By Sabina Reghellin, Account Executive at Eskenzi PR
As someone who had been using the same password for all her online accounts since 2009, I knew that joining the Eskenzi PR team would have been a learning curve. What I certainly did not expect was to come back from my first Cloud and Cyber Expo – which was held in London last week –excited about the latest innovations in Cloud security, DevSecOps and phishing prevention. My flatmates had to kindly ask me to stop chattering about “shifting left” and the skills gap in tech (like the old me, they are all still convinced that the name of their pet + their year of birth makes a secure password for everything).
Despite what my pwned friends thought of my account of it, the Cloud and Cybersecurity expo was all but boring. Unfortunately for the readers who were really interested in shifting left, AI security and all-things-cyber, my takeaway is more from a PR perspective, but you can find the list of attendees and keynote speakers here.
1. Research the keynote talks
To make the most of the learning opportunities that these events offer, it is important to know which companies will be attending, where and when they are going to speak and what topics they are going to cover.
As PR professionals, it is essential that we keep up to date with the latest advancements in our specialty sector, and events such as the Cloud and Cyber Expo are the perfect opportunity to refresh our knowledge of the jargon and learn about new trends that are stirring the market and gaining the press’ attention.
2. Do your homework
I am a great proponent of the theory that meeting one time in person is worth a hundred emails, but journalists have very little time out of their offices these days. With the need to have a constant flow of content published online, their deadlines are getting shorter and the time to go out and see their sources in person is hardly ever there.
Events such as the Cloud and Cybersecurity Expo, however, allow them to conduct many interviews at once and to collect material for their future articles.
It is usually relatively easy to obtain a press list of the journalists that are due to attend, and it doesn’t cost anything to send them a short pitch of the things your clients can talk about, and perhaps their organisations’ latest research.
Although many journalists pretend not to like PRs (well, to be fair, some of them really don’t), if you believe in what your clients have to say, you should pick up the phone and do your best to obtain an interview. It may be a great opportunity to create lasting relationships, whereby reporters will know that your clients are valuable sources of information and will refer to them for future comments.
3. Get to the press lounge EARLY
While many of these events are well organised and reserve a space for press interviews, very often those areas are limited, and the demand for seats is usually higher than the offer.
I learnt that to my expense, when I arrived at the press lounge with my client, who was due to be interviewed for a leader publication in the sector, and there was no space for either him or the reporter to sit down and chat properly. Fortunately, as the interview was starting, someone left a couple of chairs, allowing the interview to go ahead more comfortably.
It is good practice to always check whether it’s necessary to book a space in the press area in advance and getting there a little ahead of a scheduled interview time is definitely a good idea.
4. Read the publications you are going to speak to
If there is something journalists don’t like doing, it’s sending their questions in advance. Despite this, it’s incredibly useful for PRs to have an idea of what the subject will likely be, as it allows interviewees to prepare, which is precisely what ends up making for a better interview.
To predict what the journalist will ask, it is useful to read a few articles from the reporter that is going to conduct the interview. This usually gives away a little on their interviewing style, the topics they are interested in and their position about certain topics.
Moreover, given that journalists are likely to interview tens of people at these events, advising your client to focus on the subjects that the publication is specialised in is a good way to ensure that their comments will be relevant and likely to be covered. Advise your clients to think about two or three key points they are keen to make during the interview and suggest they keep the conversation around them, without overloading the interviewer with too much information.
5. Make your stand memorable. And bring a good-sized bag…
These events are all about getting noticed. There is nothing worse than paying a participation fee only to have your company forgotten in the crowd of many other competitors who simply had a flashier, more colourful, more entertaining booth.
Cybersecurity, of course, is about substance. Then again, I still remember the name and the specialty of the company at RSA which had two rescue kittens roaming around their stand…
Kittens may be a little over the top, but thinking of playful and entertaining ways to attract attendees to your booth is part of the game, so try to get creative. And don’t forget to enjoy the stroll around the expo, you’ll be surprised by the number of pens, phone chargers, t-shirts and other gadgets you can collect in a day!