#Cybersecmonth – it’s noisy out there, but is anybody listening?

Caroline Coventry

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We often talk about “finding a hook”. Something that will make a story feel really timely and relevant to the audience – and therefore be widely seen and shared. #Cybersecmonth is a campaign run by the EU (and US Government in tandem) in October to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats and how people can protect against them. This timebound event gives companies the opportunity to ride on the coattails of the EU’s initiatives and get in front of the swathes of audiences who are now tuned in to cybersecurity content. But are people really listening?

We took a look at the data to see what’s happening.

There is a lot of noise on social – but unfortunately it’s almost entirely one way

#cybersecmonth is busy with mentions alongside campaigns and news from brands in the space. From traditional cybersecurity companies to big tech behemoths like Siemens and IBM, it’s clear all are looking to educate and inform to help promote the good fight. And at first glance it looks like the campaign is achieving cut-through, however dig a little deeper and comments and shares are few and far between. The target audience might be seeing the content, but they aren’t engaging with it.

The only posts that generated more than 25 likes for this year’s campaign were from the EU itself around its #thinkb4Uclick campaign. The picture is the same in the US, where the Government’s #BeCyberSmart campaign has received little engagement beyond their official posts.

Journalists are saturated with cybersecurity news and content

A meme tells a thousand words. Danny Palmer (senior ZDNet reporter) drew inspiration from Game of Thrones White Walkers to describe his experience:

It’s reflective, however, of how many security and tech journos are feeling this month. Overwhelmed, fatigued and ultimately switched off to the noise. To them, it’s likely none of this is new, it just makes it harder for them to dig out the real ‘news’ landing during the month of October!

News coverage of the event is low

It’s hardly surprising that journalist fatigue is reflected in the media coverage numbers. There were only 468 English-language mentions of Cybersecurity Month, mostly within the US media. Coverage centres on announcements from the US Government, which made significant promises to address the urgent threat after the reality of the likes of the Colonial Pipeline hack. Real news.

The overall picture for #cybersecmonth may not look brilliant. But for the EU and US Governments, it serves as a focal point in the year to get some positive initiatives out to the public and hopefully prove cybersecurity is a growing threat that is being taken seriously. Even if engagement is low now, the tips and advice content will live on well beyond the end of October. Anything that helps educate people around how to stay safe is a worthy and worthwhile initiative without question.

For cybersecurity companies though, it’s no time to jump on the bandwagon without real news that will get you the cut-through you’re looking for. While education is one thing, our analysis shows that your £s and $s may be better spent elsewhere this month – delivering more airtime and differentiated storytelling.