How Security Vendors get coverage in the nationals

This post introduces the e-book that we've just published in conjunction with Eclat Marketing called: An analysis of cyber-security coverage in the UK national press in 2018. The e-book is free and can be downloaded here.

Most cybersecurity companies would like to get coverage in the national press. It’s a PR strategy that makes sense because in this world of fragmented media, national news outlets still deliver high numbers of readers and, in the case of security companies, high numbers of readers who also happen to be security decision makers such as CISOs. In fact half of the top ten news outlets that CISOs read in the UK are national news sources.

Despite this ambition, not many security vendors succeed and even fewer succeed on a regular basis. The reason for this is that the nature of almost all coverage for security companies in the nationals is a symbiotic relationship between the breaking story and what the vendor can contribute to that story. It is rarely about the security vendor and stories about its products and services are even harder to find.

In order to get coverage, PRs in the security sector should be asking questions along the following lines:

  • What is your advice to parents who are worried about the increasing number of cyber threats to their children?
  • Do you have any insight into why 'ABC Company' was breached? What could that company have done to prevent the breach?
  • What is your advice to the person whose personal information has been compromised and is worried about identity theft and/or their bank account being cleaned out?
  • Do you have any comforting (or alarming) view on the latest Russian cyber-attack?

Letting the news outlet know that you have the answers to these types of questions are far more likely to reap a dividend than trying to persuade journalists like Phoebe Weston at the Daily Mail that the latest iteration of your 'endpoint protection software' will be of huge interest to readers of her stories on hackers. It is very clear, from our research, is that there is very little appetite for nationals to report on security products or services. They are, however, more than willing to adopt security companies and their spokespeople as the expert knowledge source in what is, for many of their readers, a scary and perplexing world.

To inject some quantifiable analysis into this debate, we have just published a free e-book in partnership with Eclat Marketing that takes a closer look at the types of security stories that made it into the UK national press in the first nine months of 2018 and where a security company was also mentioned.

Child security was the biggest story type across the board with plenty of advice offered to parents to counter the latest threats to emerge. Several security companies were proficient at advancing practical and expert advice to keep children safe.

Another big story type was that of nation state threats, perceived or otherwise. The world witnessed many of these in 2018 mainly from Russia, China and North Korea. These stories offered security vendors the opportunity to provide context to the threat, analysis of the attack methods and a showcase for their own research.

The e-book also takes a look at the differences between tabloid and broadsheet outlets. Below is a chart from the e-book that shows the main story types and the differences in emphasis that tabloids and broadsheets placed on them:

Source: An analysis of cyber-security coverage in the UK national press in 2018

The general observation here is that tabloids tend to concentrate much more on security issues affecting the individual whereas the broadsheet’s focus is more on the world, states and organisations.

The e-book is an interesting read for anyone whose job it is to obtain coverage for their security vendor or client. It can be downloaded here for free.