There’s a trend going around on social media currently where people heartily declare what’s in and out. From the earnest to the absurd, these mostly personal decrees on social media, have paved the way for this year’s first real consumer trend: personal trend forecasting.
Arguably, PR has been doing this forever, on a much larger – and more impactful – scale (and with less notes app imagery). PR professionals and their clients, alongside journalists, are forever predicting and promoting the next big thing, the most exciting new research, and most captivating stories.
So, what’s in and out for 2024 when it comes to cybersecurity PR? We spoke to and analysed intel from 30 cybersecurity comms professionals in our The Cybersecurity Media Trends Barometer – Outlook & Opportunities 2024 report.
In: National Coverage
In 2024, the public will continue to take an interest in cybersecurity stories. As cyberattacks become more significant and impact more organisations and individuals, there will be vested interest in these stories on a national scale. We’ve seen this in recent years with stories like the Rockstar breach and Sony hacks gaining significant national coverage. Our research has shown that, in the US, coverage of cybersecurity topics increased by over three-quarters (76%) in national and business titles – and this looks set to continue in 2024.
Additionally, with topics like AI entering the zeitgeist, there’s an even greater opportunity for vendors to elevate their profile in the mainstream media. B2B cybersecurity PR doesn’t have to rigidly stick to trade publications, people with decision making power are everywhere!
Out: Views of Cybersecurity Being too ‘Specialist’ and ‘Too Technical’
Together with increased national coverage comes a shift away from the idea that cybersecurity must be highly technical to be respected. In fact, we’re seeing the average person become more aware of technical cyber concepts, meaning it will benefit many vendors to make their research more accessible.
There remains, however, enormous value in technical research – and an equally enormous media appetite. Publications like Bleeping Computer and The Hacker News (both top tier outlets) tend to run with cutting-edge technical research for its specialised audiences., enabling cybersecurity companies to get in front of technical decision makers and showcase their platforms’ capabilities. Given the diverse range of people and media interested in cybersecurity-related topics, the ability to craft content which can appeal to different audiences will be more important than ever.
For better or worse, it’s time to harness the power of influencers. With people moving away from traditional publications and getting their news elsewhere (enter TikTok, Substack, and podcasts etc.), PR activities must reflect this. Compared to other industries, cybersecurity is behind the curve when it comes to influencer relations (with 80% of organisations not having a programme in place at present). Now’s the time to get ahead! In 2024, organisations should develop a strategy for influencer relations before the rest of the industry catches up. Third-party validation can be an incredibly powerful tool.
Out: The Old Guard
Over the past year, we’ve seen various English-speaking publications undergoing a notable shift in their editorial focus and some have even shut their doors. Whilst we’ve seen publications like The Daily Swig (March 2023) and ThreatPost (August 2022) go extinct, the way has been paved for new voices and publications to flourish and grow, including titles like Assured Intelligence.
It’s hard to say exactly where will be the hottest place to get coverage in 2024, but rest assured that we’ll be there first!
In: Enhanced Creativity
It’s a fact that for many internal comms departments budgets are getting smaller, and many cybersecurity comms departments have felt the strain significantly. In times of struggle, innovation trumps all. Internal and external PR companies will have to be more creative and focused with their budgets, hopefully resulting in clever and interesting campaigns.
Out: Expensive Awards
We know that the industry is full of expensive awards, and it has become a minefield to find ‘good value’ accolades. Over the past year, cybersecurity organisations are reassessing the value of pay-for-play activities like awards. In 2024, we will see a shift away from awards towards a renewed focus on speaking slots. Our research found that 76% of respondents said that speaking slots are important in 2024.
Speaking slots are highly competitive and coveted. Organisations will need to dedicate time and manpower, working alongside external PR agencies, to crafting a story compelling enough to get picked up. With a good story, the sky’s the limit!
In: Back to Basics Lead Gen
Our research suggests that comms teams are looking at traditional lead generation activities as a priority. Over half of respondents said that content marketing was most useful, followed by SEO. We’ve also seen a shift towards companies exploring paid media and events. It’s worth doing due diligence on any paid opportunities, which is something a PR agency should be able to help with.
Lead generation activities and paid opps should not eclipse traditional PR though. Earned coverage and backlinks through PR programmes are incredibly valuable. And with only 5-10% of B2B buyers actively in the market for new solutions at any given time, PR helps to valuable brand awareness to support lead gen strategies and ensure that your company is front-of-mind when RFPs come around. What’s more, PR builds genuine thought leaders and prioritises those with things to say. You can’t pay your way to credibility!
In: Brand Building Through Organic Awareness
As mentioned above, organic awareness is still incredibly important. But what’s the best way to build a brand? In 2024, thought leadership activity will be a key driver of coverage and indicator of brand awareness and campaign success. Thought leadership-driven activity will be a key part of many PR media strategies going forward, according to 70% of respondents.
Out: Saying Things for the Sake of Saying Them
But… There’s definitely value in not commenting on everything and anything all the time. Be known for good comments, great spokespeople, and compelling news!
What do you think will be in and out in 2024 when it comes to cybersecurity comms (or otherwise!)? Notes app images welcome.
Read the full Cybersecurity Media Trends Barometer – Outlook and Opportunities 2024 report here: https://www.eskenzipr.com/portfolio/introducing-the-cybersecurity-media-trends-barometer-outlook-opportunities-2024/