising?
Whereas publicity is free and uncontrolled,
advertising content, placement and timing are
controlled by the sponsor who pays for the time or
space in the media. Publicity and advertising are
used in public relations programs as alternative
methods of placing messages in the media.
Aim to answer as many of the five Ws (who, what, when, where,
why) as possible in your first sentence or paragraph.
Make sure to answer the question: ―How do I know that the
information is accurate?‖ This provides credibility.
Press Release Writing:
The Inverted Pyramid Essentials
This includes why the story is significant — the
perspective. Answer the questions:
―So what?‖ or ―How?‖
The inverted pyramid
provides a visual illustration Quotes
Give the release life.
of what information Add quotes.
should be included within a
press release and the best What’s missing?
way to arrange and present
that information. Wrap Up
Your Chapter or Council PR File
Statistics about IFMA, chapter/council, facility management, etc.;
Articles on facility management;
High-resolution digital images (events, officers, etc.);
A log of radio, television and speaking engagements carried out by
your chapter or council members;
List of possible PR relationships with other organizations;
Brochures and other collateral;
Clippings and log of media exposure;
Google alert coverage;
Publicity calendar (what will happen and when);
A listing of press releases, media advisories and other news on your
chapter or council Web site; and
Media list and editorial calendars.
Do’s and Don’ts
Admit when you don’t know the answer.
Be ―low-key‖ rather than ―hard-sell.‖
Seek only tasteful, positive publicity.
Always be aware of what you’re saying to a reporter.
Prepare and keep current lists of all media people who you
Direct all materials to the proper person.
Know media deadlines and provide material accordingly.
Lie to the media.
Say anything to a media person ―off the record.‖
Pressure the media by inventing reasons to call or calling too
Insist on name identification in a story regardless of context.
Schedule press conferences, except in unusual
circumstances, and then only after conferring with the
communications department at IFMA headquarters.
Formatting a Press Release
1. Use a standard, easy-to-read typeface, such as Arial or Times New
Roman, preferably in 10 or 12 point font.
2. Type on one side only of letter-size (8 1/2‖ x 11‖) paper or IFMA
letterhead (first page only, IFMA headquarters can provide letterhead if
3. Single space paragraphs with double spacing between paragraphs.
4. Leave ample margins on all sides.
5. Include a date, contact name, organization name and phone number on
top of the first page.
6. Start the release with a dateline, which contains the city and state from
which it originates. (Example: AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Chapter
of…) Note that the city is listed in all caps and the state is not. (Refer to
the ―AP Stylebook‖ for exceptions to this rule.)
7. Include ―# # #‖ at the bottom of the last page to indicate the end of the
8. Please note: All IFMA press releases should contain the following
paragraph, updated to reflect your chapter or council’s profile:
The __________ Chapter (or Council) of IFMA is the local entity of
the world’s largest and most widely recognized international
association for professional facility managers, supporting more than
19,000 members in 60 countries. Formed in __________, the
__________ Chapter (or Council) of IFMA has __________
members, managing __________ square feet of property. The
__________ Chapter (or Council) of IFMA provides educational and
networking programs for facility managers in the __________ area.
For more information, please visit __________ (insert Web site
This paragraph should appear at the end of the release, before “###.”
Guidelines for Writing a Press Release
Keep it simple.
Avoid jargon or industry-specific buzzwords which may be unfamiliar to lay
people. Never assume a reader will understand an uncommon term.
Always spell out ―International Facility Management Association‖ on first
usage. IFMA may be used on any other usages in the same release.
(**Note: Make sure to say Facility instead of Facilities.)
Get to the point. Never make a reader search for the meaning of your
Cut out unnecessary, needless, superfluous words. Really, cut them out.
Be objective; stick to the facts.
Always attribute quotations.
After you complete a press release, ask
yourself the following questions:
(Refer back to the inverted pyramid.)
1. Are my objectives clear in this release?
2. Is the lead direct?
3. Have the essential questions — who, what, where, when, why and
how — been answered in the first few paragraphs?
4. Are sentences short and concise? Is the wording clear and concrete?
5. Has AP style been followed throughout the release?
6. Are spelling and punctuation correct?
7. Have all facts been double-checked for accuracy?
8. Does the release appear neat and professional?
9. Does the release include a dateline and today’s date? Is a point of
contact listed? Make sure to include names, telephone numbers and
Examples of Press Releases
Dec. 19, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrea Sanchez
TEXAS MEMBERSHIP ON THE RISE FOR INTERNATIONAL FACILITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION
HOUSTON — (Dec. 19, 2007) — Facility management professionals are always looking for ways to network, attain further education and access the most
valuable resources in the industry. Many throughout Texas turn to the International Facility Management Association for these opportunities.
Facility management is a profession that encompasses many disciplines, integrating people, place, process and technology to ensure functionality of the built
environment. As the world’s largest and most distinguished association for facility management professionals, IFMA represents thousands of members in
countries around the world. IFMA members have a total combined purchasing power of $100 billion and manage more than 37 billion square feet of space.
Throughout the state of Texas, facility managers have the opportunity to belong to four chapters of IFMA based on geographic area: Austin, Dallas Fort-Worth
Metroplex, Houston and San Antonio. There is also a student chapter at Texas A&M University in College Station.
―IFMA chapters have always been growth drivers for IFMA membership and the Texas chapters continue to shine in this area,‖ said Barbara Zlatnik, IFMA
associate director of member resources. ―We are very excited to have surpassed IFMA’s all-time high membership. Our increased education and networking
efforts offer value to IFMA stakeholders and have helped us recruit and retain members. The vision of IFMA’s board of directors and senior staff has led to this
milestone and plans for the future call for continued enhancement of the IFMA membership experience.‖
With more than a 4.5 percent increase in membership from November 2006 through November 2007, Texas chapters have experienced a leap in growth.
They have also added more than 20 new members during the month of November alone.
―Membership in IFMA has been key in my professional development as a facility manager,‖ said Linda McBain, CFM, president of the Dallas Fort-Worth
Metroplex Chapter of IFMA. ―IFMA has provided me with the opportunity to develop invaluable relationships with other facility managers. With the business
focus of doing more with less while still providing innovative solutions, IFMA gives me the tools and knowledge to lead the way in my profession.‖
For more information on becoming a member of IFMA, visit www.ifma.org or call the Houston headquarters’ member resources department at 713-623-4362.
IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 19,000 members in
60 countries. The association’s members, represented in 125 chapters and 15 councils worldwide, manage more than 37 billion square feet of property and
annually purchase more than $100 billion in products and services. Formed in 1980, IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational
programs, recognizes facility management certificate programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and
exposition. For more information, visit www.ifma.org.
Nov. 7, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrea Sanchez
IFMA, IREM AND BOMA PARTNER TO HELP CALIFORNIA FIRE VICTIMS
HOUSTON — (Nov. 7, 2007) — The Orange County Chapter of the International Facility Management Association has partnered with the Orange County Chapter
of the Institute of Real Estate Management and the Orange County and Greater Los Angeles Chapters of the Building Owners and Managers Association to accept
non-monetary donations on behalf of the communities affected by the recent Southern California wildfires.
―We’ve been working diligently to establish relationships with other associations to expand our outreach and our resources,‖ said Orange County Chapter of IFMA
President Diane Coles. ―We knew that collaboration was key, because together our efforts will have a far greater impact.‖
Currently being accepted are donations of non-perishable food items such as canned goods, pasta and bottled water; grocery gift certificates; gas cards; personal
items such as shampoo, soap and diapers; and clothing.
All donations will be taken to local relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, Goodwill, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Orange County Rescue
Mission. These organizations will distribute the items to fire victims throughout the Southern California area.
Those interested in helping the Southern California fire victims can send their non-monetary donations to:
BOMA IREM IFMA (So Cal Fire Relief)
1405 Warner Avenue
Tustin, CA, 92780
To learn more about the Orange County Chapter of IFMA’s disaster relief efforts, visit www.ifmaoc.org.
IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 19,000 members in 60
countries. The association’s members, represented in 125 chapters and 15 councils worldwide, manage more than 37 billion square feet of property and annually
purchase more than $100 billion in products and services. Formed in 1980, IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs,
recognizes facility management degree and certificate programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and
exposition. For more information, visit www.ifma.org.
Who is hosting?
Who can attend?
What is it?
When is it?
Where is it?
Who can I talk to for more
How much does it cost?
Example of Media Advisory
Aug. 9, 2007
Contact: Andrea Sanchez
NEW ORLEANS CHAPTER OF IFMA HOSTS AUGUST MEETING AT HISTORIC RESTAURANT RALPH’S ON THE PARK
Who: Founded in 1987, the New Orleans Chapter of the International Facility Management Association spots trends, conducts research, provides
educational programs and assists corporate and organizational facility managers in developing strategies to manage human, facility and real
What: The New Orleans Chapter of IFMA hosts its August meeting at the historic Ralph’s on the Park restaurant. The agenda includes the
introduction of the chapter’s board of directors, discussion of the state of the chapter and roundtable discussions on four of the 2007 Facility
Management trends: change management, emerging technology, globalization and aging buildings.
Lunch will be served during the meeting.
Why: The New Orleans IFMA chapter meeting is a great networking opportunity for both IFMA members and nonmembers in the facility
management profession. Discuss current facility management trends and meet the newly-elected board of directors, all while enjoying
delicious Cajun cuisine.
When: Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Ralph’s on the Park
900 City Park Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119
RSVP: To RSVP, visit the New Orleans IFMA Web site at www.ifmanola.com.
IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 18,500
members in 60 countries. The association’s members are represented in 125 chapters and 15 councils worldwide. Formed in 1980, IFMA certifies facility
managers, conducts research, provides educational programs, recognizes facility management degree and certificate programs and produces World
Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and exposition. For more information, visit www.ifma.org.
Why should your chapter have a newsletter?
A well-written newsletter could be your chapter’s or council’s most effective
public relations tool. Every member on your mailing list will receive your
chapter or council newsletter. If you, for example, have a problem with
inactive members, a newsletter will keep them informed of upcoming
meetings, special events and educational opportunities that may be of
interest to them.
A newsletter is also an excellent way to communicate with new and
potential members. An effective newsletter will not only tell new members
about your chapter and its events, but will also motivate them to attend. The
newsletter can also potentially assist in attracting new members. Encourage
current members to share it with co-workers who might be interested in
IFMA. Reading about your chapter or council’s educational activities may be
the push they need to join.
Guidelines for Newsletter Copy
Feature stories/case studies
Table of Contents
Basic Public Relations Plan
1. Define what is to be 4. Define tactics
accomplished Press releases
Enhance awareness Media advisories
Promote events Newsletters
2. Define audience Invite media speakers
Members Word of mouth campaign
Business leaders 5. Measure results
General public Press clippings
Media Google alerts
3. Define strategies Speakers
Monthly media Awareness survey
Bring new and non- 6. Adjust plan
members to meetings Expand audience
1 East Greenway Plaza, Suite 1100
Houston, TX, 77046-0194
email@example.com For additional information on AP style, go to
The Associated Press Stylebook, 42nd Edition,
Associated Press, New York, NY.
Or visit www.apstylebook.com.