How a Client Gets in the New York Times: Case Study, Joe Cornell

On the heels of my last blog, I want to examine why and how Joe Cornell Entertainment got into the New York Times

This ultimate of exposure does not happen overnight. Joe Cornell as a company has diversified programs and products, and has long had interesting, meaningful, human interest stories to tell. Plus it’s a company led by risk-takers, people who take chances and let the outcome evolve as it will.

First, the company has been owned by brother-sister team Steve Jasgur and Becca Schlussel since the early 1990s. They took an existing good product and spun it to out-of-control amazing, improving upon an already-successful tween dance program and spinning it to speak to several different market needs: lessons on etiquette, social interaction and manners in a society where anything goes.

They took a successful DJ company and amplified that success with a quality product, attention to detail and employees who exemplify the style and dignity their brand stands for. 

Then, they built. They created a new company, Joe Cornell Weddings, to focus on affordable wedding entertainment. They created a party planning EXPO ten years ago and expanded it every year to grow bigger. They created a magazine of party planning tips to distribute freely to local businesses and vendors.

And now they are expanding into schools, modifying their dance program to meet the needs of International Baccalaureate curricula.

They are entrepreneurs who understand the need to grow, to creative, to innovate.

Steve and Becca came to me in 2008, and hired me to do PR and help with marketing. Their retainer has never been a hefty one because they are the best kind of clients: co-creators in a team effort to promote their business.

We’ve brainstormed on marketing and public relations, and a lot of things we’ve tried have worked. Some haven’t. (Or we thought they didn’t – only to see many months later the fruits of our labor.)

We’ve built a relationship of mutual respect and talent so that at this point, I consider them to be friends as well as clients. 

They are the kind of local business that deserves to make it into the New York Times. They are a great example of earnest entrepreneurship and serving a community, from the heart.

When a renowned reporter like Bruce Feiler combs the country for examples for a story he wants to write, a local company like Joe Cornell offers the perfect mix of creativity and humility that he wants from the middle of the country. And they are articulate enough to handle the interview and photo shoot in one fell swoop.

I didn’t have to do anything to make this great exposure happen. We laid the groundwork, together, over the course of the last four years. Widespread PR comes from dedicated effort and putting in the time – along with the knowledge that nothing deserved like this comes overnight.

Clients come to me all the time and say, “Get me attention! I want Good Morning America! I want Anderson Cooper! I want I want I want.”

The thing is – great companies are built with time, patience and effort. As are great stories. I can get GMA, Anderson and the like – but I promise it won’t be our first stop. We have to corral your wonderful stories, find what is inspiring and different and unique about what you do, and then tell it to the world in the way they want to hear it.

Sometimes they’ll bite on the first attempt. Sometimes they won’t bite for a year. 

But great stories always get told. And great business owners know that success is a marathon, not a race, usually with the support of a team cheering you on.

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