If you’re not getting the media coverage you want and you’re struggling to get the attention of top reporters, it’s time to rethink your media relations strategy.
Where do you start? How about by asking cybersecurity reporters what they’re looking for?
This year, we placed our cybersecurity clients in 900 stories, from CNN to Fox News, from Fortune to Dark Reading. And one of the reasons we’ve been so successful is that we talk to the media about what they want to see.
We asked some of the most prominent cybersecurity journalists, editors, and analysts about what they look for and how to get on their radar. Here are their answers, which hold the keys to more and better media coverage.
I think a good story in general has twists and turns, like you expected one thing to happen, but then something else happens entirely differently, and throws you off. And I’m looking for stories like that, which have at least one big turn or twist, and two would be even better, right? So if you’re trying to accomplish one thing, but something else happens instead, and it puts you on a new course — that’s a twist, and that’s what I’m looking for.
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Oof. I read, listen to, and otherwise consume a lot of messaging around products and services, so this is a bit of a sore spot for me.
A few of my colleagues at Forrester recently released in-depth research on trust called The Trust Imperative. This research digs into what trust is, explains how it moves between groups, and what that means for businesses. I recommend this report to everyone, as I find it to be a critical piece for understanding how to structure messaging to your audience.
This is a long way of saying that the biggest mistakes cybersecurity companies make in their messaging is their lack of authenticity. There is a yearning by practitioners for a vendor to explain exactly what their product can and cannot do, what the value actually is, and what it would mean for their team to deploy and maintain that product. Companies that can do this with integrity and respect for the practitioners they serve are rare, which is one of the reasons cybersecurity is often considered a “buzzword bingo” industry.
Never use the word “solution” in a press release. It’s not a solution, it’s a product or service. Journalists hate jargon and we really hate press releases that we can’t understand or don’t get straight to the point.
Also, never say that your product is “hacker proof.” People won’t take you seriously and you’re putting a target on your back. That said, over the top, cheesy marketing is bad, too. Remember Norse? The plastic Viking helmet I picked up at the crazy Black Hat party years ago has outlasted the company itself.
They often come from well-known or respected industry leaders who have a strong opinion or perspective on a topic in their wheelhouse.
Well, as a journalist that is often on tight deadlines, it’s always fantastic when sources are able to connect quickly and give concise but detailed insight for a story. Cybersecurity can be one of the more complex beats to cover, and so it’s also wonderful when a source is able to explain an issue in a way that most readers can understand and also find informative.
More than anything, cybersecurity trade readers will likely have more technical knowledge than your average mainstream business reader so are not scared by a technical story, quite the opposite in fact. I find trade wants interesting, challenging, and technical stories above all else.
Now that you’ve heard what reporters are looking for, how will you adjust your messaging, your outreach, your strategy? We work with cybersecurity companies from startups to enterprises looking to refresh their messaging, refine their content and social media, and expand their media coverage. Learn more about how we can take your media relations to the next level.
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