Imago Techmedia needed support in launching the UK-based, security-focused conference for the first time in Chicago. Walker Sands generated buzz by securing topical placements in local and national media outlets, and industry trade publications. They maintained this media presence by facilitating interviews between attendees and conference speakers. The now annual Cyber Security Chicago event was deemed a success, with over 100 pieces of pre- and post-conference coverage and millions of impressions.
Read the full project overview
Cyber Security Chicago is an annual security-focused conference in downtown Chicago that recently launched in 2017. For the UK-based creators of the conference, the challenge was taking an event they’d successfully run in the UK and translating that to success in the U.S. market.
Imago Techmedia, the organizer of the conference, turned to Walker Sands with a straightforward goal: get this conference on the map, and attract the right audience – thousands of security and information technology (IT) professionals looking to discuss the cyber concerns facing their businesses and network with practitioners that are innovating within the industry.
Launching in a new location, Imago Techmedia knew it needed to drive as much expertise, attendance and media attention to the event as possible. With a deep understanding of the cybersecurity industry and well-developed relationships with cybersecurity trade media, the Walker Sands team kicked off the partnership by setting high-level goals for the engagement.
The conference PR strategy was comprised of three major goals:
- Use thought leadership to increase awareness of the event
- Drive media coverage of the event at both the local and national level, positioning the conference as the midwest peer to the RSA Conference in San Francisco
- Secure media attendance for the event, and turn that attendance into post-event coverage
The team divided its efforts into three strategic phases: before, during and post-conference.
Before the Conference
The goal leading up to the event was to generate broad awareness and drive relevant attendees to the conference. The Walker Sands team addressed these needs through a media pitching strategy centered around landing topical placements in local and national media outlets, as well as industry trade publications. By jumping on timely news topics and using the expertise of event organizers and speakers, Walker Sands secured placements in Forbes, Dark Reading, SC Magazine, Information Age and other top-tier business and tech outlets, positioning the conference as a must-attend event for security professionals.
A month before the event, Walker Sands turned its attention almost exclusively local in order to drive attendance. To generate the most buzz, the team focused heavily on radio and TV, securing segments on Fox, WGN TV, and WGN Radio. These highly visible segments helped create local interest and boost attendance.
During the Conference
The Walker Sands team was on hand during the event to manage the media in attendance – a diverse mix of local and national outlets including Crain’s, Entrepreneur, ChicagoNow, and WGN-TV. The team worked to facilitate interviews between media attendees and conference speakers, resulting in 10 media placements during the conference itself.
In addition, Walker Sands insured media attendees were as immersed in the conference as possible. As Scott Simonsen, a conference attendee and reporter for ISACA, put it afterward, “I can’t believe all the great videos I got over the past two days! Great speakers, great topics of conversation.”
After the Conference
Following the event, the Walker Sands team remained diligent about tracking media coverage and getting the word out about placements secured. Among the notable articles to come out of the conference was a multi-part series in ChicagoNow.
The conference was a hit with Imago Techmedia’s target audience, and its success was well-documented across local and top-tier media. The Walker Sands team secured 126 pieces of pre- and post-conference coverage for a total impression count of 84.3 million.
In fact, the conference was so successful that Cyber Security Chicago is not only planning its second annual Chicago conference – it’s also expanding. In 2018, the event series will grow to include events in Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta, and Walker Sands will continue to support the Cyber Security Event Series as must-attend events for cybersecurity professionals.