By Ella Thompson, Senior Account Director
Since the birth of the internet, cybersecurity has been a growing concern for businesses around the world. The number of cyberattacks has steadily grown year-on-year and experts predict it will carry on this way for the foreseeable future. In addition, cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated – they can find the smallest weakness in a network and exploit it without the company even knowing.
But it’s not all bad news. There has been a boom in the cybersecurity industry and companies reinforcing their cyber defences. Reports suggest that the UK cybersecurity industry is growing at a rate of over 20% a year with the global market projected to reach $258bn by 2025. With such a competitive landscape – how can cyber companies stand out from the crowd?
One of the best ways is to invest in cybersecurity PR. This helps increase brand awareness, showcase expertise and drive leads. But with such a crowded marketplace, how do you stand out from the rest?
Here are my three tips for developing an effective PR campaign in cybersecurity:
Understand your audience
The first thing you need to do when considering PR is to understand your audience and who you’re trying to influence. In the past, cybersecurity was not considered a board issue, it was left up to the IT director or manager to control. But with the ever-growing threat to companies and the risk of hefty fines from regulation such as GDPR, it has now become a top priority for the C-Suite.
There are now multiple decision-makers involved in cyber security strategy and purchasing decisions, so you need to create messages that suit each audience. Messaging that resonates with IT leaders isn’t going to have the same impact with the C-Suite. Your IT audience will be able to understand the technical jargon, whereas the C-Suite will be looking at the overall importance to the business and how it impacts the bottom line.
Once you understand your audience, you can then identify the target media you need to engage with to reach them. For example, while tech and cybersecurity titles may be best for your IT decision-makers, you may want to consider broader business and national titles for business leaders, adjusting your messaging (and tactics) to ensure the content engages and resonates with the right pain points for that audience.
Define your PR strategy
Cybersecurity dominates the media headlines; whether that’s a company experiencing a breach or another receiving a fine for misuse of sensitive data – there’s rarely a week that goes by without some form of cyber attack in the news. When appointing a PR agency you need to know that they have the right relationships with the media so that they can get you to the front of the queue when journalists are looking for experts to comment. Speed is key when reacting to breaking news, but some groundwork needs to be done so you can make the most of this PR opportunity when it comes about. This could be through building the profile of your spokesperson with the media so that journalists think of you when an opportunity to comment comes up or having the views of your subject matter experts documented to help with drafting comments.
As well as developing a process for reacting to breaking news stories, you also need to consider your proactive PR strategy. Ensuring the agency truly understands your business objectives will be critical in defining a compelling content strategy, storylines and PR programme that will resonate with your target audiences. It’s also important to identify which areas of the industry you want to target and have a voice in. Then you need to ensure that you are creating content with intent in these areas to establish yourself as an expert.
Finally, there is a lot of noise in the cybersecurity industry. Most industry players are saying similar things and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. It pays to be bold with your statements; just because 90% of cybersecurity professionals are saying the same thing doesn’t mean that you should follow. By developing an alternative perspective on an issue, challenging misconceptions or making predictive or bold soundbites, you can stand out in the media and increase your awareness. The important thing here is that your PR agency should be able to help you find your niche; balancing your messaging and objectives with what your audiences (and the media) need to hear.
If you’d like to hear more about our approach to cybersecurity PR or how we’ve helped similar clients, then please get in touch.