Cloud computing is driving IT spending overall and is predicted to increase 3.2% to $376 trillion with “as a service” models fueling everything from data center spending to enterprise software. Artificial intelligence, IoT, and analytics are key up-sell opportunities for cloud vendors. But to “break out” in such a crowded marketplace, cloud computing startups need to find ways to use public relations and social media marketing to engage with their audiences on a regular basis.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a challenging or time-consuming task. Here’s how to make it happen:

MAKE AN FYI LIST 

Sure, your public relations pros are tasked to “get hits” in the press. You want your story to be written about. But, you also want the people – influencers – who attend conferences, events, speak on podcasts, and get interviewed to be talking about you. And, most of those folks are not journalists.

They may be bloggers or be influential on Twitter, Reddit, or user-created boards. Make a top list of those influencers, follow them on Twitter, and, if you can get a hold of their email addresses (if not direct messaging them on Twitter), send them an FYI when you have a new announcement or perspective on what they’re talking about. Keep those folks informed and educated.

DON’T PITCH FOR PITCH SAKE

Just because you have a new website or updated messaging isn’t a reason to email journalists with a “story idea.” Best to respond to a journalist’s most recent article on a subject related to your business position/differentiation or opine on a recent analyst report – to a journalist – to help them better understand changing market conditions and how your company fits into the narrative.

Another more assertive approach would be to respond to journalists about a recent competitor’s announcement and use de-positioning language and facts to make your case. Just pitching a journalist because you want them to write about your story is a waste of time. You have to help them understand why what you have to offer will build upon what they’ve written, provide perspective, and a new credible source. 

BE AN INFLUENCER 

Myth: Your outside PR person will be a good spokesperson for your business. The public relations consultant will know enough to set up a pitch, pitch, and get you interviews. But it’s your job to convince the reporter to write about your company. Who best to do these interviews than an influencer in your ranks? Why an influencer?

Execs and marketing staffers are generally chalked full with marketing lingo or messaging. Influencers generally have a bigger picture perspective on the market, the competition, and the technology landscape. Luckily, sometimes startups already have someone internally but often they need to make a strategic hire or partner with influencers to get third-party validation.  

Overall, simply pitching press or posting on social isn’t enough. If you want to use public relations and social media marketing to grow your business, regular outreach should be a top priority. By utilizing these tactics, you can ensure growth without wasting your resources.