Every day it seems there are stories both in the trade and mainstream press about data breaches, malware, privacy infringement and unauthorized network access. These stories scare the public, and cause some concern for IT experts, CEOs and network designers who worry that their network will be hit next. Moreover, many of these news items throw around jargon such as “cloud,” “visibility,” “virus,” “hackers” and other terms, which are not clearly defined, leaving one wondering if any network is safe. It is, however, possible to protect a corporate network, but do IT leaders truly understand what is needed to do so? A good public relations strategy can help IT security companies better define their products and markets, to ultimately rise above the noise and jargon regarding challenges and solutions for taming network security issues.
A good PR strategy assists an IT security company’s sales process by building awareness and driving traffic to its website. A news, feature or industry article may spur interest in the company, which may lead to consideration of a company’s products and/or services, which definitely aids in the sales process. Although results may not be immediate and potential customers may also consider a company’s past experience or input from other users, the appearance of an article can solidify their interest. It can also help reinforce a purchase decision by current users. PR can help an IT security company by helping to earn news coverage that is generally perceived as more credible than marketing collateral although both tout the benefits of the company’s products. Building credibility with users and industry participants is key because since network security is crucial to their businesses, it is critical that IT security companies appear stable and expert in technical innovation. PR activities can supplement and be used in conjunction with product announcements, trade show events and other marketing-specific activities that IT security companies use to stress product benefits and company expertise.
It is no secret that IT security requires the integration of many complex components to protect against malware, breaches, denial of service attacks and to troubleshoot and log incidents. As such, sales managers, CMOs, CIOs, CEOs and CTOs need to focus on core business activities related to customers, products and their areas of expertise. It can be inherently difficult to create the best message to explain IT security products and their benefits, and while a CTO may be very knowledgeable about security and the company, he or she may not be on top of what messages resonate with editors. A good PR person is one who has developed relationships with key media, bloggers and influencers. The PR practitioner knows when and how to reach out to them and can liaise and translate marketing and tech-speak into language and messages that make sense. If an editor cannot understand the significance of a product announcement or how it solves a pain point for his or her medium’s audience, the news will not be covered. A good PR person has the knowledge of what is important to the editors and what will deliver the coverage a highly-technical IT security company needs to disseminate its message.
PR staff that are dedicated to IT security accounts understand technology and industry terms in order to demystify the jargon and translate for the customer and general public. The agency’s staff—from senior level down—needs to have a finger on trends that impact the market, end users and media including traditional and social media.
When selecting a PR firm, it is critical that the potential client find one that treats its clients as partners and is knowledgeable on IT security and willing to and capable of developing and leading strategy rather than just being a “go-fer” that merely sends out press releases. If a company with a high-tech IT security product finds the right PR agency, it will be rewarded with the correct coverage in the correct media that attracts suitable potential and current customers. Message sent will be message received and may lead to results that impact the company’s bottom line positively.