Cybersecurity content marketing teams are often thrown into the deep end of the B2B tech marketing pool.
The security space is acronym heavy, crowded, and populated by highly skeptical buyers who expect you to know your XDR from your EDR before trusting your product to stop cyberattacks.
Taking a generic approach to cybersecurity marketing will sink your campaign faster than you can figure out what FIPS PUBS stands for. (“Federal Information Processing Standard Publication,” if you're wondering.)
The good news is that with a proper cyber security content marketing strategy in place, those responsible for marketing cybersecurity products can do a lot more than just tread water.
This is what a successful cybersecurity content marketing strategy does: it gives cybersecurity companies an industry-specific approach to engage decision-makers with convincing messaging.
Here is our four-step guide to developing a content marketing plan for cybersecurity marketing teams.
Cybersecurity content marketing only works when marketers understand exactly how their products/services fit into the broader security solutions marketplace.
In the wider business sense, this concept is called product-market fit, an idea described in 2007 by legendary Silicon Valley VC Marc Andreessen. At the time, he described product-market fit (i.e., having the right product for the right market) as being the “only thing that matters” for start-ups.
A similar theory applies to content. We call this “content-market fit.”
You can have the best white papers, blog posts, infographics, and webinars in the world. But if they don’t feature the kind of content your target audience needs, your content marketing efforts can still fail.
When it exists, content-market fit is obvious. It happens when your content is shared online by other people, starts ranking highly on search engines, and is a powerful lead generation tool.
In the cyber security industry, achieving a content-market fit means being able to answer these four questions:
What benefits do your cybersecurity solutions deliver to your customers?
What are your potential customers' pain points?
How do your solutions fit into the current threat landscape?
How solution/problem aware are your customers?
This exercise will help you spot the content gaps your efforts can fill.
There are always content gaps in a space as fast-moving as cybersecurity. None of your buyers will have a complete understanding of either their problems or the kind of solutions they need to improve their security posture.
Knowing exactly what these content gaps are is at the foundation of any good cybersecurity content strategy.
Once you understand the content gaps that exist within your market, the next step towards a successful cyber security content marketing campaign is to learn about the humans that will consume your content.
This is where personas come in.
Do you know who your business’s ideal customers are?
What are their:
Past experiences with solutions like yours
Levels of solution and problem awareness
Goals with a product like yours
Greatest concerns right now?
The more human you make your buyer personas, the easier it will be to create content they can relate to.
Which persona is easier to create content for?
1. Solutions architect at a mid-sized fin-tech in the EMEA market.
2. Joe, a 45-year-old first-year solutions architect at a fast-growing European fin-tech, who is worried about how his team is going to protect all of the cloud workloads that his company keeps spinning up. Joe also has a young family and is concerned about poor work-life balance in his new role, something that a skills shortage in cloud security is making worse. He can’t hire the right people for half his open spots. He would love to find a solution that makes his environment safer but does not require much attention.
Customer personas are not a one-time thing. People change, and personas should too.
Changing environments and business conditions can cause dramatic shifts in people's working lives, challenges, and aspirations.
For example, your customers' security concerns will be a lot different today than in 2019, when remote work was not really a thing.
Once you know what your content will do (content-market fit) and who will engage with it (personas), you can start planning how to create, distribute, and measure it.
You also need to know what resources you have. For example, budget for writers, designers, and SEO tools, and whether you can contact internal technical experts for consultation on content.
Tip: Before you plan a content calendar, audit your existing content. To do this, make a spreadsheet that includes a link to every piece of content on your website, its purpose (i.e., bottom of the funnel sales, sales collateral, etc.), its publishing date, format, when it was last revised, who owns it, and its target keywords (if applicable).
To plan content, you also need to have clear goals for different content assets as well as your overall strategy.
A common cyber security content goal is to improve SEO. It could also be to boost brand recognition, establish thought leadership in a certain sector, or increase conversion rates.
You might also want to fill content gaps that product and sales teams have identified.
To do this, you need a:
A cyber security content planner will give your team a place to coordinate work.
It can be shared with other stakeholders in the content production process, such as writers, designers, and product marketing teams.
A content planner’s headers might look something like this:
A content planner can give you a high-level overview of what your content is going to do. It can also tell you what kind of relevant content you need to engage your target customers.
A content calendar helps you see what’s coming up.
It should include the :
A list of the content assets your team is working on (or will work on soon).
When these content assets should be completed.
A checklist for ensuring that all the correct attributes (design, meta description, email copy, etc.) are present.
A content calendar is something you can share with your internal team and any relevant contractors.
You might also augment your calendar with project management tools like Trello or Asana to plan and manage your content production efforts.
Tip: Content teams often get confused when using various tools or spreadsheets at the same time. It’s a good idea to limit team members to one system at a time, i.e., a kanban board or Google Sheet.
Once you have an effective system for managing content planning and production, you need to harness the means of content production. Namely, you need at least one cybersecurity writer and designer.
To make it easier for your team to produce content, it is also worth investing in content optimization tools such as Clearscope (to make sure your writers hit the right keywords) and Grammarly (to ensure content quality).
AI content production tools such as Chat GPT can be useful for content ideation and creating outlines. However, you should never publish content from these tools on your webpage.
Even the best content won't deliver results if it doesn't get in front of the right audiences. Here are four methods that cyber security marketing teams can use to distribute content.
Getting your cybersecurity writers to work with your subject matter experts (SMEs) and ghostwrite articles on third-party sites is one of the most effective content outreach techniques.
Websites such as Dark Reading and HackerNoon are always open to contributions from industry experts on topical issues.
You more than likely have access to cyber security SMEs within your organization. Pair these individuals with a cybersecurity writer to pitch and write articles for placement on other sites.
If allowable under the site's terms of submission, you can use guest posts to link back to content assets on your website.
B2B marketers can use B2B social media marketing, i.e., posting on LinkedIn, to share content via newsfeed posts.
To share content through LinkedIn posts:
Pick a talking point from your content.
Break it up into short one/two sentence paragraphs.
Link to your article in the comments section of your post with “to learn more, check the link in the comments section.”
For example, if you wanted to distribute a blog post about five security challenges healthcare security teams face, you could create a LinkedIn post where you list the five challenges and write an introduction that explains how you know this.
“We spoke to two dozen healthcare CISOs about their main challenges, and these were the top 5…..”
This lets readers know you did your research and sparks their interest in learning more.
There are two ways to distribute content through emails:
1. Through a newsletter people subscribe to (or one that goes out to existing clients)
2. Via cold email as part of your sales outreach efforts.
To distribute content through a newsletter, give your readers a conversational entry point into whatever it is you want to say.
Your newsletters should ask questions that lead your readers into them organically and attract attention back to the content you want them to see.
Tip: Use questions for subject lines and preview your email content. Don’t be afraid to use attention-grabbing statements, like “We spoke to healthcare CISOs, and this is what we learned.”
Content can also help boost your email outreach efforts. Pitching prospective customers with something that gives them value, i.e., an article you published that they might learn from, can help spark conversations.
Content can deliver measurable ROI for digital marketing teams by generating and converting leads.
However, to get results from content, you need to measure the right metrics.
To determine what metrics to measure, you have to define your content marketing goals. Here, it is important to separate clear goals for content from fuzzy ones.
Increasing website traffic is a fuzzy goal. Growing the number of first-time visitors to our website’s blog by 50% by Q4 is a clear goal.
Other clear goals include:
Increasing the conversion rate for website visitors signing up for our newsletter by 2%.
Growing the download rate for our case studies by 10% before Q3.
Having 2% of all second-time visitors to our website try a product demo for the rest of the quarter.
Driving a 4% increase in the number of leads coming from our newsletter by Q1 next year.
These clear goals have three things in common. They are specific, measurable, and they drive business growth.
They are not vanity metrics. Vanity metrics for content are statistics that look good but don’t indicate whether or not your content is helping your organization grow. For example, visitor traffic (on its own) can be a vanity metric.
It’s OK to say that traffic is going up. But what kind of traffic is it, and is the increase in visitor numbers actually contributing to your business in any measurable way? Are visitors staying on your site and going elsewhere after they land? If not, it's time to rethink your goals.
Need help with your cybersecurity content marketing? Contact us.
Written by Laura Martisiute