Defining Developer Content Sharing
Developer content sharing is content about programming/information technology that developers or IT professionals share with each other. Engagement is evidence that these developers care about that content as seen by comments, replies, likes or other digital interactions. To measure developer content sharing and engagement you can easily leverage the tools that content marketers normally use to measure social share and engagement. However, you need to expand your share and engagement search (possibly through the share of voice measurement) to look for shares from other sources like developer-to-developer communities (D2D), specifically in forums, bulletin boards, or other social engagement environments that are developer-specific.
Where Are Developers?
It’s not like developers aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. These traditional social media platforms continue to be necessary to monitor developer share and engagement. However, you should also be looking for evidence that your content is getting shared in developer specific digital environments like D2D communities, developer influencer blogs, and media-specific platforms.
D2D Communities. These are communities of developers, often organized around a certain tool, application, or platform. Select the D2D communities to monitor based on influence and relevance to your content marketing campaign goals. Examples of popular D2D communities according to the developers surveyed by Evans Data Corporation include CodeProject, StackOverflow, CNET, ComputerWorld, and dev.to.
Developer Influencer Blogs. A developer influencer is a regular developer that walks as a celebrity in the developer world. They have a position, an outlet, and an audience. Examples include developer rock stars like Ted Neward, Jeff Fritz, Scott Hanselman, and Alvin Ashcraft. Ideally, your content is compelling enough to deserve a mention as part of a developer influencer’s blog post or other curated content. It might show up in the comments on these sites. It pays to identify and target the developer influencers your audience listens to, and monitor those comments and content for mentions of your campaign’s content.
Media Specific Platforms. Here, I’m defining media platforms as platforms that share content based on the media form of the content. Think YouTube (which has developer specific channels many developers go to to view tutorials and how-to’s) for videos, Twitch for live-streaming content for gamers and developers, Medium and Blogger for text including developer specific blogs, and Quora for Q&A content.
Curation Platforms. These are platforms that don’t require new content but allow community members to post existing, attributed content to generate or respond to discussions. They can be completely developer specific, like Hacker News, or have developer specific forums like Reddit. The curated items are community contributed to promote conversation, often through controversy.
Measuring More than Traditional Social Media
It can be a challenge to measure content sharing and engagement beyond the more broad social networking platforms like Twitter. However, it’s not impossible. One place to look first is in the analytics tools you use to measure what’s happening where you are hosting your content. Referrals from HackerNews, Reddit, Quora, Medium, Blogger, YouTube, and Twitch will show up in your Google Analytics. Once you see those sources, you can visit each site and search for your content and/or brand. Note who is talking about it and what they are saying. This is also true for the D2D sites and blogs. Remember, all these sites will only show up as referral sources if your content link is getting posted, and those audiences are interested enough to click through.
For a more automated method, you can turn to the tools that PR firms use, like Meltwater. Within these tools, one can add RSS feeds from specific blogs and websites. If you are handling this internally you can adjust this yourself. Otherwise, talk to your PR firm and indicate the additional channels that need to be monitored. This can be done as an expansion of an existing share of voice measurement.
For the Road
While most social media metrics platforms don’t easily allow you to measure across all the places you should in order to accurately measure developer content sharing and engagement, it’s possible to focus on KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can easily get from Google Analytics and also expand your PR listening channels to include developer-specific channels. Even better, you’re not just spewing metrics at jaded executives in meetings. Now you’re listening.