Practitioner Marketing Tech Blogs that Build Trust: Meeting the Expectations of Techies
October 20, 2022
It can be hard to gain the trust of a technical audience, especially if you are selling a technical product. That’s because many people see marketing as inherently deceptive or at least manipulative. (For example, look no further than the title of the book, Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday.) To make matters worse, developers and those in the DevOps industry have a reputation for being particularly skeptical – and they realize that blogging is marketing. This means that creating and maintaining a trust-building tech blog is especially difficult. Yet, it’s especially important if you want to successfully market to developers.
The first and perhaps most crucial step toward gaining your audience’s trust is to meet their expectations. If you don’t, they probably won’t return to your website. Moreover, if they feel like you’ve intentionally misled them, they probably won’t want to use or recommend your product. Thankfully, meeting your readers’ basic expectations isn’t too hard. Just make sure that:
- Your titles match your content.
- Your authors are knowledgeable.
- Your authors are independent.
- Your authors clearly state any conflict of interest.
Simple, right? Following these rules will help you gain the trust of your readers. On the other hand, breaking them can cost your company more than you might imagine.
Tips for Creating a Trust-Building Blog
If you want to create a trust-building tech blog, you need to plan in advance. In fact, integrating the idea of trust-building into your strategy for topic curation and content creation is crucial. The following tips will help you keep focused on winning trust throughout that creative cycle:
- Your topics need to fit your target persona(s). If you’re not attracting the right audience, your blog won’t do you much good. One way to find the right topics is to identify relevant conversations and keep up with what’s happening in them. (You should also analyze how you show up in these conversations. That will help you measure your share of voice and make plans to increase your share of conversation.)
- Your posts need titles that attract your target readers. It’s crucial that each title accurately reflects the content of the post.
- Your blog needs breadth as well as depth. It also needs content that is purely technical – especially for a DevOps audience – and doesn’t mention your product at all. This is essential for creating a blog that is a true resource for developers rather than just a marketing tool. This will go a long way toward improving your developer relations (DevRel) and gaining their trust.
- Be sure that the author’s name is at the top and that any potential biases are clear from the start. Putting the author’s bio at the beginning is a great way to do this. The bio should also show that the author has the DevOps knowledge and experience to write about the topic. If your authors work for your organization, be aware that many readers will view their posts with greater skepticism. On the other hand, if outside practitioners write your posts, you’ll gain valuable third-party credibility. Ideally, 60% of your content should be written by external practitioners.
- Be transparent. You should be proud of the features and functionality that make your product really stand out. But if a post is promotional, you want to make that clear. If you discuss your competitors, make sure to mention at least three. Don’t just single out your biggest rivals or the weakest competition. Also, be sure to mention their strengths. If you do nothing but criticize your competitors, you will lose readers – and their trust – quickly. On the other hand, highlighting your competitors’ strengths adds objectivity that will help you gain their trust. It also demonstrates that you have confidence in your product, which will encourage end-users to have confidence in it, too.
While developers may be famous for their stereotypical skepticism, that doesn’t stop them from reading a good tech blog. You just need to gain their trust. And that takes effort and planning.
By focusing on building trust throughout your cycle of topic curation and content creation, you can win developers over. Be transparent and intentional. Give your audience objective content written by DevOps practitioners from outside your organization. Use your blog as an opportunity to give back to the developer community by providing tutorials and material with practical value. If your blog becomes a resource for developers rather than just a marketing tool, you’ll cultivate strong developer relations. They’ll gladly visit your blog even though they know your end goal is to promote your product. That level of trust makes marketing to developers much easier in the long run.
This post was originally published in May 2018 and updated in October 2022.