Back to Basics
As we all know, content marketing is a marketing strategy to attract, nurture, and retain a clearly defined audience, and that content marketing achieves those goals by offering valuable and relevant information to convert that audience to customers.¹ To resonate with a developer audience, effective content marketing must meet specific requirements. The expectations of the developer audience define the requirements of effective developer-focused content.
There’s a Reason Everyone Says “Code”
“Give developers code“ is the ubiquitous key to developer marketing.
Code shows up as the differentiator for developer-focused content because it is the most concise and useful way to communicate with developers. It is the tool of their trade, and developers find code samples valuable and relevant.
Code also allows developers to understand at a glance whether the content is about a topic relevant to them. For example, they can tell instantly if the code is in the framework and language they are using. It allows them to evaluate if the API is sensible and clean or not. It also signals the values of the brand offering the content. For developers, it best demonstrates whether or not the company cares enough to provide clear means of addressing a problem versus offering hopelessly convoluted code samples that obscure what the content is trying to communicate.
But even if you provide great code, great code isn’t enough.
Developers Look For Solutions
Developers generally find content because they are searching for it, and usually because they need it to solve a problem.² In order to grab developers’ attention, your content needs to meet the following five criteria: relevant, significant, problem-focused, replicable, and usable. Let’s break down these elements of effective developer-focused content.
Offer content that is pertinent to the real issues developers face, and that your company’s product is in a position to help them solve. To satisfy relevance, dig into developers’ complaints about specific problems they need to solve. A company can position itself as an expert by spending time in developer communities like CodeProject and Stack Overflow. Use that research to help define the technical issues that you want your content to focus on.
Relevance alone will only get your content so much attention. To reach a wider audience, technical content should strive for significance. A technical piece should offer something with a strong impact or improvement — not just another adequate approach.
Content has to help a developer do something or solve something. Offer developers content that shows them how to solve a problem or do something appreciably better than using standard methods.
Content that offers solutions to developers is only valuable if the solution can be replicated (yep, code) in their programming environment. So they do need code and an explanation of how to implement it in their programming environment.
Related to being replicability, the solution your content presents needs to be usable in your audience’s development environment. If they can’t prove it works for themselves, then it’s simply not that valuable. If you don’t make it easy for your audience to test your solution, then they won’t believe that you believe the solution will work for them, either.
What makes content marketing to developers unique? The developer audience is deeply technical and highly critical. To engage the developer audience, content must be both valuable and relevant. Effective content marketing for developers is written from a technical point of view, with the technical details that developers need to succeed.