Meet the Media: Black Hat 2016

Samantha Rushovich

It’s a big week for security professionals. Black Hat is a major industry event that draws international attention, from researchers and C-level executives to security architects and analysts. If you’re in Las Vegas this week for the show, then you’ve likely been preparing for some time now. In order to make the best use of time and ensure solid media relationships are made at the conference, it’s important to know what reporters want out of Black Hat.

While some vendors take a similar approach to RSA Conference, others know that Black Hat is a different ball game. RSA Conference focuses more on where the security industry is headed and how. Black Hat, on the other hand, is all about the research. Industry leaders gather to hear what researchers have found in the past year, which vulnerabilities are lurking in networks and apps and what devices can bring down corporations.

With all this in mind, it’s time to take a look at what the media is interested in while at Black Hat. Based on our conversations with reporters attending the show, we’ve pulled together tips and tricks for building the best media relationships at Black Hat 2016.

hand-microphone-mic-hold.jpgSource: used under CC license.

Time for product announcements? Think again.

Black Hat isn’t the best forum for announcing product news or company activity that’s not research-related. Reporters are there to learn about cutting-edge research, exploits and potential future attacks. Black Hat is the time for researchers to showcase what they’ve been working on and the advancements they’ve made. If you’re planning to come out with product news, it will most likely get overshadowed by research announcements.

Instead of product news, take a look at what your research team is focused on and see if there is anything new and exciting you can highlight while at the show.

In-person meetings: You have a 50/50 chance

Many reporters are open to scheduling in-person meetings at the show. Once they start scheduling interviews though, their schedules fill up quickly. You should be in touch with reporters well in advance to get a sense of when they will be ready to start planning their Black Hat calendar.

Often media attendees don’t plan to schedule any in-person meetings at all. They plan to solely attend sessions and write articles based off the presentations. Be sure to respect that preference and offer them press releases, quick fact sheets on new announcements and research reports via email, so they can still be in the loop on all your news.

Friendly invites and embargoed research can go a long way

Everyone likes an advanced look at news and announcements, especially journalists. Since Black Hat is such a busy time, it’s helpful if you can offer your research to them under embargo so they have time to prepare stories in advance. If they hear about your research at the show, they can get distracted by other research, upcoming sessions and keynotes.

Additionally, while sessions are open to all attendees, reporters often appreciate a personal invite to a particular session that might be especially relevant to their beat. It helps to send a personal note that invites them to attend and offer a quick conversation with the presenter after the session, in case the reporter has further questions. Remember, it’s all about building those relationships and making it as easy as possible for journalists to cover your news and research.

We hope this helps you better connect with the media attendees at Black Hat 2016! If you want more tips and tricks for making the most of security trade shows, check out our “InfoSec Tradeshows & The Security Marketer’s Guide to Social Media Strategy.”

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