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A Guide to the Increasingly Difficult Trade Media Landscape

By February 8, 2024No Comments

Like most industries, cybersecurity companies covet space in the trade media. In an industry where security incidents or discoveries are revealed through the medium of trade publications, they are widely respected by those working in cyber, and being featured in them can help a company to be perceived as an industry leader. This can help with everything from gaining speaking slots and award nominations, to driving sales via increased web traffic.  

However, the trade landscape is not in a particularly healthy place. he landscapes in both the US and UK has shifted. The Tier1 trade magazine opportunities have declined, meaning space in the remaining Tier 1 security and technology publications is more competitive than ever. 

Over the past year, various publications have undergone a notable shift in their editorial focus. Some have opted to close their doors, while others have altered their editorial direction. As a result, obtaining comprehensive coverage has become more challenging. Just a few examples include: 

  • Threatpost, which stopped publishing new content as of August 2022 
  • The Daily Swig, which closed its doors in March 2023 
  • ZDNet, which shifted its focus towards technology within the expansive realm of ‘disruptive innovation’.  

With over 3,000 cybersecurity vendors vying for attention, standing out from the crowd demands a blend of creativity, compelling content, and distinctive messaging. Here are some things to consider when engaging the trade media:  

Know who you’re talking to  

The trade media, while more technical than the Nationals, may still need educating. The journalists who work at trades are extremely talented at absorbing added information, sometimes without any background in cybersecurity. If you can be one of the companies who help them to understand the notoriously complex cybersecurity world, you will make yourself invaluable.  

Understand the ‘why’  

The trade media will sometimes cover product releases. However, the thing that is going to really make the difference for the trade media is understand the ‘why’. If you are launching a new product, and are hoping to engage the trade media, then it is important that the why factor ids considered: How is this product going to fix a problem, or make life easier for a trade magazine’s readership?  

Research and statistics  

One of the most important things for the trade media is in-depth research. If you are a cybersecurity company with a research department, great. If you are not, then that is not a problem; You are still able to think creatively by commissioning market research or analyst reports, or by developing surveys from the stand at trade shows which can generate interest or coverage from the trade media.  

Respect the work that they do! 

As PR people, we understand that the end goal for many organisations is National coverage. While this makes sense as a strategy, it should not be at the expense of the trade media, who play a vital role in our news ecosystem. When cyberattacks break through to the mainstream press, it is often the trade media who will appear as talking heads to provide important wisdom and context, such as when the WannaCry attack brought the NHS to a standstill.  

Additionally, trade publications are at the coalface of both training journalists, and breaking stories. The collapse of local news has meant trade magazines are often where journalists cut their teeth, learning the skills that are invaluable when they move to larger news outlets, or for breaking stories that come to dominate the mainstream; For example, the Horizon/Post Office scandal which has dominated the news agenda in the first weeks of 2024 was originally broken by Computer Weekly,