Media relations

Infosec Europe PR: Setting up for 2020 Success

Written by Matt Smith

20 June 2019


As the dust settles on Infosec Europe 2019, it’s probably time to assess your marketing efforts around the show.

PR around Infosec is critical for driving footfall, engaging prospects and ultimately converting sales.

So how did you get on this year? Good, I hope. Did you secure the right media coverage? Was your story heard amongst the crowd? Did you outdo the competition?

Getting it right isn’t easy. If you’re feeling underwhelmed by the impact of your PR, you’re not going to be alone.

With that in mind, we’ve pulled this piece together for you. The reason being that it gives you more time to digest and put together a plan of action to improve on this year’s PR performance in 2020.

With years of Infosec Europe experience – including 10+ with Kaspersky – we’ve a wealth of knowledge about maximising the PR opportunities it affords.

Knowing what you need to get out of the show

It sounds simple enough, but you’d be amazed by how many companies arrive at Infosec just because they feel they should.

Events like this can be exhausting. But if 2019 didn’t see you achieve your ambitions, finding renewed energy for 2020 will be key.

Have a laser sharp focus on what the show needs to deliver for you.

From a PR and comms standpoint, don’t jump straight to targets for briefings and column inches. Focus instead on why you want your company to be at Infosec and what the entire presence – stand, content, marketing, sponsorship AND PR – needs to deliver.

Ideally, in broad terms at least, you’ll be clear on that before you even sign up to exhibit at the show. Then, with those guiderails in place, you and your team have ample time to craft the story that can deliver those requirements.

Maximising speaker opps @ Infosec Europe

Pretty much every major exhibitor gets a speaker slot at Infosec but plenty of them don’t make the most of the opportunity.

From my perspective, this is madness. A strong hook for the session can work wonders for getting a journalist into the room, fuel interview requests and generate coverage, so make sure you plan ahead.

Proposals tend to close in January, so you should really be thinking about making your pitch before the end of 2019, during that ‘quiet period’ in the build up to the Festive period perhaps? 😊

And ‘thinking’ is the operative word. Get the speaker into a room with the PR team and let them develop ideas for the session together through a direct conversation.

Why? You should be thinking about a unique presentation, with a compelling story at its heart. It should be personal to the speaker’s experiences and relatable to the audience. The aim is to demonstrate an informed opinion to hook people in.

It shouldn’t be a corporate template. Don’t make it safe. Resist the temptation to treat it as a marketing platform.

Finally, make sure the team on the stand has sight of it in advance too, so they can seamlessly continue conversations after the session and offer up relevant demos, etc. The focus of the speaker opp should also be carried through all media, including media briefings.

Remote controlled and on the ground media relations

A PR or marketing presence at the show is essential if you have briefings organised and spokespeople lined up. Prepare and share info with the right people in advance and make sure they know what’s expected of them.

At an event like Infosec, there’s always the possibility of a breaking news story in the security space and having a PR person on the ground helps to increase your ability to capitalise on emerging opportunities.

However, co-ordination with your comms team offsite is also increasingly important. Because there are fewer journalists in tech, the draw of shows like Infosec has diminished as resources become sparse.

The more journalists can cover without attending the show the better in their eyes. Getting info to them so they can prepare in advance and cover it remotely is not going to do you any harm.

Know who is and isn’t going – from a media perspective – early in the plan. Also, make educated guesses based on previous years of coverage to start the ball rolling.

As the event gets closer, make sure you have people ready to take a call, distribute materials and update social and digital channels on schedule.

Don’t make a big announcement

Whatever you do, don’t rely on Infosec to drive reams of headlines around your next big announcement.

Security pitches reach saturation point around the show. Your story is almost guaranteed to get lost in the noise.

With that in mind, plan major launches and announcements to land some way before or after the show – and use it to follow up on major launches with more detail, or trail/soft launch, but don’t make it the focus of your efforts.

Be useful to the media

Sponsor or supply something useful to the media at the show.

Every vendor will offer some form of merchandise on their stand, much of which gets thrown in a bin. Think differently in 2020 by providing something that is useful for the media specifically.

A refreshing drink, recharging points on your stand, taxi rides from their office to the venue and back – possibly a dedicated quiet area on your stand that they can use for 15 minutes at a time, undisturbed just to catch their breath!

One note of caution – don’t give them a branded USB stick with press materials on it. After all, this is a security show!