The Matchbox.

Sep. 27

Getting In Over Your PR Skis

I know, it’s a mixed methaphor. But here’s the point. While it may seem advantageous to jumpin on the hottest media trend (think DEI or AI) to garner media coverage, trying to force fit an organization into a topic that the company’s products or solutions have little to do with can be fruitless. 

Tech B2B companies may face skepticism when attempting to align their products’ PR with media trends. This doubt arises from concerns that companies are simply jumping on the bandwagon to appear socially responsible or hanging their hat on the next big tech wave without genuinely embracing or offering it. 

Marketing and support may be able to provide a forum to address these topics as industry contributors but offering up a news story idea where there is little tie may result in being misrepresented in earned coverage or left out altogether despite the best efforts and intentions of the team. 

In the digital age, the old adage of all PR is good PR no longer rings true. Meaningful, well-placed coverage isn’t contrived.

Posted by ::

Aug. 09

Y&A Spark: New Client; EdTech Award Wins and Avoiding Contrived PR

There’s a lot to celebrate in our recent issue of the Spark Newsletter. Y&A welcomes a new client and congratulates edtech clients for their achievements in the industry. Also, read Principal Jennifer MacLeid Qotb’s “Two Cents” on maintaining genuine messaging amidst pressure to connect with the newest PR trends.

Posted by ::

Jun. 27

Taking Advantage of Midsummer PR Planning

While midsummer can be slow, it is often a time when companies gear up for their Q4 plans to close out the year strong. Here are a few ways to keep the media relations momentum in step with end-of-year planning.

What’s Ahead – Work closely with your customer success team to determine what newsworthy projects clients have coming up for the fall. For example, a client that has just finished a successful implementation may be able to comment on its experience. 

Brainstorm – Take the time to brainstorm thought leadership topic opportunities and develop content for trade publications like “Letters to the Editor.”

Celebrate Media Wins – Spotlight client media coverage garnered to keep brands top of mind and in the news as leading industry experts.

Using the summertime to focus on these opportunities will help set your business up for a robust end-of-year finish. These create a solid brand awareness and recognition foundation, bolstering your Q4 campaigns.

Posted by ::

May. 17

Avoiding a Brand Identity Crisis

As tech business and consumer buying patterns shift based on market trends, new innovations, and general fluctuations, it can be easy to fall into the trap of shifting the core identity messaging to capitalize on those patterns.

Often sales leaders rely on marketing and PR to lead that charge with new announcements directed at reaching buyers with a new flashy solution. This may seem like a great idea to reach a captivated audience in the short term, but long-term, making repeated changes to the core company identity and offerings, e.g, who you are, can be detrimental, leading confused buyers, investors, media, analysts, and partners to question the stability of the organization and its leadership. 

Trying too hard to be the next big thing in an often-crowded market is certainly appealing but taking stock in the very reasons your current customers have stuck with you, and why new customers have joined the ranks, is critical before making any sweeping changes. Certainly, companies can and should innovate in order to flourish in a hyper-competitive landscape but taking time to determine market positioning and involving key executive stakeholders will avoid possible impulsive moves.

Posted by ::

Apr. 05

Friend or Foe: ChatGPT and PR

There’s been a lot of hand wringing since the launch of ChatGPT/AI-authoring tools for PR and marketing pros. Fear quickly bubbled to the surface that entire professions would be eliminated or at the very last downsized. Even some of our own clients have suggested “just plug it into ChatGPT.” Well, thank heavens it isn’t that simple. And no one’s work should sound like a high-schooler’s essay.

But ChatGPT isn’t all bad, and for the savvy, smart PR and marketing pros, it can be used for good. 

Inspiration Vehicle: We all get stuck from time-to-time and ChatGPT can often be a good creativity or inspiration booster giving content strategists and writers a thread to pull on. 

Research Assistant: Working for an agency, we are exposed to new markets and technology solutions almost weekly. ChatGPT is a great resource to grasp the basics, just be careful you also use other resources as well. 

Pitch Support: Media database tools have improved greatly but incorporating ChatGPT and Bing into those efforts has yielded new reporters to connect with 

AI is evolving at a lightning speed pace but embracing the technology to support your PR and content efforts can be a helpful productivity boost while also recognizing there are both nuanced limitations and ethical concerns. 

Posted by ::

Feb. 22

Empower PR for Rapid Response Opportunities – Don’t Overthink It

In today’s 24/7 media cycle, the lead news changes quick – often multiple times a day. With mainstream news, we have become accustomed to and expect the constant shifting focus. And while the pace of B2B media is not quite as dizzying, it is still fast, particularly with a hot business topic.

We can count on some B2B topics that will live on seemingly forever (an adtech case in point – the demise of third-party cookies) but there are increasing opportunities to capitalize on breaking news or trends with rapid response media commentary. And it often requires added work on the part of the PR team and the subject matter expert to quickly leverage the opportunity.

The PR team can’t work in a vacuum, however. Talk about hot and controversial industry topics on regular catch-up calls or include them in internal discussions on pressing issues with your SMEs. That way the company’s tone and tenor on industry issues is clear. When you see relevant stories, share them. The more eyes and more shares the better. Taking advantage of these opportunities requires swift, decisive action, so don’t over process it – and don’t be afraid to take a contrarian point of view.

Posted by ::

Jan. 18

Four PR Trends to Implement in 2023

2022 was a pivotal year for communications pros as the industry faced ongoing challenges for engaging with media and clients in a hybrid world. Going into 2023, new challenges and opportunities will undoubtedly exist. As the business landscape evolves, here are four PR trends to keep tabs on as you plan campaigns for the new year: 

  1. Be Transparent: Moving into 2023, people are ready for fewer surprises and more transparency. It’s always best to lead with honesty and clarity – from working with clients and media to your internal staff. 

  2. Lean into the Social Universe: Social media will continue to serve as another channel to increase brand recognition and thought leadership, so ensure it’s included in your overall communications plan. It isn’t a set it and forget it effort either. Corporate and executive social media management requires regular, daily touchpoints to be effective and engaging.  

  3. Keep It Personal: This isn’t a new trend, but it’s even more imperative as we continue to work remotely or hybrid where it’s more difficult to reach reporters and influencers. Do your homework – personalize outreach to fit the reporter’s beat and reference their previous articles. 

  4. Make DEI Paramount: Don’t forget to build diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into your 2023 PR strategy. DEI will continue to be a critical part of most companies’ long-term priorities, so incorporate it into the PR program.
Posted by ::

Nov. 11

Looking Ahead in EdTech: EDUCAUSE 2022 Wrap Up

In late October, the entire Y&A team had a chance to meet-up in Denver to attend the annual EDUCAUSE conference, the largest community gathering of IT technology, academic, industry and campus leaders advancing higher education through technology.

At the conference, we visited with past, present and future edtech clients and spoke to several industry leaders about the future of higher education and the critical role technology continues to play. We enjoyed listening to our client Anthology present at the interactive poster session in the exhibit hall and visiting with them in their marquee booth.

As 2023 fast approaches, we are excited to help all of our EdTech clients further communicate their vision for the future of higher education.

Posted by ::

Oct. 28

Y&A Wins Three MarCom Awards

We are thrilled to announce Y&A was recently recognized by the prestigious Marcom Awards for excellence in marketing and communications for client campaigns and placements. Achieving a platinum and gold award as well as an honorable mention, we were up against stiff competition from the 6,500+ entry applications submitted. MarCom Awards are given to those who have excelled in the field of communications via their ingenuity and hard work.

Here’s a snapshot of the award wins and associated campaigns/media placements for our clients UncommonX, Keynova Group and Anthology/Blackboard:

– Platinum Award in Strategic Communications – UncommonX – State of Cybersecurity for Midsize Organizations study which engaged senior members of IT departments from small to medium businesses across a variety of industries in which Y&A spearheaded the research campaign and garnered editorial coverage in several key cybersecurity trades and mainstream business media.
– Gold award for a Magazine Placement – Keynova gives Bank of America high marks for online banking in American Banker.
– Honorable mention for Online Placement – Blackboard to Merge With Anthology in $3 Billion EdTech Deal in Bloomberg.

These awards highlight the PR prowess and creativity of the Y&A team and our commitment to creating engaging work that keeps our clients at the forefront of industry conversations.

Posted by ::

Sep. 20

Want to amplify your brand on LinkedIn? Enlist your employees’ help

Social media is critical to consumer purchase decisions. Even though my kids joke about my use of “Mombook”, I do use Facebook to find and remind me about events, products and services. And in the B2B landscape, LinkedIn is the place to go to review the companies and people, products and services we choose to do business with.

As more B2B companies look to amplify their brand visibility on LinkedIn, company employees can be another PR channel and cheer section. So, make sure to keep your LinkedIn presence fresh and inspire the entire company to spread the word. This can be done by alerting employees to corporate social posts and/or news and/or providing template post copy for them. It also helps to provide a guide or handbook – with appropriate do’s, don’ts and disclaimers – to how you’d like them to help amplify your brand. Done well, this dedicated effort can result in more followers and increased social engagement but also a more engaged, positive work culture.

Posted by ::