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Keeping up with all of the latest developments within the cybersecurity community can be quite a challenge given the fast-paced nature of the industry. Trends seem to evolve by the hour and organizations quite often change their priorities on a daily basis. Yesterday was 5G and government regulations including GDPR and CCPA, and today it’s COVID-19 related ransomware and election security. However, tomorrow might bring something completely new. Regardless of the topics that are top of mind, it’s important for industry professionals to stay as informed as possible. One of the best ways to do just that, as well as educating and networking with other colleagues and coworkers, is by authoring and sharing thought leadership content.

Merritt Group’s partner, Code Red Security, a global IT security PR agency network, recently commissioned a study with Sapio Research on thought leadership content that identified some interesting takeaways and best practices for vendors interested in building their brand and influencing industry decision makers. Their survey, which polled more than 200 senior IT security leaders, including CISOs, uncovered that:

  • Decision makers spend three hours and 20 minutes per week reading thought leadership articles, which leads to 84% (four out of five) of them becoming more likely to work with those who publish thought leadership versus those who do not.
  • More than 60% of decision makers gain respect, trust, and increased perception of an organization as a result of thought leadership content, and 81% of them utilize the opportunity to learn about small cybersecurity companies or start-ups.
  • The five most consumed media content formats included case studies (47%), podcasts (40%), webinars (39%), news articles (39%), and videos (36%).
  • Satisfaction in the content itself was also very high, with 51% rating these thought leadership opportunities as “excellent” and 48% rating them as “good.”
  • 40% of thought leadership content helps them do their jobs better or move their business forward.

The most important takeaway, however, is that thought leadership content directly results in increased awareness and ultimately increased business. So with that in mind, what are the qualities that establish a strong piece of thought leadership and what are the topics and trends CISOs are looking for? The research found five unique factors that, when combined together, equate to an extremely strong piece of content: 

  1. Relationship with the source who shared it
  2. Relevance to current projects
  3. Ease of consumption
  4. Amount of original content
  5. Length or format of the content (i.e., video, podcast, eBook, etc.). 

Code Red’s research also looked into what topics and trends CISO’s were most and least interested in throughout the current landscape. Among the favorites were cloud security (27%), the cybersecurity workforce (23%), and network security (22%), while the least popular centered on the impact of breaches on business (9%) and most cyber-targeted sectors (10%).

To generate authentic, informative, and understandable thought leadership content, subject matter experts must possess direct security industry knowledge as well as content creation. Although it’s easier said than done, finding the right balance between new, insightful information paired with a convenient, digestible format is paramount to utilizing the great tool of thought leadership to build a brand, develop leads, and win new business.

To get a copy of Code Red’s Thought Leadership eBook, please visit here.

Interested in diving deeper into a variety of cybersecurity topics and recent trends? Check out more of Merritt Group’s security blogs or contact us to learn more. Merritt Group is also a proud partner of Code Red Security.

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