Frequently Asked Questions

What is PR? PR is an abbreviation for public relations, defined as the art of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public; also referred to as publicity, which involves dissemination of information through various media to attract public notice. PR assists in the growth or acceptance of new products, services, or ideas. In general, PR is designed to favorably influence public opinion while helping you expand your business. At Jazzmyne Public Relations, PR also stands for personal relations, representing the agency’s personal approach to work with clients.

How is PR different from advertising?
When a company advertises, it pays for the guaranteed placement of it’s ad, exactly as the company has prepared it. For example, a company may advertise the launch of its Web site in a business publication. Public relations, on the other hand, involves no payment to the media. There is no guarantee of placement and the information is not prepared by the company. With public relations, a company provides the media with information about a news event or feature story, and it is up to the media to determine coverage. In other words, the media decides what to cover, how to tell the story, and when to tell the story.

While PR involves no guarantee of placement, it is much more cost effective than advertising. For the same 1/4 page in a major daily newspaper, for example, a company would spend an average of $15,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the contract. Coverage in broadcast media would cost even more if secured through advertising. For example, a 30 second spot on a top-ranked network television show can cost upwards of $250,000.

Even more important than the cost factor is the credibility factor. When your audience sees an article about your company in a newspaper, the story carries the credibility that comes with news published in a newspaper. People believe that if the company is being written about, it is credible. On the other hand, when people see an advertisement about that company in the same newspaper, they know that the company paid for the advertisement and this reduces the credibility factor.

How can Jazzmyne PR help with a company’s advertising needs?
If you have a budget for both advertising and public relations, Jazzmyne PR has working relationships with key advertising agencies having expertise in online and offline campaigns. We can assist you in integrating the messages so that your audience is reached most effectively.

How do companies benefit from public relations?
By implementing a PR campaign, you commit time and energy to winning the attention of the media. The results can dramatically increase sales, enhance corporate positioning and create higher visibility with current and future investors.

How do companies determine if an investment in PR makes sense?
Consider a PR campaign if you have any of the following goals: a desire to enhance your image, increase sales, attract investment dollars, secure business partners, launch a Web site, drive traffic to a Web site, promote a film project, expand your reach in the global arena, and generally increase your impact in the marketplace.

What makes a successful PR campaign?
A successful PR campaign requires the following: commitment, time, creative energy, and a focus on the long-term. To achieve results with PR requires the ability to convince the media of the newsworthiness of your company, providing the media with information and materials they need to tell your story, and persistent follow-up to confirm media interest and provide last minute pieces of information for people who are always on a deadline. In short, it’s about relationship building and getting to know the media and their needs. We at Jazzmyne PR know what it takes to build and keep these relationships. The payoff for a successful PR campaign, requiring continual contacts with the media including phone calls, faxes, and e-mails, can be tremendous, as millions of potential customers learn the benefits of what your company has to offer, from a source they trust, at a substantial savings over paid advertising. At Jazzmyne PR, each communication with a journalist is treated with care, as we express our excitement about your latest news.

The following is some inside information about the workings of the media.

How is story content and placement determined?
While a good publicist can help a reporter to define a story and can spot and hopefully correct misconceptions that he or she may have, the media outlet has final control over the scope, length, and content of the story. The reporter will have some control, preparing the story based on the facts given. However, it should be noted that reporters typically don’t write their own headlines, and often their stories are heavily edited before being published or aired.

Good public relations is no guarantee of getting on “page one.” Remember, there are no guarantees about placement in the news, or even that the story will appear. Guarantees are given only with paid advertising, and that doesn’t have the credibility of positive publicity.

How do local, national and world events impact the pick-up of a press release?
Even if you have a dynamite story, it is always at the mercy of the day’s events. For example, if you announce a new product or service on the same day that a major civil crisis occurs, coverage could be affected.

At the same time, knowing about developments in the news can assist you in maximizing media interest and attention. For example, if a celebrity creating major headlines one week is also connected with your event or launch, you could gain added publicity. Another example is a new book about breast cancer being promoted during a national breast cancer awareness week.

What is the difference between breaking news and feature stories?

Information is used by the media in two basic forms – news and features. News is an event or announcement of information happening TODAY, such as an event with a celebrity speaker. An event which happened last week would be old news and therefore of no interest to the media as a news item. Features, on the other hand, relate more to trends and discussions of topics – like new techniques in e-commerce or trends in health care. Features are of more interest to the media when tied to a particularly timely topic. For example, the feature about your new Web site offering dental health advice will be of more interest to media sent out during dental awareness week. This gives the media a “news peg” and a reason to run the story now.

Even with such “news pegs,” however, there is NO Guarantee the media will show up at your “news event” or cover news simply because you sent a press release. Even when the media agree to cover a story such as yours, they may at the last moment change their priorities and cover other stories instead. Another possible scenario is that the media may attend your event and speak with you, write a story and then find that the story “gets bumped” by news editors who allot the space to another story.

What kind of information do the media want?
Regardless of whether you are providing information for a news or feature story, the media in each case want to know:

Who – you/your company
What – what about it is newsworthy
When – when is it happening
Where – the location where it is happening
Why – why is it happening/why there is a need for it
How – how it is being achieved/carried out
Background – some background information/historical perspective of the news

How do you prepare for TV and radio interviews?
Journalists in the broadcast media will want the same kind of informative background as noted above. In addition, there are visuals to consider. Broadcast media will need something visual to illustrate your story. It will be important to dress appropriately. A basic rule of dress code for TV interviews is to avoid wearing clothing or other accessories that will detract from what you have to say. Stark contrasts of black and white or severe plaids can create strange problems on the TV screen, such as a fuzzy, wavy pattern. Heavy jewelry can reflect light or make distracting clinking sounds.

To make sure you are prepared for a TV interview, know that indoor shots will require the crew to light the room with professional equipment. Before a TV crew arrives for an indoor location, know where the electrical outlets are, particularly three-pronged outlets, and know where the building’s fuse box is, in case the lights blow out the fuses. If the location is outdoors for radio or TV, try to pick a place for the interview where the noise of passing traffic and/or aircraft overhead will be minimal.

During the interview, look at the interviewer (not the camera) and use the reporter’s first name. Remember to use the name of your company in your sentences. Smile and be positive, even if the questions aren’t positive. Do try to answer direct questions with direct answers.

What are some general interview preparation tips?
In advance of a media interview, there are several things you can do to be fully prepared. Do be sure to have the latest data on your company at your fingertips e.g. the company fact sheet. Sometimes it’s possible to gather preliminary questions from a reporter. By asking the reporter for five to 10 sample questions, you are able to understand the issues to be discussed and better prepare responses in advance. Remember to dress appropriately, especially if it’s a TV interview. Try to anticipate negative angles on a story in advance, and decide how to turn negatives into positives. Don’t assume you can answer all questions extemporaneously. Come prepared with written materials you can refer to during an interview. It’s important to try and develop some rapport with the reporter at the start of the interview. Remember to include the name of your company and your Web site in your responses.

What are your rights as the interviewee?
You as an interviewee have rights. These include knowing with whom you’re dealing (ask the reporter’s name), knowing what type of story they are planning, and being treated courteously.

What can I tell a journalist in confidence that it’s “off the record?”
Whatever you say, be sure it’s true. And no matter what, remember that everything you say is on the record. Know that brevity is a virtue. Therefore, think before you speak. And, if you don’t know the answer to a question, remember that “I don’t know” is not a guilty plea. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t try to make up something that could be inaccurate. Simply admit that you don’t know and offer to find out the answer.

What else can be expected when interacting with journalists?
Never ask a reporter to show you a story before it’s published. If you have an interview or request for a call back with a journalist, do respect the appointment time and the journalist’s deadlines.

What can be expected after the interview takes place?
If it’s a TV interview, stay where you are until you are told that you are off the air. Thank the interviewer and crew for making the interview possible. Don’t stride away from the location immediately, as the crew may need some final shots.

In general, know that it’s nearly impossible (99.9 percent of the time) to kill a story you don’t like. That’s why it’s important to learn how to handle a potentially damaging story so that you can defuse criticism and respond in a manner that demonstrates an appropriate level of concern, action, and openness. If the story is wrong, it’s best to contact the reporter (not his/her boss). Then, if there is no satisfaction, speak with the reporter’s editor. Going to the publisher is not only ineffective, but also will get the reporter angry. Remember, the reporter always has the last word – you don’t want a reporter bearing grudges. That also applies to reporters of weeklies and smaller dailies- you never know where a reporter might work in the future e.g. at the Los Angeles Times or New York Times.

Find out the reporter’s deadline, for he/she may be contacting you for more information and you will want to respond in a timely manner. Editors take their deadlines seriously, and if not met, the story may not run at all. You can ask when the reporter thinks the story will appear/be broadcast. However, keep in mind that reporters cannot control when a story runs, nor where (e.g. the reporter can’t tell the editor to run it on page one). Also, note that in print journalism, it is typically an editor (not the reporter) who writes the headline for the story. So don’t blame the reporter for a headline you don’t like. Length is another thing you can’t control after an interview, for a reporter may write a three-page feature and his/her editor may later cut it to a one-page item. In trend pieces involving the mention of more than one company, this sometimes means that when the story is cut, the reference to your company is also cut.

How do you know when coverage will appear?
We work with news monitoring services which provide regular reporting and copies of news clippings. Typically, there is about a three-week lag time between the time the news appears and when the agency receives it. For optimal tracking, the agency provides the monitoring service with copies of press releases and advises when interviews occur.

What are some typical lead times for media?
Lead times vary depending upon the type of publication and frequency of publication. For example, the lead time could be from one to five days for most stories being prepared for online publications and daily newspapers. Even in those media, however, some stories may be planned weeks in advance, perhaps in conjunction with a trade show or other special event.

Broadcast media such as radio and television rarely commit to coverage of a story much before the day of the news. The airing could either be live, airing that day, or could be taped for airing at a future date.

Lead times for magazines can be up to six months. This means that if your story relates to the holiday season and you want to be included in a Good Housekeeping gift giving article, for example, the story would be developed in the first half of the year.

What are the optimal times to release news?
Typically, breaking news is best received when released early in the week. Exceptions to this include the Mondays of a holiday weekend, and days when other major news is expected to be announced. Usually news is disseminated at 8 a.m. Eastern U.S. time, allowing journalists on both coasts timely access to the information.

What is the timeframe for announcing a new Web site?
Make sure that your new Web site is up and running and completely functional before inviting the media to see and review your site. If media are invited to a site that doesn’t work, directories may refuse to link to you and pundits will make fun of you. Note that you can have a site up and running for a year or more before having an official launch promotion. So make sure you have all the bugs worked out and that links work and the home page loads quickly before inviting the media.

When do you recommend a press conference?
In general, press conferences are advised only when there is a very significant news development. Most media prefer to obtain their news outside of the press conference environment. The press conference has become a dinosaur along with mass mailings of press kits in this information age. If you must do a press conference, note that for best attendance, include celebrities and/or a tie-in to something else in the news that day.

How about press kits and mass mailings?
As noted above, mass mailings of press kits are a thing of the past. Press releases are still sent in mass mailings, but distribution usually also includes faxing and e-mail. Some journalists state their preference of receiving all correspondence by e-mail. Press kits are provided to selected media by mail, and are made available to larger numbers of media at trade shows and special events. A growing number of media are requesting press kits in electronic format.

At Jazzmyne PR, we take the time to keep up-to-date with journalist preferences, providing them with the information the format they prefer.

What are the benefits of a media tour?
An important component of Internet and entertainment publicity is the media tour. There are primarily two forms of these tours: satellite media tours and a key-city tour to meet one-on-one with key journalists in the major markets. For an interactive campaign, the major markets of the key-city tour include New York and San Francisco. When you participate in a media tour, you are introduced to key media who cover your industry. As a result of their meetings with you and our follow-up, these journalists are more likely to include you in their stories. The opportunity to build a one-on-one relationship is a key factor here. So many journalists in this information age spend their days in front of computers, often interacting with most sources by phone and e-mail. It is helpful to them, and of course to you, to obtain in-person time with you as a trend-setter in your industry.

How are trade shows a part of the PR campaign?
If your company has the budget to exhibit at trade shows, we will work with you to maximize the publicity value. Exhibiting at the key shows relevant to your industry is an excellent vehicle for positive exposure and growth of your company.

If your budget does not include trade show exhibits, there are still ways to participate. We will work with you to determine your participation in key media events as well as speaking on panels at the trade shows and conferences. Our experience indicates that conferences typically select panelists between 4 and 6 months ahead. Therefore, advance planning is required.

We have substantial expertise with the key media events connected with entertainment industry trade shows. Participating in these events is an excellent way to arrange face-to-face time with key media. It is part of your relationship building with the press. Once the media has seen you at an event or two, you have a much better chance of being included in roundup stories and in obtaining interviews with the press. The cost to participate is a fraction of what you would spend to exhibit, and you know you will receive the attention of first-tier media who are drawn to these events. The main purpose of attending is to spend quality time with A-list media and analysts who cover the entertainment industry. Between 200 and 550 journalists attend each event, which includes a full buffet and open bar.

How do you know when the media is preparing a story about a given industry?
We subscribe to the Profnet service, which allows real-time knowledge of what stories are being prepared by the media. With this information in hand, we contact the journalist preparing the story, suggesting an interview with our client.

How does a PR agency know that the media received a press release?
At Jazzmyne PR we use comprehensive phone and e-mail follow-up after each release goes out. Other tools include NEWSdesk, a Web-based news release distribution and tracking service. By utilizing this service, we know which journalists and industry analysts have viewed your press releases.


What makes something newsworthy?
Your news must either inform, educate, or entertain and must also be timely. For each story you plan to announce, ask yourself why readers, listeners, or viewers would be interested in it right now.

Some good questions to ask to determine a topic’s newsworthiness include:
How is it different or innovative?
How will it impact the industry?
What will be the impact on the local economy?
Is it something that has never been tried or offered before?
If it’s not something totally new, what is different about your approach?
How does it tie in with current developments in the news?
Is there any tie in with industry trends or with a season or holiday?