Chris Cochran and Ron Eddings are two very special guests on this episode of Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing. Chris and Ron are from Hacker Valley Media, the producers and sponsors of this podcast. Gianna and Maria chat with them about successful content strategy and marketing in cybersecurity, digital marketing successes and failures, and they drop hints about what to expect in their workshop at Cyber Marketing Con 2022. Timecoded Guide: [01:51] Successful content marketing strategy in cybersecurity
[05:32] Successes and failures in cybersecurity marketing strategy
[15:01] Cyber Marketing Con workshop hints and teasers
What does a successful content marketing strategy look like in cybersecurity? Putting out content, including audio files, is just the beginning. You have to put out valuable content that’s not always looking to make the sale or fill the sales funnel. It’s also important to know that content strategy and successful marketing campaigns will change over time. You might be completely sold on your cybersecurity marketing strategy only to realize a few months later that you need to pivot. So putting out valuable content but staying flexible is key.
“Everyone should have a content strategy. If you're in business, you have to do content. That's just the name of the game these days.” –Chris Cochran
What are some successes and failures in cybersecurity marketing strategy? One of the biggest failures in content marketing strategy is when you’re trying to entice someone to come to an event but don’t give them any more information. The company tells the audience when and where but leaves out exactly what the event is about. That’s not enticing, that feels like the company is simply trying to fill out their sales funnel. They're not addressing pain points.
One of the biggest content marketing strategy successes is giving value to your community. Yes, you need to think about business objectives. But if all you’re doing is selling, it’s not a two-way conversation with your audience. It’s an inauthentic ad campaign when it's not offering value.
“So you have, whether it's a lead, whether it's me signing up for a demo, but I don't necessarily feel invited to this event, I feel invited to your funnel.” –Ron Eddings
“We can also serve people instead of sell to them in order to really build that community, build that engagement with everyone that you're trying to speak to.” –Chris Cochran
What kinds of things can Cyber Marketing Con attendees expect from Chris and Ron’s workshop?
Everyone wants to start a podcast, but not everyone will be successful at it. There are so many details to figure out, from platform to people to solutions to problems. Chris and Ron are going to help people learn how to start and submit your podcast effectively. And even more importantly, how to record and edit a popular podcast that actually has meaning and value to podcast listeners. You’ll learn the tips and tricks Chris and Ron didn’t know when they launched their first podcast.
“I would say the thing that we're going to talk about the most, some might say that it's harder than it looks: making a podcast that has impact. I would say podcasting is more nuanced than it looks.” –Chris Cochran
Get tickets for our upcoming Cyber Marketing Con 2022.
Spend some time with our guests Chris and Ron on their website.
Follow Gianna on LinkedIn.
Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn.
Hey, before the show starts, we want to let you know that the Cybersecurity Marketing Society's annual conference, Cyber Marketing Con 2022, will be held this year, November 16th through 18th in Arlington, Virginia, and yes, there will also be a virtual option.
You really don't want to miss it. We'll have two days jam-packed with cybersecurity marketing strategies, ideas, metrics, insights… it's going to be the place to be. Visit cybersecuritymarketingsociety.com and click on “Conference” to grab your ticket. We'll see you there.
Welcome to the Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing podcast!
Where we explore the hottest topics in cyber marketing, interview experts, and help you become a better cybersecurity marketer. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing. I'm one of your trusty hosts and head of launch today. And with me is my trusty co-host
Gianna with her and second-in-command of launch.
And we have super, super special guests with us today. Very dear to our hearts, our number one champions since day one. Chris and Ron from Hacker Valley. We're going to talk content, we're going to talk podcasting, we're going to tease out some of the things they're going to be doing at Cyber Marketing Con this year November 16th to the 18th. And it'll be an awesome episode. Chris and Ron, thank you so much for being with us today. And welcome.
Thanks for having us. Thank you.
So let's jump right in: each of you give us your version of what looks like a successful content strategy in cybersecurity. With your vendor hats off, of course.
No, of course, yeah, vendor hats off. Everyone should have a content strategy. If you're in business, you have to do content. That's just the name of the game these days. But honestly, putting out content is just the first part, right? You have to commit to putting out content, putting out valuable content, don't always look to make sales or fill that funnel. Providing content is one of the most important things that you can do as a business and even as a person that cares about their own personal brand.
Yes, and you know what the challenging thing is for people in cybersecurity marketing or outside cybersecurity marketing is the content strategy changes over time, like you'll create it one day, and you'll feel so great about it. And then maybe even a month later, it might even be a week later, you're like, “Hmm, this isn't exactly what I thought it was, when I was working on the original strategy. I need to adjust and realign.” And you might need to keep doing that until you find that sweet spot. That's what we've learned at least.
So you both made the pivot from practitioners, to marketers, content creators, and literally every hat there is under the sun when it comes to running your own business and creating a true media company. What's your opinion of the marketing, the marketing, now that you're on the other side of the table?
I would say it’s interesting, because everybody has their own tactics and strategies. And to me, some of them don't make sense. Some of them make a lot of sense. And there's such a wide variety. There's so many people in this industry that come from many walks of life, whether they're a practitioner, or even on the marketing side. Even my wife, for example, she started as a physical therapist really focused on pelvic health for women and men. But now she's in cybersecurity marketing and she's really great at it. She's able to take some of those communication skills as she learned over time, because talking to someone about their pelvic health is very personal. A lot of people don't want to speak about it. So she has to invent ways to engage people, make it interesting, make it relatable, make it seem like they're not alone. And I think we have a lot of people like that in cybersecurity marketing, which is why it's such a wide swath of what you'll see on LinkedIn and email at events and the like.
I think everyone's in a nascent stage in this new field of marketing, I think before it was very sales-centric. Now, I think you're getting to sharing that limelight with sales and brand. So I think more folks are getting into the content creation space. But I think there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to creating content, whether you're talking about just social media content, video, audio. So I think that we're really, really early on, but I think a lot of folks are really starting to see the value in creating content.
Sounds like we need more empathy in marketing from the example you gave, Ron, and really trying to connect on a personal level.
I gotta say I wanted to add to that as well. That's exactly what we don't see enough of. We had the opportunity to speak to you all, but also Danny Wolf, and really understand the passion that some marketers have for understanding the industry, understanding the subject matter expert, or the customer, you're speaking directly to them. And I think if we did more of that in marketing, we would see the world change.
Ron, I'm gonna pick out one thing you said a little bit ago, and you said some marketing, now that you're in and on the other side, some you see you're like, “Oh, boy.” Without naming the vendor, can you talk a little bit about what you think does not work or isn't effective, from what you've seen, now that you're here on this side of the house.
I thought you're gonna let me get away with it. I love some stuff, I hate some stuff, the things that I don’t — the things that I don't necessarily love are the “Come join us here.” Like, “We have this over here. It's at 7pm and I'm not going to tell you anything about it, but come join us.” To me that seems a little unauthentic? Like, do you really want me to join this event? Or is there an ulterior motive why you want me to join it? You're describing it like I'm gonna get some value out of it. But what it appears though, like through the marketing, through the social copy, even through the imagery, it seems like you just want me to click it. So you have, whether it's a lead, whether it's me signing up for a demo, but I don't necessarily feel invited to this event, I feel invited to your funnel.
Oooh, that is really good. I feel like that's the title of this episode, right, Gianna?
That was a good one.
Don’t invite me to your funnel!
Don’t invite me to your funnel. Ron and Chris, I think you guys do a really good job with that with your content, because you have LinkedIn Lives. So yeah, someone can like sign up for a live but a LinkedIn Live, like it's just an unobtrusive moment in time that's within the feed, like on LinkedIn, right? You don't even have to submit all your details or do anything, it kind of lives on LinkedIn, it seems more authentic. For some reason, at least from my perspective.
Yeah, I would say part of that is honestly just giving, giving value to the community. I think that's the thing that we've probably missed the most in marketing. Of course, we have business objectives that we're trying to get to, but we can also serve people instead of sell to them in order to really build that community, build that engagement with everyone that you're trying to speak to, because that conversation is two ways. You know, they give you information, you give them information. And there could be an exchange there and only when there's an opportunity where you can serve them with your product, or whatever your service is, when you commit to that ask.
Yeah, I think as marketers too, we all try to do this. It's hard, because a lot of times we don't come from the community, right? We are not X practitioners that are now doing marketing. And so to sound authentic, and to truly just come up with content that seems — well that is valuable — but also comes from this generous, giving mindset. It's hard to pull that off, when it isn't deep down inside truly what it is, it's fabricated in a lot of ways. And the community smells the bullshit so yeah, that's why not everybody gets it.
I would say to that point, you don't necessarily have to be the one speaking. Marketing could be the vehicle for that conversation. You could pull folks from within your company, you can even pull from your own experiences. But you can even almost pose it as like a question. And in fact, one of the mentees that I have, she wanted to start putting out content, but she's relatively new to cybersecurity. And I said, “You don't necessarily have to have the answers. You don't have to say, ‘Hey, this is exactly what we do X, Y, and Z and why we do it.’ You can pose great questions and great questions cause conversation and those conversations enable you to learn, but it doesn't only enable you to learn, it enables everyone to learn at scale. So you don't have to necessarily have all the answers. Just having the right questions is good enough too.”
That's so true. So valid. What about your journey so far, since you've joined the Axonius family, and you truly truly wore that full-time marketer hat. Tell us a little bit about what it's been like.
It's been like going to the school of hard knocks in the best way, because we have our practitioner's mind and we know what we would love to see. And what we would love to see doesn't necessarily equate back to everyone else. So we have to really find the opportunities to learn about how marketing really works underneath the hood, because there's a lot of pieces that go into it. I think there's a lot of elements that are unappreciated or that go less than appreciated. And that goes all the way from strategy for, “Hey, how are we going to formulate this campaign? It's going to run all year long.” And then the design. Having a great designer design and articulate that message visually? Wow. The social copy, I think copywriters, mad love for them as well. Now that I'm on this side, because when we met Maria, you came to us wanting to learn more about Hacker Valley, a little bit about cybersecurity. And you also came with the opportunity to help teach. And we were taking everything like a sponge. I think there's this big piece that cybersecurity practitioners can learn from marketers. And that's how to sell your content, like Chris was just describing. You may feel afraid that your content isn't gonna resonate. But all right, well, you just need to add that sugar and honey on top, make it look great, make it inviting, and make it sweet for everybody. I think, you know, making that pot sweet for every one is very magical. And what we've done at Axonius, and since our partnership with them, is really focused on new shows, we have technically divided. That was a huge undertaking for us, especially with all the other things that we have going on. And now we're able to see like, “Hey, this is how we were already creating it. This is how we elevate it. And this is how we also have marketing help drive some of the engagement to the content.”
And now we'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and producers Hacker Valley Media. Chris Cochran and Ron Eddings run an amazing studio here, which produces not only the Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing podcast, but a bunch of other shows that you're gonna want to listen to as well. So all these shows plus more, and then on top of that, probably even more coming soon, are available to look at, listen to, and sponsor at hackervalley.com. Make sure you go over there and say, “Hey, Gianna and Maria said I should come check out your website, listen to your shows, and sponsor a podcast or two.”
The relationship with Axonius has been invaluable to us as creators, as folks that work with marketers on a pretty regular basis. We've worked with marketers in the past when we do sponsorships through Hacker Valley, but really being embedded with the marketing team, working with the different functions, really understanding the nuts and bolts, the difference between brand and demand gen. Understanding some of the more advanced concepts within marketing I think has been super, super valuable for us because now we know exactly what goes into marketing. We can also see where we can help folks from time to time when it comes to creating content and understanding, like voice and how do you reach and resonate with the community that you're trying to speak with?
Love it. Now that you've been immersed, you can even lend a helping hand to marketing. Give them a little expertise of your own. And we're so excited to have both of you come actually and give a workshop to the marketers who are attending Cyber Marketing Con 2022. For listeners who skipped past the intro where we advertise the conference, cCyber Marketing Con 2022 is our third annual conference but the first time we're holding it live. It'll be in Arlington, Virginia, November 16th through 18th. And it's three days of strategy, of diving deep into demand generation, digital, and also networking with tons of other cybersecurity marketers, building co-partnerships, co-marketing relationships, and attending a bunch of awesome workshops. One of which is what Chris and Ron are going to be teaching: how to make your own cybersecurity company podcast. Now we're so excited for that.
Oh, beyond excited to even just be at the conference. We've been at both of those. We were probably one of the earlier members in the Cybersecurity Marking Society. Do you remember how many members you actually had when I came to that first meeting?
Yeah you were one of the first 10.
Wow, yeah, and how much it's grown since then is really mind boggling. And it's really awesome.
Yeah. And guess who else was part of the first 10? Yeah, Nathan Berg. And it was shortly after that Ron joined, which is insane.
It was so awesome. Meeting Nate and seeing how folks were thinking outside the box. He was really excited about the CAMEO stuff that he was doing at the time. The relationship between Hacker Valley and Cybersecurity Marketing Society has been one for the ages, helping each other out from time to time and just being in each others’ universe, I think has been something that's been really special for me.
I mean, same for us. We wouldn't be doing this podcast if it weren't for you, too. And pushing us and telling us, “Yes, you can do it. Don't let it be just an idea, actually get it done, get a couple of microphones and start talking.” It's gonna be almost a year soon right after the New Year.
That flew by.
So what sort of titillating tidbits can you give us for what you're kind of going to go through on your workshop at Cyber Marketing Con. Give the audience, give them a little teaser, give them something to get excited about.
Not too much though. Because we want them to get a ticket and come to the conference.
Come to the conference! Come meet Ron.
You gotta come through, it's gonna be so worth it. Everyone wants to start a podcast, even YouTube came to us last year we're like, “We want to start a podcast, we want to bring cybersecurity marketing and help people break through, not just from an entry level point, but break through and reach their audience.” There are a lot of organizations that want to do the same thing with their own problem space, whether it be cybersecurity endpoint detection and response, or something in technology as a whole, like laptops, maybe selling laptops, but there's a lot that you can do with a podcast. Because one, you have the stage for it. Two, you have the people, the people internally to your company that are building out solutions,or helping people solve problems, like those are great, great hosts. And then you have everybody in the industry and joining our workshop, you can get some insights on how can you harness and capitalize on this opportunity that's really in front of everybody? And it's almost free, depending on how you do it.
Mm hmm. Yeah, I would say the thing that we're going to talk about the most, some might say that it's harder than it looks: making a podcast that has impact. I would say podcasting is more nuanced than it looks. There's a lot of little things, a lot of details that you have to keep in mind when starting a podcast, launching a podcast, finding that formulation, figuring out the medium, figuring out all the little details that goes into a podcast all the way through the album mark. So really understanding like, what are some of the “gotchas” or though “I wish I would have knowns” that we had to figure out on our own. I didn't read my first podcasting book until about two years in and there were pros and cons to that, because we did go to the school of hard knocks, figured out a lot on our own, and even invented some ways of doing things that we don't think a lot of people are doing. But then we were able to go back, get a little bit of that traditional education and podcasting and now marry the two together to do something pretty cool that we could bring to everyone else.
Awesome. I'm so excited for that. This is going to be amazing. People are almost going to walk out like with a podcast plan in hand, basically, you know, they're gonna come in, they're going to listen to the wisdom of you two and then they're gonna be like, “Okay, I've got like, my name and my content and a rough draft of what I want the album to look like. And I know the platform and the tech and everything.” And we're so excited for that. Now
Now we just need to get Zencaster to sponsor and give free microphones to everyone who attends.
That would be a good invite. Then Zencaster Road, sure.
Yeah tell us all the vendors we need to hit up.
Zencast, Are you listening? Is it like Zoom where everyone's listening to your calls? I'm sorry.
Practitioners when they think about that.
No comment. (laughter)
Should we play our game? Yes. Okay. So, Ron, and Chris, we've loved having you on. We can't wait to have you at the conference. And we're so excited and happy that we got to meet you. That got really sappy. Anyway, um —
I’m here for it, yeah. I mean, tell us how much we mean to you, we changed your life. Yeah, just go through it.
Okay! You mean so much to us. You're the shining stars in our night sky, and the sun and the moon. And thank you. Now that I've said all that, I think we're gonna change your life because we're gonna guess what you would be doing if you were not doing what you're doing today, which is our game that we play at the end of every show.
I’ve been waiting for this one. I'm excited about it.
Oh, this is gonna be so tough.
Okay, rules, rules. One: it can't be podcasting slash media. Two: it can't be cybersecurity. Military also, I think so, those are the three off the table.
Okay, I can go first. Okay. So Chris, I think you'd be a professional dancer, backup dancer or frontline dancer, or whatever, because I've seen you move. And then Ron, I don't know if this would be cheating, but I think maybe like a radio host, radio show host…?
That’s such cheating, Maria! (laughter)
Ron, you'd be in physical therapy. I don’t know!
Me and Monica would switch roles.
Gianna, you go.
Okay, so Chris, this is only because you dropped a hint about Bora Bora. I think you would like, be like, running a line of cruise ships. Or like maybe a custom travel company. Like “Come with me, Chris Cochran, and my family and we're gonna show you Bora Bora.” Which —
I love it. I love it a lot.
And then Ron would be an artist, like a painter. That is my guess. Okay.
Now that I'm looking at your background, why didn't I get like, yoga instructor, meditation, or maybe like a holistic doctor? All of those things are so many hints behind you —
Well, change it real fast, Maria
Alright, holistic doctor. All right, how bad can we do?
For me? You did great. I was a dancer before the Marine Corps. If I could continue that, that would be pretty cool. But I will say I do like Gianna’s idea of having like a fleet of cruise ships. I probably will make a little bit more money with that versus dancing but I can see both happening.
Yeah, like below deckL: Chris Cochran?
Yeah, maybe I do the cruise ship thing. And then on my cruises, the lucky cruise ship, I get to dance, perform a little bit. So then I can have both there.
Mm hmm. There we go. Nightly show.
For mine, Maria, you stuck and fourth quarter with the buzzer beater. I would definitely be something that is involved with others. Like, I would love to be a yoga instructor. I did that for two classes before. And I couldn't do it because of my job and family and all that. But I love going through things that are a process. So anything that is working with others that's going through a series of steps, especially like yoga, because there's only so many variations. I love those transitions from step one to step two.
I love that.
Maria, I think you won!
Yes! Yes, I never win!
Congrats. Thanks, Ron and Chris, for being on the show today.
Yeah, it's always such a good conversation. You all have so much wisdom and so much advice that every time we talk, I feel like we get something different. And we're like, “Oh yeah, that is so true, I’m going to write that down.”
We feel the same way about you two. You're always working on something.
Thank you. Thank you for your support. Thanks for being on the show. We can't wait to see you in November. And by the way, Chris did promise those moves in November so we're gonna be there and we will have entertainment in a DJ and music so you'll have no excuse.
You all have to join me though.
Everybody has to join.
Yes, Ron and Chris, how can people find you if they want to reach out and sponsor a podcast or learn a dance move or… yoga?|
Yeah, you can reach us at hackervalley..com. That's the best way to get to our content. Definitely join us on our Discord. Our Discord is poppin’ with all sorts of practitioners and content creators and people even outside of cybersecurity, and you can easily get to that at hackervalley.com forward slash Discord.
All right, that's it for our episode today. Thanks for listening. If you haven't given us 10 stars yet, please do so. You can just do five stars in this episode then 5 stars the next episode and that’s 10 stars. Tell your colleagues, your friends, everyone in cybersecurity marketing that this podcast exists. And if you want to be on the podcasts, hit us up at podcasts with an S at hackervalley.com.
See you soon!