As we head into the second half of 2017, cyber attacks and security breaches are increasing in both size and frequency. For example, information from the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice shows that more than 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred every day in 2016, which is a 300% increase from the previous year. What’s more is that these attacks are now increasingly targeting mobile devices. According to a report from security firm Kaspersky, mobile ransomware has increased by over 250% during the first quarter of 2017.
When these attacks happen, people and business owners look to the Internet to learn whether they have been impacted by the attack directly and what they can do to protect themselves. That’s why it’s vital for cyber security companies to be ready to provide the information that people are looking for and be visible during their time of need.
The hours, days, and weeks after an attack provide opportunities for cyber security firms to establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry and educate their prospects about what solutions the firm can provide to protect them. However, for cyber security marketers to build trust with prospects, they need to create marketing content that is informative and provides value to the reader, rather than offering an extended sales pitch.
Below, we’ll talk more about why cyber security firms need to be prepared to respond to cyber attacks and what companies need to include in their cyber security marketing strategy.
The Importance of Being Prepared
Major cyber security attacks can happen at any time. However, individuals and business owners are often not ready to respond to these types of attacks, leaving them scrambling to find more information about how these threats impact them and what they need to do to minimize this impact. In fact, one report shows that 86% of respondents were not prepared for the WannaCry attack, and 73% of management teams did not have the necessary cyber security resources available. This data suggests that cyber security is not always a priority until attacks like these surface. That is why it is so important that cyber security firms are ready to be visible and provide valuable information to potential customers after an attack occurs.
Having a strategy in place for responding to major cyber security threats will help your firm be more prepared to quickly educate customers and potential customers on what they should know and do in the wake of an attack. A strategy can also help you make sure that your informative content has the greatest reach within your target market.
Being prepared doesn’t just help with turnaround time. It also means that your content will be more effective. Rather than scrambling to produce quality content in a timely manner, your company will already have a strategy in place for how you plan to respond to the cyber attack, which will include what types of content you will create and how you will promote this content to ensure that it gets the exposure it needs during the important time window after the attack.
Competition can also be a challenge after a serious cyber security incident. When a major threat emerges, there will be a significant amount of coverage surrounding it, including information from local, national, and global news channels. However, as a firm that specializes in cyber security, you can often provide more value than this more general coverage. Being able to provide content that is more comprehensive and coming from the perspective of an industry expert will help drive better results while also helping you establish cyber security thought leadership.
It is important to note that not every company offering cyber security solutions will need to respond to every major attack. With the many different types of threats out there, some attacks will arise that do not relate to your company’s specific cyber security solutions. If you want to optimize your marketing budget and use your time wisely, your company should only focus on responding to those attacks that you provide a solution for.
With all of that being said, if you want to be prepared, you will need to have an overall cyber security marketing strategy in place that clearly defines your team roles and initiatives when a major threat takes place. It will also require your cyber security firm to have some marketing collateral already prepared in the event of a newsworthy cyber attack that relates to the reader’s situation. It is also helpful to consider ahead of time how your company’s solutions relate to different types of attacks so that you can include your own value proposition within the content.
What Can Cyber Security Marketers Do to Prepare?
According to Cyber security Ventures, cybercrime will continue to rise, costing companies across the globe more than $6 trillion annually by 2021. If you want to make sure that your company is there to provide valuable information to these businesses in their time of need, you will need to create a cyber security marketing strategy and build out some collateral in advance.
Here at SevenAtoms, we have had the opportunity to work with many cyber security firms to help them create and implement marketing strategies. Based on our experience working with these companies, there are a few things that we would recommend that your cyber security firm do to prepare:
1. Be ready to blog!
Your company blog is one of the best communication channels for discussing breaking news and distributing timely information during a cyber security attack. Blogging allows you to go into more detail about the attack and what it might mean for your customers and prospects. In addition, the blog format is often seen as more accessible to the average consumer or business owner, allowing you to break things down so that they can be understood by those who do not have a background in IT or cyber security.
By putting this type of content directly on your company blog, you can help drive more traffic back to your website. When readers come to your blog post to find out more about a recent cyber security threat, they will be able to navigate to other pages on your site to learn more about your solutions and the value that they provide in helping avoid similar cyber security attacks.
Here is the good example of an informative blog post from our client, CWPS.
As part of your strategy, make sure that you assign designated writers who can create blog content quickly to respond to a cyber attack. These individuals should be knowledgeable about different types of security threats and where your solutions fit in. By designating these individuals ahead of time in your strategy, you will be able to respond quicker and more effectively.
Your company should also have a promotional strategy in place for this blog content. How will you get this content in front of those who need to see it? Whether you use paid or organic channels (or a mixture of both), it is important to decide ahead of time how you will promote this content as time is of the essence when it comes to reporting on cyber security threats.
2. Make sure you have premium content ready to go.
Another great way to prepare your company to be able to respond quickly in the event of a cyber security attack is to have different types of content ready to go ahead of time. For example, having an existing library of premium content that you can link to in blog articles or share on social media can make things a lot easier in the wake of an attack, especially if you already know that this content has proven to be successful in the past.
Given our experience with cyber security marketing, we suggest performing a content audit if you don’t already have a comprehensive list of your content assets. One of the best ways to do this is to create a spreadsheet with a list of all your blogs, e-books, whitepapers, videos, infographics, checklists, and any other content assets. This will allow you to see what resources you have on hand that you can use to provide more background data or relevant information when the new cyber attack surfaces. A content audit can also help you identify any gaps in your content assets, which is helpful in future content planning.
Over the years, SevenAtoms has helped our client Incapsula create an extensive content library
Once you have completed the content audit, you can use this database to quickly find relevant content that you can post on social media or link to in other assets that respond to a recent cyber security attack. If you have created a spreadsheet, you can use the find feature to quickly locate relevant content assets that you can start sharing right away. (For Microsoft Excel, hit Ctrl+F on a PC or Command+F on a Mac.)
3. Focus on social media.
When a cyber attack hits, social media is often one of the first places that people will go to for their news. Social media marketers at cyber security firms need to be ready to leap into action when a serious threat arises. Your company should be sending out regular updates with details on the threat and providing content that helps educate readers on this type of attack.
This is where your content audit will come in handy. Knowing which content assets you already have will allow you to choose the right pieces of content to share with your readers when a new threat emerges. Though you will want to create new, unique content assets that address the specific threat directly, you can use existing content in the meantime to help readers get the information they need to understand and respond to the cyber attack.
If machine reboots and you see this message, power off immediately! This is the encryption process. If you do not power on, files are fine. pic.twitter.com/IqwzWdlrX6
— Hacker Fantastic (@hackerfantastic) June 27, 2017
Use social media to give your followers clear guidance and relevant info
Using the right hashtags is critical to gaining a wider audience for your content. Make sure that your social media team is ready to research the best hashtags to use in order to help your content gain greater exposure.
4. Email your network.
When a cyber attack hits, your network of customers and prospects are going to want to hear from you directly. One of the best ways to prepare for this is to create two simple email templates in advance. One of these templates should address customers who are protected by your solution, and the other should be designed for prospective customers who may not be protected. Much of the content that you create for both these email messages will be similar as you will need to explain what the cyber security threat entails and how it can impact them personally or how it affects their business. However, each email will have a slightly different focus.
In your email to current customers, let them know that they are protected and remind them to contact customer support if they have any questions. For prospective customers, you will want to discuss how your solutions can help them during this attack. Your call-to-action should be clear, inviting them to either get in touch with a salesperson for more information or to try your solution.
One Last Thing
If your cyber security firm wants to provide value to customers during their greatest time of need, it’s important that your team is prepared to respond immediately in the event of a major cyber security attack. In order to quickly and effectively react when the attack hits, you will need to have a solid cyber security marketing strategy in place. SevenAtoms has experience helping cyber security firms develop and implement an effective marketing strategy. If you want to make sure that your company is ready to respond to the latest cyber attacks, contact us today.