Media Training, Public Relations

A How-To PR Guide for Navigating RSA

By Jenna Saper | On April 15, 2015

The internationally renowned RSA Conference is considered the world’s largest information security event, attracting nearly 30,000 attendees every year and featuring everyone from major industry players to startups. The content that comes out of RSA is more valuable and attainable than ever before, given today’s evolving cyber threat landscape in our digitally connected world. This year the conference is making its way over to San Francisco on April 20th.

From a PR perspective, one of the most important things to understand is how to navigate this massive event in the most effective way so that the experience is maximized. Here are a few PR tips to keep in mind to ensure a productive and beneficial time at RSA.

Securing Press Meetings

Securing on-site meetings with RSA press attendees is one of the most important activities for garnering event-related media coverage. However, competition for the media’s time at any industry conference is fierce, especially one as prominent as RSA. As a result, it’s imperative that your client has a compelling offering that will make reporters want to engage during their limited availability. Recommend to your client that they come out with a product announcement, a newly launched initiative or a research study/survey/report in conjunction with RSA to entice media.

Anticipate Security Coverage

If your client does not have a new announcement being released in conjunction with RSA but still requests on-site press interviews, hook reporters with some type of unique and relevant offer. Offer a conversation with your client’s leading executive about an interesting finding from a particular session, or even connect a previous report of your client’s that relates to a major RSA 2015 theme. This year, reporters are going to be keen on discussing trends including cybersecurity threats involving the government/homeland security, the debate over cloud computing security and Identity and Access Management (IAM).

Plan Ahead

Keeping in mind the importance of securing on-site briefings, remember that journalists’ schedules fill up as early as two months prior to the event itself. Because of this, pitching on-site meetings should start approximately six to eight weeks ahead of time. While reporters may say that they don’t know their schedules so far in advance, you’re at an advantage because you’re getting on their radar and if they’re interested in meeting with your client, they will likely reach back out to you. As a backup option, provide your client’s exhibitor booth number so that the reporter has that information on hand if they’re interested in stopping by without having to schedule a formal meeting.

On-Site Coordination

If you’re able to secure on-site interviews and are lucky enough to get to attend RSA with your client, your most important role will be being a “facilitator”. Your client’s media spokesperson will likely have their schedules filled top to bottom, so serve as their organizer. Prior to the event, share a full RSA briefing schedule with the ABCs of each interview, including background information on the publication/reporter, the interview topic, the meeting location and any other resources they may need on hand for the meeting (i.e. a copy of a report, a press release, etc.). Stay in frequent touch with your client contact and remind them of each pending interview a few minutes in advance so they’re prepared. Accompany them to the interview and provide introductions between the client and the reporter. Once the interview begins, take detailed notes and at the same time, be mindful of the time. If the conversation is going over schedule, don’t be afraid to interject so that it can wrap up and everyone can move on to their next booked item.

It’s important to keep these tips in mind not just for RSA, but also for all major industry conferences. Remember that vying for journalists’ attention is no easy feat, but with the proper planning, securing on-site interviews will bolster yours and your client’s media relationships and increase the chances of being included in event-related coverage in target publications.

Jenna Saper

Jenna is an Account Supervisor at Affect, where works closely with her clients on day-to-day account activities and assists the communications team in carrying out long-term goals. Jenna is primarily responsible for media relations and content development. Jenna joined the Affect Team from Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where she was an assistant account executive in the Corporate Communications department.