Global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion by 2021. The sector’s accelerated growth, however, makes it hard for companies to stand out. That means cybersecurity PR pros must be savvy, creative and tactical to ensure their companies are noticed by target audiences.
In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month here are six ways to help providers stand out in the cybersecurity space.
Understand how you fit into the big picture
Like ad tech, cybersecurity is a crowded and highly segmented market full of vendors, services and enough acronyms to make your head spin. Knowing where a company fits into the ecosystem is essential to differentiation. Beyond the umbrella of cybersecurity, PR pros need to adopt a granular understanding of their focus and expertise. Are the company’s offerings geared toward consumers through products like antivirus and firewall solutions, or toward business and enterprise via security information and event management (SIEM) software suites? Does it excel in enterprise data security for the private sector or are government contracts the goal? The answers to these questions will dictate strategy and help PR specialists discern what storylines can achieve the visibility they need.
React to breaking news
PR teams must be tuned into what’s happening in the cybersecurity space every day. Sometimes there’s only a four-hour window to jump on a breaking story, so we need to be ready. From massive breaches and ransomware attacks, to election security issues and data privacy concerns, the sheer volume of stories makes news monitoring essential. Cybersecurity PR professionals should be following key contacts on social media, as well as subscribing to major newsletters like Politico’s Morning Cybersecurity or the Washington Post’s Cybersecurity 202.
But, pick your battles
It’s self-defeating to hurl yourself at every story, however. PR teams should recognize that it’s impossible to be included in every type of news and should keep a fairly tight focus when offering subject-matter experts for comment. When it comes to reactive commentary, we base outreach on company specialty and the nature of the news. For example, a company specializing in enterprise IT security probably has no place commenting on data privacy surrounding government contact tracing. The pool of cybersecurity reporters is relatively finite, so PR pros should pick and choose the most relevant trending story and offer their source only to the most appropriate reporters to maximize return-on-effort.
Know your media targets
Cybersecurity PR pros must be savvy enough to understand the nuances of media targets’ disciplines within the cybersecurity space. For example, there are multiple contacts at The Wall Street Journal that cover cybersecurity. Approaching any one of them without understanding what they cover will ensure your pitch is ignored. Study up. Follow key reporters on social media, read the trades and learn the differences between contacts that cover breaking data breaches or ransomware attacks and those that cover IT security management policies or white hacks and research reports. PRs who are aware of these differences will be more precise in their outreach efforts and maximize the potential for media visibility.
In an industry as crowded as cybersecurity, we are often competing against hundreds, if not thousands, of other brands and executives for thought leadership space. At times it’ll be more difficult to garner coverage depending on the story being told. But thanks to how many industries are affected by general cybersecurity issues, PR teams may gain advantage by diversifying their coverage options based on vertical sectors. These sectors may range from education, government and energy to financial services, healthcare and insurance. If an industry depends on the Internet to operate, it will undoubtedly face cybersecurity challenges. Attacking industry trade publications creates more coverage opportunities and allows PR pros to position their company in an outlet that can yield visibility among a new audience segment and even create a customer lead-gen opportunity down the line.
Use research and data to cut through the noise
Data and research can be highly effective for creating visibility for a cybersecurity brand, especially in a crowded category like antivirus and encryption software. Since there are hundreds of vendors in this segment vying for market share, the odds can be stacked against us from a media perspective. By either leveraging a company’s own research team or commissioning and white-labeling research from a third-party vendor, PR teams can gain an edge over competing brands in the battle for media mindshare. Cybersecurity reporting is inherently data-centric, which makes media in the space comparatively more primed to cover emerging industry research. Successful promotion of a report on a trending industry topic can result in high-impact coverage at scale and a big boost in brand visibility for the cybersecurity companies.