“Do I need a public relations agency?”
This is a search query that many of you have probably typed into Google before. In San Francisco alone, it’s searched more than 10,000 times per month. While public relations and marketing seem taboo to some cybersecurity companies, there are true benefits to adding these strategies to your business plan. Below we’ve listed out why people to think they don’t need PR or marketing. Let’s see if you’re really getting the reach and coverage you deserve.
1. “We can’t talk about our clients.”
We hear this a lot from cybersecurity companies. It makes sense that a company wouldn’t want to make itself vulnerable by revealing its defenses, but there are forms of thought leadership and public relations for cybersecurity companies that allow for discretion.
For example, Attivo Networks offers deception technology that tricks hackers into engaging with fake information assets that look just like a company’s real network, but instead protects the company’s assets and alerts the security team to the intruder. At one of the premier cybersecurity industry conferences, the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) conference, Attivo sponsored a “capture the flag” event that tested information security professionals to see if they could identify the decoy or real network.
Interactive demos are a great way to engage your audience while protecting client privacy. Other options include anonymous case studies, contributed articles, awards programs, speaking engagements and many more.
2. “We already do social.”
Posting on social media, even regularly, isn’t enough anymore. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have become pay-to-play platforms where advertisers are expected to do a lot more than just post two to three times per week. It’s important to have a presence but to truly derive value from social media, you need to make sure you are delivering relevant content to the right people. Have you defined your audience and examined your followers to see if they match up?
If you’re sharing industry and company news with the wrong audience, you’re wasting both your time and theirs. Social media posting must be strategic, add value and work in harmony as one part of a larger, integrated campaign that includes thought leadership, content marketing and media relations.
3. “We need to focus on lead generation.”
When done well, content marketing can be the ultimate lead funnel. It should be a part of any quality public relations and marketing program. For example, providing educational content to cybersecurity professionals through a webinar is an excellent way to capture leads that can then be nurtured through email marketing. These leads can then be offered more content of value. One idea is sending a whitepaper and eventually offering a demo and/or free consultation.
The key to turning cold or warm leads into happy customers is to focus on building brand familiarity and trust by making sure that everything you do provides added value.
4. “We don’t have any news to share.”
There’s always something to share. Cybersecurity companies need to make announcements about funding, product developments, speaking engagements, conference presence, etc. Why not let professionals handle this so you can focus on other areas of your business?
PR agencies that specialize in specific technologies like cybersecurity already have experience in announcing these topics. They have relationships with industry media targets and influencers to put your news in the right hands. More importantly, they are trained in the art of finding the best pitch to take your generic funding announcement to a newsworthy story.
5. “We aren’t dealing with any crises right now.”
You can never be over prepared to handle a crisis. This is especially true when it comes to the cybersecurity industry. Cybersecurity companies are responsible for precious data. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for new ways to exploit this data.
In the unfortunate event of a breach or another communications crisis, professional public relations counsel can help your company recover faster. They can also help restore your reputation with your customers, media, investors and the general public. You never think it’s going to happen to you… until it does.
6. “We don’t have the money to sponsor at trade shows.”
Many clients come to us saying they want to make a presence at a trade show like Black Hat or RSA, but don’t have the money to sponsor. There are many more opportunities to make a lasting impression on people attending these large, influential trade shows.
It is an unfortunate truth that at most cybersecurity conferences it’s necessary to pay for a speaking slot. However, there are a few strategies to get around this. One is to offer to create an entire panel on a particular topic. Another is to contact the moderator of existing panels and offer yourself as an additional panelist. Even when these approaches don’t work, there are other options. Those include sharing a booth with one of your partners, setting up media meetings, or even just walking around with your business card can make going to a trade show worth it.
7. “We don’t want to rebrand.”
It’s important to maintain an updated brand, but there’s a lot you can do to update your branding short of creating a new website and redesigning your materials. Updating your messaging and ensuring it’s included on your booth panels, in your collateral and presentations is often doable, as is a light refresh of your website.
Public relations professionals are experts at creating clear and consistent messages about who you are, what you offer and your unique value proposition. They also ensure it is carried through your public-facing market presence.
So there you have it – if none of the above applies to you or the growth of your business, you don’t need a public relations or marketing agency.
But we highly doubt that’s the case. We’re ready to talk strategy when you are.