Cybersecurity startups tend to devote more time to R&D than marketing. Which makes sense. But at a certain point, marketing has to be part of the picture.
Whether you’re seeking funding, targeting customers, or expanding your story to new audiences, you’ll need to tell a powerful story that stands out in the increasingly crowded cybersecurity industry.
And unless you already have that tight-knit network and access to funding, like many Israeli companies do, marketing and PR can be your ticket to awareness, funding, and revenue.
How can a newcomer break into the space and stand out among the competition? What kind of marketing strategy will get you there?
Here are four factors cybersecurity companies should consider in their marketing and PR program. Developing a strategy around each can help both startups and established companies stand out.
Walk through any cybersecurity conference and it can start to seem like every company is doing the same thing. The booths, the messaging, the products all start to blend together.
Stand out by focusing your audience and drilling into its specific challenges. Listen carefully when you talk to customers, then use their own words to express their problems in your content. Don’t just sell your product and its features, but instead focus on the impact it has in solving your customers’ challenges.
Apart from better storytelling, another way to stand out is to do something different. Observe IT’s booth at Black Hat last year and RSAC this year was designed like a house from the 80s, complete with blocky computers, a boombox, and a model of a DeLorean hanging above it. This booth caught a lot of attention just by being completely different from every other booth at these shows.
How do you stand out a crowded cybersec trade show? Create a booth that is very unique. Nicely done capturing my childhood basement. #retro #throwback @ObserveIT #blackhatusa2018 pic.twitter.com/cqhkcJwJq2
— Mike Lizun (@MikeLizun) August 9, 2018
You might meet reporters at trade shows or through an introduction from your PR team. But just because you’ve shaken hands and told them your story doesn’t mean they’ll cover your company.
The companies that succeed think about the long game and are focused on being a resource for reporters. Don’t just show up in their inbox when you need coverage for your next product launch or research report. Start an ongoing conversation with journalists. Build a relationship. Help them out by sharing useful information. That’s how you become a reporter’s go-to expert.
Talk to reporters! build relationships with them, don’t sell them right away that you are an expert, let them figure it out. Have conversations that aren’t ultimately rooted in trying to get yourself placed in the news
— Greg Otto (@gregotto) November 30, 2018
Reporters are bombarded with surveys and reports. You can break through the noise in two ways: Give them first-hand insights they can’t get anywhere else, like server logs or data on the real-world impact of a threat. What can you draw from your own network or monitoring tools? Find new or small yet emerging vulnerabilities and threats. New threats are always the most interesting to media.
New research released by security companies @Rapid7 and @PwnieExpress paints an unsettling picture for the health-care industry, @D_Hawk reports in today’s Cybersecurity 202: https://t.co/3xZYIYxpK9 — Sara Sorcher (@SaraSorcher) May 16, 2018
Give them statistically significant surveys with at least 900-1,000 respondents. With anything less than that, media are less likely to take the results seriously. Another tactic to consider: How can you make your surveys more predictive and less of a look back?
4) News cycles.
Keep an eye on what types of stories are dominating the news cycles, both for top-tier outlets and trade publications. If you can jump on a breaking story through newsjacking or anticipate a focus, like election hacking in 2020, you can improve your chances of coverage by helping the media tell the stories they’re focused on.
How to get started
Whether you’re a startup or an established company, it’s tough to stand out. A lot of companies struggle to define their audience or craft stories that connect with that audience.
If you need help upleveling your PR and content or finding ways to stand out from the crowd, we can craft a plan that’ll help you break through the noise.
Get in touch and let’s talk through your PR program.