Here’s the plan: Cultivate a cadre of developer practitioners, have them produce content at a high volume, and break through the noise. Watch the sales numbers shoot through the roof. Inside your company, demonstrate the value of content marketing by using content to attract developers like a magnet.
That’s essentially the strategy.
The tactics and execution may require a little more work on your part, and a slight amount of skullduggery. (Well, you won’t really have any skullduggery. It just makes the work sound less like rolling a rock up a hill and more like being a pirate. Or a double agent.)
Developing Your Practitioner Marketing Strategy
Your practitioner marketing strategy should cover these elements:
- Identifying, cultivating and recruiting practitioners
- Managing practitioner content
- Measuring practitioner/content impact with share of voice
- Content distribution
Cultivating and Recruiting Practitioners
Practitioner cultivation is very similar to sales. It’s essentially customer relationship management. Your ideal practitioner is identified, and then you need leads for practitioners that have what you’re looking for. Since you don’t necessarily need to use content generators with a following, your best bet is to find experts who hang out in developer communities. Depending on the developer you are trying to reach, it could be a community as recently formed as Sweetcode.io or more established like CodeProject.com. Pay attention to social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn, which can help you find developers unafraid to share their opinion. Searching for your tool, your application, or related terms will help you find practitioners who care about your application space in places like Hacker News or Reddit.
Then, you are straight up in relationship management. Contact your potential practitioners, learn about what their goals are, and propose to work with those practitioners with a match between your needs and their goals. This may require more than one tweet, PM, email, or phone call. It should be an ongoing activity, and actually appear on someone’s MBO.
Managing Practitioner Content
Managing practitioner content requires the early recognition that you are using your influence, not your authority, to achieve your goals. Your practitioner on-boarding process should include a written agreement and a voice meeting to answer questions, and clarify expectations. You should make sure your reward mechanism is clear, and that it is tied to delivering quality materials on time. Create a calendar for yourself related to the deadlines for your practitioners, as you will need to keep a firm but friendly hand on your content generation schedule. Make sure you account for practitioner-generated content in your overall content marketing calendar.
Measuring Practitioner Content Impact
The best measure of your practitioner content impact is share of voice. Share of voice is topic- specific, and is the measure of the percentage of a topic in conversation on social media, blog posts, and media outlets—and your company and product are included. Share of voice is a key performance indicator that measures the impact of your practitioner and your company in a particular topic area of importance to your market. It is linked to your brand authority within that topic area, which often dictates your brand authority for a particular use case. This is a long-tail effect that can eventually lead to more leads and revenue by increasing organic SEO and amplifying your message on social media. Share of voice can be measured using the re:each calculator, and it must be calculated by conversation topic over a period of time. Your plan for measurement is important, as it will be necessary to evaluate your practitioners and your practitioner content marketing ROI.
Content distribution on your company blog is a possible route, but you should consider enhancing it with syndication on other platforms. Specifically, a practitioner blog post hosted on your blog but syndicated on Medium or Sweetcode that you can link to in your company blog will enhance and drive traffic to your brand’s blog page. Part of your content management strategy is identifying the best outlets to reach your customer.
It’s hard to succeed at anything without a strategy, and practitioner content marketing is no different. Usually, at least one dedicated person is required to carry practitioner content marketing from strategy to implementation. But the return on investment is worth it.