Can you write about cybersecurity without being negative?

In cybersecurity, marketing is often negative by default. Here’s how to ensure your content doesn’t trigger your audience’s notification fatigue.

cybersecurity content writing

Cybersecurity can feel like an inherently negative topic. Even if you try to focus on the protection, prevention and peace of mind you deliver, you still have to talk about the many dangers you mitigate for your customers.

But there are good reasons why cybersecurity marketers might not want their content to always dwell on the doom and gloom. How do you put a positive spin on the topic without downplaying the risks – and the need for strong measures to combat them?

In this blog, I’ll look at four ways cybersecurity brands can create strong content – without getting bogged down in the risks, threats and what-ifs.

Why cybersecurity content needs a balanced approach

When writing content for cybersecurity experts, there’s a big reason to avoid too much negative-speak: notification fatigue.

Network analysts and security engineers get notifications about potential threats constantly. Some are legitimate issues that require attention, but these are needles in a haystack of false positives. After a time, they start to tune out all these alerts and alarms.

So when you come in with a big, scary headline and an urgent intro, they’re likely to dismiss this as yet another alert that doesn’t mean anything. They’ll tune your content out, just like they ignore the hundreds of empty alarms that flash up in their monitoring platforms.

And even if they do take notice, the engagement you get from negative content may not be the kind your business is looking for. Research on negative news articles in the US found that while they pique interest, they also cause readers to feel “stress… anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss”; hardly feelings you want your content to evoke if you’re looking for a positive, mutually-beneficial business relationship.

Four ways to balance your content

So how do you strike a positive chord with your content when your entire solution is designed to avoid a negative outcome? When no news is good news, your best-case scenario still talks about the negative – just how you can avoid it.

While it would be absurd to ignore that reality altogether, there are a few tweaks you can make to highlight the wider benefits of your solution and tackle the subject of cybersecurity risk in a more balanced way.

Focus on real benefits

One tactic you can take is to shift the message from the damage your solution avoids to the concrete benefits it delivers. For instance, you can talk about how you offer:

  • Cost savings compared to other security approaches
  • Time savings that can help teams reinvest resources elsewhere
  • A more strategic, proactive approach to security
  • Simpler reporting to stakeholders on the security and cyberthreat landscape
  • Peace of mind to cybersecurity teams and business leaders

When deciding on a different messaging approach, think carefully about what to focus on. Depending on what solutions you offer, some of these messages might not be appropriate. There’s also a chance your competitors are already making some of these claims, and you don’t want to march to the beat of their drum if you can avoid it.

Don’t overclaim the risks

Overpromising is the enemy of all good copy – especially when you’re dealing with a negative topic. Yes, you can say DDoS attacks are a business disruption and impact the user experience. But will they irreparably harm brand image and put the whole business at risk? It’s unlikely, and your reader knows it.

While you clearly want to make your piece stand out and show the real threats out there, don’t get too carried away. Otherwise, you’ll undermine your credibility – and the one quality cybersecurity content absolutely needs is trust.

Avoid the urgency

Most cybersecurity professionals run on a strict time limit. But they know this. They know it intimately, and they don’t need you to remind them. There’s simply no way you can frighten someone that deals with risk for a living. So, if your content tries to scare people, it won’t work.

That’s not to say you should avoid writing about deadlines completely. Release dates, end-of-support deadlines and upcoming events in the cybersecurity world are all great topics for your content. But don’t talk in generalities about how the clock is ticking and how they’re letting cybercriminals get ahead. Cybersecurity professionals are well aware of the pressures they face.

Make it specific

Negative talk is always at its worst when it speaks in generalities. So, if you are going to talk about big cyberthreats and risks, back it up with a specific example to keep your content focused.

Writing in vague terms about irreparable brand damage is tired, and likely to paint your content a dull shade of grey. By contrast, referencing specific big attacks that have impacted brands in your sector (they’re only a Google away) will bring some much-needed colour.

Specifics aren’t just a nice way to make your content stand out – they’re also help your reader build their own business case. Content that shows the reality of high-profile breaches has a way of gaining the attention of senior leadership – helping your customer to win support for new cybersecurity initiatives.

If in doubt, seek a second opinion

A second pair of eyes can give you a great steer on whether your content is too negative (or not negative enough). You can get this from a colleague, from industry peers in other businesses, or you can ask your friendly neighbourhood copywriter.

Better yet, you could ask a specialist tech copywriter that has a bit of experience both suggesting new content ideas, and working with brands to get the right tone of voice. That way, whether you need to tweak your messaging around cybersecurity or make some changes to your tone, you’ll get some good advice.


More posts you might like…

Blockchain Rant

Blockchain has an image problem. So how do you write about it?

What happens when a revolutionary new technology becomes ubiquitously attached to one oft-maligned use case? Just ask someone who's trying to change the world using blockchain.
Writing about Software as a Service

How to write about SaaS

Writing about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)? The key might actually be to not write about it at all. George explains…

Make your writing more effective

Get copywriting tips and advice — direct to your inbox every month: