In the last week, I spent most of the week at the two primary security shows in the UK – Infosecurity Europe and B-Sides London for my full time job.
Now I could give you a run-through on the week’s events and tell you who I met, or alternatively I can give you the shows from my perspective.
While for most people the shows last 3 days, for me it is about 10 – a previous week of pre-briefs on reports and launches that will take place during the show, a week of back-to-back meetings and sessions where I look for a story, and the week after where you catch up with those you met or didn’t get time to talk to beforehand.
Of course from a journalists’ perspective, the week of the shows is one continuous string of vendor and people meetings, interspersed with sessions and an attempt to write and check email. Not seeking sympathy of course, if I didn’t like it I would go and do something else, and RSA USA/Europe aside, it’s one period a year.
One of the key features, well annoyances of the infosec period (I’ll stop calling it a week) is the PR fest in trying to grab a slice of time. As I said I call it a period as I pretty much fill 3 weeks due to the level of interest in my time!
So I am not one for PR bashing, and among the tons of meeting requests I usually face, the one thing I expect would be interest to PR and marketing people is how people like me work.
I cannot speak for others, but my process isn’t on who comes in first, instead on who comes in with something interesting.
This year, I decided to spend a period day at B-Sides so I was infosec for 2 days. In the weeks before, I selected some speaking sessions I wanted to attend and then approached those people and companies I wanted to attend; this left me with a few slots to do some more meetings and I picked those from the PR and marketing emails I received.
So anyone who says ‘we shouldn’t email the members of the press ahead of a show’ is wrong – I welcome approaches but will probably only accept 10% of what is offered to me, take some pre-briefs for the week before and if time allows, book something for the Monday before too.
What I guess I am saying is if you want to land a journalist meeting at a show, go in with a good point to raise, an announcement (you know we love exclusives) or that person whom is rarely available. Also if it is a no, don’t whine that I never gave you a chance – that’s guaranteed to stop me taking any interest in what you have to offer.
I may sound like I hate the shows, I don’t – a busy junkie like me loves the vibe and access that shows offer and it is better than a day in the office in my view.
Also if the truth be told, when Infosec is over on the Thursday, after all that build-up, I feel a slight disappointment. After all, all that work has been and gone and I’ve got a stack of interview notes to filter through!