Dan Naden
cyber security

That’s Thought Leadership

Steve!” the irritatingly persuasive boss shouted.

“Yes, sir. How can I help you?” Steve responded.

“We need to learn about cyber security.” Bob declared with confidence. “Everyone’s getting hacked: banks, retailers, governments. We could be next. Go figure out what we need to do and report back to me next week.”

As Bob retreated back to this office, Steve sat in his cube, petrified with fear and frozen by indecision. He knew nothing about cyber security. He’s heard the news stories about data breaches, shaky authentication schemes, and rogue attacks perpetuated by your next door neighbor or a nation state or group.

Steve stared at his computer. He thought there must be a resource out there to help me with this dilemma. “I have to show my boss that I can deliver a plan and strategy that will keep us safe and secure.”

‘Cyber security Basics’ he typed into Google, hoping to find some guidance.

The results appeared in milliseconds:

-Learn how to build a cyber strategy for your company.

-Never feel vulnerable again. You will be attacked. How will you respond?

Some search results seemed credible, others spammy.

Steve clicked on one that drew his eye. The link read: ‘A step by step plan to build a sound, responsive Cyber strategy for your organization. Learn from the sharpest, most experienced minds in cyber security protection.

The page behind the link was EXACTLY what Steve needed: how-to Webinars, informative white papers, step-by-step plans to educate your boss on cyber security, customized guides based on organization size and IT maturity.

He stayed late that day, and the next; he was learning so much about cyber security. He put together a strategy after watching multiple Webinars and reading countless white papers. He wasn’t the authority (yet), but he was starting to get a read on the landscape.

Steve then remembered a college friend who owned a cyber consulting business.

Steve looked up Greg on LinkedIn and they eventually connected via phone.

“Hey Greg, this is Steve from Cal Tech. Got a minute?” said Steve with excitement.

“Hi Steve. It’s been too long. I’ve got a few. What’s up?” said Greg.

“Are you still doing cyber security work? I remember you being a go-to guy from the creation of cyber security assessments and strategies. I’ve been tasked to come up with a plan to keep our company’s assets safe and secure from cyber attacks.” said Steve.

“Sure. More than happy to help. Why don’t we set up a time to grab a coffee and go a little deeper in your situation? Funny…I was just talking to an IT analyst friend of mine the other day about a similar assignment.” answered Greg.

Over the course of the next week, Steve gathered insight through his online research and conversations with Greg. When he first received this assignment from this boss, he was petrified, unsure of how he’d make any progress. Now, after talking with a trusted friend and leaning on research from a credible online source, he strode into his boss’ office with confidence.

He had a strategy that he knew the boss would like. Most importantly, this was a strategy that would help the company avoid any catastrophic, business-diminishing cyber attack or incident.

Let’s review. How did Steve get to this point? He relied on thought leadership. Greg, his friend from Caltech, always posted groundbreaking research on LinkedIn, and wrote helpful, instructive posts on his blog. From the moment Steve received his assignment, Greg was THE option. Cyber security problems could be solved by knowing, and trusting Greg – a believable, credible, knowledgeable thought leader.

Steve also fortified his plan by searching online. The sources he selected rose to the top of Google by posting relevant, frequent white papers, guides, blue prints.

Thought leadership doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a strategy, leveraging all the different tactics available to today’s modern marketer: blogs, Webinars, videos, e-mail, social, conferences, and more. What is your company doing to not just sell, but to be an influential resource when a prospect needs a problem solved?

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