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5 principles for generating national press coverage on cyber security 25.03.15

Proof recently ran an event titled, ‘I want to be in the FT: Are you ready for national coverage?’, where a roundtable of cyber security professionals discussed what it takes to generate national press coverage in this sector, and ensuring that anyone who does, is ready for the implications. The rationale for the title, which may seem bizarre at first, was that our prospective clients always tell us that their top PR priority is to get into the FT. After we dig a little deeper, we find that they haven’t 100% considered why it’s their priority and, if they get in the FT (or any national media outlet for that matter), they have often not thought about how they are going to use the increased attention. It may be that national press is the right outlet for their business, but it is imperative to first understand what audience is being targeted with the coverage and why. Only then can we decide on which outlets will achieve those goals. For instance, it might be better to gain coverage in The Engineer if your target audience is manufacturing engineers rather than business decision makers.

We had a great turn out of professionals from organisations including SANS Institute, Advent IM, Titania, Crossword Cybersecurity, Bronzeye, ForgeRock, Assima, CEdMA, AVG, Symantec, Templar Executives and Optimal Payments. The discussion was lively, open and honest. To summarise how to generate national coverage on cyber security, we boiled it down into the 5 principles below. They can also be downloaded here: Summary of Proof Communication Event – 5 principles for generating national press coverage on cyber security.

Expert not generalist

Don’t be all things to all people. Define what you are truly expert in by asking your organisation 3 Qs: What credibility do we have? What gives us the right to own this space? What do we have that no else does?

Humanise or commercialise the story

National reporters write for their audiences. Your PR must target their interests first. Most people don’t understand cyber security and don’t think they are at risk. One of the things most reporters in this space desperately need is a way to relate cyber to the things we experience every day at work and at home.

Profile not product

Determine the profile you want to build, not just the product you want to push. All PR should link back to the theme you are trying to own and the reputation you want to build. The link to your product or service will be inherent in the communication material – don’t force it upon national reporters.

Recognise the wider spread of interested reporters

Cyber security is broader than technology. It is a concern for every part of society. Educating reporters beyond the technology beat is a way to generate bigger results for new audiences.

Connect with the news agenda

Relevance is key, in both the short term and the long term. National print reporters are most often writing with a maximum 48hr time window. They need people who can provide something new to an established story.

If you have any questions or you’d like to join us at our next cyber event please get in touch: jennifer@proofcommunication.com