In any profession, it helps to stay current with what’s happening in your industry. In cybersecurity, it’s an absolute necessity.
The CyberWire is a digital media company focused on cybersecurity news and analysis, intended for an insider audience of leaders and decision-makers within the field.
“We distill the large volume of news in the space down to a manageable set of content that very busy people can consume,” explains Bennett Moe, The CyberWire’s Director of Business Development and Contributing Editor. “We provide them with a one-stop destination where they can rapidly get the precise news they need to know for that day.”
Every weekday, the CyberWire publishes a Daily Briefing followed by a Daily Podcast in the afternoon, both of which curate and unpack every development worth knowing in the cybersecurity space. The CyberWire also publishes several additional podcasts every week, including Hacking Humans, an always-fascinating dive into the latest social engineering threats and scams from around the world.
The CyberWire produces a mix of free and subscription content; their free content is supported by advertising, but unlike other news websites, third-party banner ads and pop-ups aren’t constantly cluttering the user experience.
Instead, The CyberWire team relies on a more targeted, relationship-based advertising model to ensure that readers and advertisers are both well-served. It’s a modern, sustainable approach to running a media company, and The CyberWire uses Nutshell to pull it off.
More signal, less noise
Bennett Moe joined The CyberWire last December as their sixth employee, an experience he describes as “like getting the band back together.” Years earlier, he had teamed up with Peter Kilpe (now The CyberWire’s CEO and Executive Editor) and future CyberWire podcast host Dave Bittner, to create an ed-tech product for educational publishers, turning it into a seven-figure success.
“Peter and I often talked about working together again, and when he co-founded The CyberWire, I knew about it,” Moe recalls. “It sounded interesting, but cybersecurity is not my background—I come from the world of mapping intelligence and education technology. One day, Peter invited me to an event hosted by a bunch of folks who had worked in cybersecurity. Being exposed to the field in a social setting got me interested to jump into it in a professional setting.”
While Moe now has a hand in The CyberWire’s product development, editorial, and strategic development, his primary role is securing and managing the sponsorship relationships that form the company’s revenue base.
“We are very selective in the sponsorships that we promote,” Moe says. “We don’t do programmatic advertising or Google ads pushed out through media, so most of my time is spent developing our sponsorship networks and filling our inventory. Our [content] is popular enough that many of our sponsorship positions sell out more than a year in advance, so we’re very fortunate in that sense.”
Speaking of good fortune, when Moe began working at The CyberWire, the team was already using Nutshell. “Our CEO essentially did his own research, found Nutshell online, and was impressed enough with it that he implemented it” to manage contacts, leads and sales. In fact, the reporting and sales tracking functionality was critical to the company’s ability to impress investors and successfully achieve its first venture round of funding.
With Moe running point on sponsorships, the company began to more deeply leverage Nutshell’s capabilities, and not just on the sales side.
The primary way I use Nutshell is to track our sponsorship opportunities, our leads, and our contacts within those properties,” Moe explains. “Our secondary use, which is equally as important, is tracking contacts in our editorial operation as well.”
We do many interviews with thought-leaders throughout the cyber community, and we have partners and partner companies who we rely on for content for our shows, and Nutshell helps us track our relationships with all those people as well.”
“More recently, we started taking advantage of Nutshell’s email capability to make much more coordinated efforts for lead recapture and follow-up,” Moe continued. “Though we use leading email marketing products to send our newsletter out, it’s not necessarily the best methodology for the types of conversations that we wanted to have with our customers.”
“Nutshell allows me to send bulk and personal emails that are received by the recipient as individual emails—so it’s not going to end up in their spam folder—and then it also gives me some nice visibility on who’s opened it and who hasn’t. I can tailor my follow-ups based on just having that intelligence.”
Beyond the product features, what keeps Moe a happy Nutshell customer is the responsiveness of our support team.
“There are so many companies out there who only want to deal with their customers through written word, whether it’s an online chat or through email,” Moe says. “But with the types of problems that I’m trying to solve by using Nutshell, having a live person at the other end of the line to help hash out what’s in my head and what I’m trying to do makes it so much easier to resolve.
“I’ve worked with Kristen several times and she’s been awesome. I’ll send her an email saying, ‘This is what I’m trying to do,’ she’ll respond with, ‘Okay, let’s talk about it,’ and we’ll get on the phone and start working it out. And if I can’t do exactly what I had in mind, she’ll help me find the root of what I’m after and be creative about alternatives. It’s like, ‘How can we take a different path to get to the same result?’ That’s been incredibly helpful.”
First cybersecurity, then…?
The CyberWire’s strategy of targeting a specific media niche and serving it impeccably has been an unqualified success. The company is running a 40% year-over-year growth rate in terms of readership audience, and they’ve doubled their team size, which has allowed them to increase their weekly production of podcasts, newsletters, and Alexa briefings. “If you have an Alexa, you can set it up and ask, ‘Hey Alexa, what’s my flash briefing,’ and it’ll read your CyberWire briefing to you,” Moe says.
Last December, The CyberWire closed its first round of venture round of funding, which has allowed them to accelerate their growth, but also created additional business requirements, including a board of directors that the team has to report to. Fortunately, their CRM is helping them manage that as well. “Nutshell has enabled us to do much deeper analysis of our pipeline, our sales, our time to close, our sales activity, and our lead generation efforts, and create reports that support the metrics we need to track at the board level.”
The more information we put into Nutshell, the more valuable it becomes.”
While growth of their flagship programming is still a priority, Moe and his team have plans to expand as well. In fact, just this month the CyberWire launched its latest podcast, Caveat, that utilizes the CyberWire’s proven format to discuss the issues around digital privacy that are permeating our modern culture. What’s next? Stay tuned to find out.