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Show Me the Code: Creating Content for Developers

August 28, 2018 - Practitioner Marketing - ,
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

Introduction

If you are advertising to developers, marketing to developers, or if you’re in developer relations (DevRel), you have probably noticed you are messaging to a group of highly intelligent skeptics who are low on patience for any intrusion in their world that doesn’t deliver value. When creating content for developers, keeping this in mind ensures your content gets consumed instead of ignored.

If your developer advertising delivers all message, with no relevant technical content, then to the skeptic, you’re as good as a company without a product.  A message that says, “buy my product,” “use my platform,” or “join my open source project,” leaves your developer audience feeling like they got rolled.

Offer devs compelling technical content instead. Content like hands-on, how-to articles, complete with code. If they buy that, they may buy that you have a worthy product.

Alert developers to content they will value

Walk beside devs in their journey with ad campaigns that guide them through the content they need at different stages of their path to purchase, download, or registration.
  • Awareness. Let developers know you care about them by offering them content that raises awareness of important technical (not industry) issues.
  • Education. Offer technically rich content that allows interested developers to educate themselves on the issues and requirements for their solution. Add code-level content to your developer content marketing if you want to earn their trust. Developer content that smells like meaningless marketing platitudes or a shameless word vomit of your product’s features and benefits is not persuasive in the education phase. This is where you walk developers through and show them how to implement your products with examples of code.
  • Decision. Only when a developer seems like they want to decide on the path forward do you compare features and benefits of what you are offering vs. the competition. Keep it specific and connected to use cases that your end user is likely to encounter.
  • Support. Once your developer is using what you offer, make sure you deliver documentation, case studies and use cases in a variety of formats, including text, videos, and podcasts.

It’s all about the code

While banners, newsletters, and dedicated e-blasts are excellent for top-of-funnel lead generation and brand awareness, content is your opportunity to engage with developers at a much deeper level. This is where your customer meets the code, so to speak.

Promote your code-level content through developer-to-developer (D2D) newsletters or websites where developers look for information to help them code better. You don’t have to write all the content yourself. Tap into developer influencers and sponsor their videos, podcasts, or written interviews about, with, and for developers.

Hang with their crowd. Sponsor developer media sites and developer-to-developer communities to demonstrate your commitment to their professional communities. Host your content in these D2D communities as well.

Helpful content builds your brand, so protect it

Make sure your promotions and content show up in D2D communities, not random media sites, social sites and ads. Whether it is content you create and point developers to, or content that surrounds your ad, use it to build brand awareness and credibility.

Leverage the authority of content written by developer influencers to persuade developers toward your brand authority. Avoid undermining the brand you are building by making direct buy advertising choices to ensure that your ads show up near technical content that persuades (and not next to some random, offensive video).

Code compels, empty advertising repels

Whether it is content you create or content that surrounds your ad, persuasive technical content helps you build your brand with developers. Content that sells better includes some code and concrete tactics developers can use to solve their problems right now. Advertising that ignores content is empty and irritating, particularly to a tech audience.

Just as within your product, API, or open source project, persuasive advertising requires content that delivers a good developer experience. Start with content built around code and place it in a D2D community site or newsletter filled with code-level content. Then watch as developers will treat your ad and company as a welcome gateway to the killer code they crave.


Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups. 

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