Credibility is a key ingredient in the success of any cybersecurity startup. You attract loyal customers and business partners because they trust in your brand. Given the right PR strategy, it’s possible to build a cybersecurity brand which people trust.
What makes cybersecurity PR different?
Cybersecurity PR is different because the industry faces a unique set of challenges. For this reason, the PR strategy you develop should address these challenges.
Most cybersecurity startups face two main challenges:
a) Communicating the importance of cybersecurity
Since cybersecurity is a technical field, so communicating with clients can be challenging. It’s easy to make the mistake of using jargon, therefore alienating clients who don’t understand your message. Many companies also resort to scare tactics, which can leave clients feeling powerless to protect themselves.
Instead of using technical language, you should focus your PR efforts on communicating clearly. Likewise, scare tactics should be replaced with a PR strategy that helps your audience feel empowered to protect themselves.
Need help communicating with your target audience? Contact a member of our PR team today and let us craft the perfect communications strategy for your startup.
b) Responding to crises appropriately
Whenever a security breach occurs, the news travels fast, and so do the speculations. A business affected by a data breach has a small window of time to respond.
Some companies make the mistake of not communicating the right way during a crisis. Or, worse still, not communicating at all. Unfortunately, this leaves clients feeling unsupported at a time when they need your support the most.
The potential of a cybersecurity crisis doesn’t need to be a scary thing for your startup. Taking time in advance to craft an effective PR crisis plan will position you to calm people down and support your clients when it really counts.
So, how do we use PR to overcome these challenges?
How do I use PR to build credibility?
You should think about your PR strategy as a long-term effort rather than a short-term response to a crisis. If you invest time and energy on building trust and relationships with the public, then you are more likely to survive when a crisis arrives.
Let’s go through the elements of a successful long-term PR strategy for a cybersecurity startup.
1) Clear messaging
In an industry loaded with jargon and technical terms, using simple language will help you stand out from the crowd. Communicating using simple language will convince potential clients that you are being open and honest. People will also be drawn to you if you’re speaking a language they understand.
The audience for cybersecurity is wide and varied. It can be anyone from a company CEO or head of IT to a father who wants to protect his family’s data. These people won’t all understand technical jargon, but everyone understands the basic right to privacy and data protection.
Avoid getting caught up in technical terms which your audience might not understand. Instead, highlight the benefits of your services and you will connect with all these people.
2) A proactive approach
Take time to build trust with your audience before a crisis hits or – better still –before people start using your services.
How do you do this? Use your owned media channels to share helpful information about cybersecurity. This is content which your target audience will be interested in. With these channels, you can connect with people long before they become customers.
The content you share on these channels will also position you as a thought leader in the industry. For this reason, anyone looking for cybersecurity services is likely to come to you before they consider your competitors.
Another way to build trust is to offer free training with any products you sell. For your software to be effective, your customers should feel empowered to use it. If they can’t use it properly, then they will be at risk for a security breach. Once a company buys your software, offer to train their employees to use it. If your client is an individual, offer them a one-on-one tutorial.
Being proactive will not only reduce the likelihood of a security breach but also build trust with your clients.
3) Owned media channels
As mentioned before, using your owned media channels is an effective way to build your online reputation. You can publish blog posts to share industry trends. Alternatively you can publish tips for people concerned about their safety online. You can host a podcast or use social media to share advice or comment on industry news.
As long as you’re sharing helpful information, you will attract an audience which cares about cybersecurity. Once these people see you as a trusted authority in the industry, they’re likely to buy your products.
Brands which communicate before a crisis hits are more credible in the public eye. Sharing a continuous stream of useful information might seem like a lot of work. However, it will show that you care more about the safety of your customers than you do about protecting your reputation in a crisis. This goes a long way towards building credibility for your cybersecurity startup.
4) User personalization
Your clients won’t all use your products in the same way. A large company with 10,000+ employees will need different features from someone purchasing a family plan.
Personalizing your software for your clients won’t cost much – after all, you already have a team of experts in place. Customizing your products will show that you care about more about your clients than you do about your bottom line.
5) An agile PR team
The cybersecurity industry faces crises all the time. A data breach can happen at any time and you only have a few hours to comment on the story. It is vital to invest in an agile public relations team so that you can take advantage of these opportunities.
A security breach doesn’t have to affect your company for you to offer commentary. A crisis facing another company could be a valuable opportunity to use the art of newsjacking. Newsjacking builds credibility for your brand because it enhances your image as a thought leader. You can comment on a security breach by explaining what is going on.
An agile public relations team is useful because it can help you plan a rapid media response. These people can perform media monitoring and help you identify breaches that affect your company before the media does. Similarly, they can identify stories which you can newsjack.
A good PR team will also have a crisis plan in place. With a crisis plan, you can respond appropriately and in a timely manner when the situation calls for it. Your PR team will also be able to connect you to the right media outlets to share your message.
When crisis hits, it’s natural for your first response to be denial. On the other hand, many companies also believe they need to get all the information before they respond publicly.
Don’t do either of these things. Instead, respond immediately and tell the public you’re looking into the security breach. Offer to monitor the accounts of your affected clients free of charge. Update them with information as you get it.
Denial or silence will destroy your image of a brand that cares about its clients. It can also give room for rumours and fear mongering, which are hard to reverse.
6) A range of spokespeople
There is a wide range of topics within the cybersecurity industry. These include security and compliance, safe computing, mobile protection, and the human right to privacy.
It’s helpful to have a range of spokespeople to address these different perspectives. Your staff have different talents, and some are better suited to talk about specific topics than others.
For example, if someone wants detailed information about how your systems work, you’d need to send one of your technicians to them. However, sometimes people simply want to know how your products help people. Your CEO can explain the benefits of your products.
7) Regular reports and updates
Transparency plays a key role in building credibility. If people believe you’re hiding something, then they won’t trust you. Sharing regular reports about the performance of your software is a good way to be transparent.
This proactive approach is effective at convincing your clients you care about them. Don’t wait to share this data when a breach has occurred because it’ll seem like you’re just trying to salvage your reputation.
Another way to be transparent and proactive is to build notifications into your software which alert the user if something is wrong. If people know you’re always helping them look out for something suspicious, they will trust you more.
Building credibility for your cybersecurity startup is all about creating trust and building long-term relationships with clients. Given the right PR strategy, you can build a reputation as the most trusted brand in the cybersecurity industry.
At Pressfarm, we craft PR strategies to help startups build credibility for their brands. Check out our packages and contact us for help with this.