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Five Security PR Strategies for RSA Conference 2016

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With only four weeks left to the opening date of RSA Conference 2016, the IT security industry is gearing up to gather at San Francisco’s Moscone Center where much excitement and months of planning will all come to fruition. Since late last year, the PAN IT security practice group has been strategizing with our clients on the best ways to achieve RSA Conference success.

At the Conference, the security industry will predictably discuss and address today’s most pressing questions about how to fight cyber threats and proactively manage risk. More than 500 vendors will be present and partake in the event. Each vendor will have the opportunity to reach key decision makers. So how do you go about developing a PR strategy that stands out among the rest? Here are some tested PR strategies for RSA Conference success:

Strategy #1: Relationship building via face-to-face meetings

RSA Conference presents an opportune time for face-to-face meetings (although they can be a bit rushed) with top security influencers and reporters – and these meetings go a long way to cement positive working relationships.

With more than four days of conference activity and many opportunities to grab a quick coffee, breakfast, lunch, evening cocktail or even schedule a weekend meeting, our team has been working diligently behind the scenes to arrange on-the-show-floor and off-the-show-floor meetings for our clients with media and influencers.

But beforehand, we take the important first step to prioritize the universe of media and influencers and identify those targets that make the most sense to connect our clients with based on the subject matter at hand and the objectives on both sides of the conversation. This way, we architect our approach to media outreach in a way that promotes an impactful meeting for both the reporter/influencer and security vendor executive.

Image from: used under CC license.

Strategy #2: Hitting the social scene to network

The security world is a super social one and your networking efforts should definitely extend beyond the expo hall. With a stacked line-up of popular nighttime events put on by some of the industry’s most prominent vendors and well-attended by media, take time before the show to register and secure your spot – and a spot for one or two of your execs – on the guest list. Go ahead and map out your game plan for which parties and after-hours events to make a priority.

Once there, take time to mingle with media in attendance. When approaching reporters, be mindful of their time. As a general rule of thumb, make sure executives are fully prepped on industry trends, research, data and upcoming news to make the best impression – but in a party setting, don’t overwhelm them with work talk.

If your schedule permits, grab a drink at the W Hotel and you’re bound to find yourself in conversation with many of the journalists you’re looking to make inroads with.

Strategy #3: Using RSA Conference as a forum to announce news

“RSA Conference is the greatest single place where new ideas can grab hold,” states RSA President Amit Yoran.

Together with our clients, we evaluate their news pipeline and make a determination about what type of announcement, if any – whether it’s research-based, data-driven, product, partnership, or perhaps a combination of these – has the weight it takes to hold up against so much competing show noise.

Then we talk timing. Announcing news ahead of the event can help attract early attention and carry momentum into Conference week, while in other cases it may make sense to announce news during Conference week (often times with an advance look offered to reporters beforehand). Yet other times it may work in your favor to preview your news with media during those RSA Conference face-to-face meetings and then make your announcement post-show.

As PAN VP Tiffany Darmetko mentioned last year, “News is one of the biggest drivers of media interest at a tradeshow.” Whether you’re aiming to insert your company into the security industry conversation or better yet “steal the show,” with only four weeks left, your launch plan should be in place to grab some of that coveted RSA Conference spotlight.

Strategy #4: Winning with research

Research matters big time to security media folks. From vulnerability disclosures to other types of intel on the latest threats, the media is hungry for data-driven insights.

In a conservation between PAN’s Tiffany Darmetko and Dark Reading’s Tim Wilson, Tim talks about how reporters are not only interested in hearing about attack trends, but also “looking for new data that shows that a particular type of defense is really working.”

Look now at your assets and determine if you have access to any type of data that can be leveraged for media use.

Strategy #5: Expanding your reach via social media

Marketers well know the importance of incorporating a smart social strategy into their efforts. The same holds true for social support around specific events like RSA Conference. Whether they’re onsite at the Moscone Center or not, the security industry will be following along online by tuning in to live-streaming keynotes, on-demand sessions and the most active Twitter conversation.

Here are three Twitter tips for RSA Conference courtesy of my PAN colleague Tiffany and originally posted here:

  1. When it comes to Twitter, tweeting from RSA – using the hashtag #RSAC – increases the effectiveness of your media strategy. Twitter can be used to make short observations about RSA and drive traffic to your blog posts.
  2. Busy reporters, in particular, benefit from Twitter updates as many of them are tied up covering keynote sessions and may not be able to allocate time for booth meetings with vendors. Plan in advance for one of your executives or researchers to attend and live tweet from select RSA keynotes. For PAN clients who do so, we give media a heads up that this live tweeting will be happening and encourage reporters to follow the company on Twitter for real-time insights.
  3. Incorporate social media into your booth plans as well. Think about ways to turn foot traffic into followers, for example: offer a contest that fosters social engagement or encourage booth visitors to follow the company Twitter handle and tweet an answer to your daily RSA quiz question for the promise of a prize to lucky respondents who answer correctly.

As a side note to our readers, PAN will be posting near real-time updates to our blog and Twitter on RSA Conference 2016 happenings. We invite you to follow along.

See you soon in San Francisco! If you’d like to meet up at RSA Conference, just drop us a line.


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