Three Steps for Creating a Successful PR Strategy for Cybersecurity
By Shannon Van Every, director
If you work in the cybersecurity industry, you know that the landscape is littered with vendors. That makes it hard for any one cybersecurity vendor to stand out. A database by CyberDB, a cyber research data bank, offers more than 3,500 vendors in the U.S. alone, and each one typically has more than one offering.
With ransomware on the rise and new cybersecurity-related regulations being handed down by the likes of the SEC, FTC and many more, demand for these solutions will only continue to rise and increasingly, companies are expanding their budgets for cybersecurity.
Competition remains fierce. Tech analyst firm Canalys recently reported that the global cybersecurity market grew 11.6% year over year in Q2 2023 to $19 billion. It also found that the top 12 cybersecurity vendors accounted for about 50% of total customer spending.
Given all the players in this space and the need to stand out in the crowd, it’s more important than ever for cybersecurity companies to ensure they have a strong public relations and marketing strategy in place to help differentiate and be heard in the marketplace.
Standing out from the crowd
Oftentimes, vendors try to compete in an established category with a product or service that is only marginally better than that of their competitors. As they failed to gain traction in that category, some then switch to a different category – losing whatever ground they had gained.
These are two rules we’ve found helpful as we plan our clients’ strategies:
- Understand what makes you different. This requires the ability to clearly articulate what’s different about your offering, from both a technology and business value perspective.
- Develop a successful messaging plan. This is what good PR firms do; they find ways to highlight your industry leadership and expertise. A seasoned tech PR agency will either work with the brand messaging you have or start from scratch and create the most strategic positioning and narrative for your brand.
Three steps of a successful PR strategy
To build an effective cybersecurity PR strategy, the first step is creating thought leadership. By consistently getting published in respected cybersecurity publications, you’ll create name recognition that makes your company and its subject matter experts sought after for comment, further content and speaking gigs.
A second step is cultivating and maintaining a strong presence on both digital and social media. This is another way to strengthen your thought leadership program. For instance, the platform formerly known as Twitter – X – is a digital watering hole for security influencers and reporters, so it’s important to interact with them and conduct social listening so you stay current with relevant topics like vulnerabilities and data breaches in real time.
The third step is to work on getting third-party validation. This comes from industry awards, customer/partnership relationships and analyst reports. Awards can give your company not just a publicity boost but more credibility, too. You can show how you’re solving real-world problems via case studies and client testimonials. These carry much more weight than simply touting your solution yourself.
Partnering with PR to meet your goals
It’s hard to overstate the necessity of including your PR staff or firm in this process early on, especially if your focus is getting media coverage. PR pros cultivate relationships with journalists and track what they are working on, so they know what will interest them and how to approach them. They create a win-win for your company and for the reporter.
By working with PR professionals this way, you can help determine which stories are presented and shape how they are told. This helps your company establish its brand identity, which is part of your larger messaging strategy. Your PR pros can also lead the targeted media strategy to put your brand and stories in front of prospective buyers and draw them further down the sales funnel.
Here is an example from our own case studies. We had a client who produced encryption keys. We created a strategy that re-jiggered the company’s brand recognition and established the CEO as a banking security thought leader. By educating the market through thought leadership articles and by building a strong relationship with targeted media, the CEO became a go-to resource, and we reached our goal.
We also did a tour of the financial and security media with the client’s solution. This resulted in great publicity, including in top-tier media like the Wall Street Journal. And the CEO became a respected go-to source for the media.
Toward a successful strategy
Establishing an effective PR strategy in the saturated cybersecurity market can help vendors with branding and visibility that differentiates them from the crowd. With an experienced PR agency, you can experience greater thought leadership, analyst perspective, awards and events, social media presence and third-party validation. Including a public relations team in your company’s go-to-market strategy can also help your brand create a symbiotic relationship with the media.
Looking for expert assistance to successfully differentiate your brand? Contact us today.