By Big Valley Media + Influencer Leads Josh Swarz and Andy Shane
Black Hat USA, which gathers a mix of hackers, threat intelligence analysts, and corporate security folks, returns to Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Convention Center this August. Black Hat USA 2023 is expected to bring the heat (literally! It’s been over 100 degrees in Las Vegas for a week, with no end in sight).
The conference will zero in on perennial hot topics, from phishing, DDoS, ransomware, and state-sponsored attacks to cloud security and supply chain attacks. In addition, it will almost certainly dive deep into one of the hottest topics this year in security: AI and ChatGPT. We’re also very excited to hear from folks like Jen Easterly and Victor Zhora as they share their perspective on cybersecurity policy.
From a marketing and communications perspective, along with the RSA Conference, Black Hat is the other significant moment in time for companies to highlight their most compelling research. And while cybersecurity journalists from around the globe are currently being bombarded with pitches from PR professionals, one trend we are already starting to see is the dramatic increase in paid media offerings from many media outlets.
This trend has been slowly growing over the past few years, coming to the forefront and really starting to take off over the past few months since RSA in April. While there’s no way to know for sure, it is a trend that can likely be attributed to the media consolidation we saw in the first half of 2023.
As Axios recently reported, “The news industry is facing huge constraints due to a slowdown in the ad market, debt from consolidation, and subscription fatigue.” As money tightens, more outlets are turning to paid offerings, which presents unique opportunities for security companies looking to increase their overall share of voice.
Is now the time for companies to look at paid options? As with earned media opportunities, there are several key considerations in determining if the paid opportunity is the “right opportunity.” The best paid offerings will reach your target audience with great numbers, but will also help market the interview through banner ads, social media, etc., and create collateral pieces your sales organization can use to further your messaging and – perhaps – help close a prospect (sales should be taking advantage of all pieces of content).
From the interview perspective, we will work with the media ahead of time to prepare them on the topic and develop and approve questions. We’ve found the best interviews occur when they aren’t treated with kid gloves — thought-provoking questions are asked, and answers are followed up on – and sometimes even questioned.
To be clear, paid is not the only option. And we don’t expect it to be for the foreseeable future. However, connotations around paid media have certainly changed and, unlike years past, paid must be part of any sound media strategy – especially in crowded spaces like security.