Tempted to look for the content marketing silver bullet to reach the modern developer? Here’s a news flash: there really isn’t one. If you’re struggling to select the most powerful type of content to influence or inspire your developer audience and prospects, it’s because the right answer for your practitioner content marketing strategy (or any strategy) isn’t “or.” It’s almost always “and.”
Practitioner Content Marketing
Creating an authentic voice in the fragmented market of tools and services for the modern developer can be challenging. Practitioner content marketing uses the voice of developer and IT practitioners outside your company. This voice is inherently skeptical, looking for problems to solve, and ready to support technical opinions and recommendations with proof (often code level). Recognize that voice? You should, because it sounds a lot like your customer.
And therein lies the superior strength of practitioner content marketing. It holds authenticity, credibility, and persuasive power unlike anything that can come from your company. Use practitioner content to establish thought leadership and brand awareness. Practitioner content is also useful for market education when it focuses on strategic and tactical content including the attributes of a solution or the implementation of a solution (for example, in a specific tech stack).
When to Andify Your Strategy
“Or” can often lead you into a rabbit hole of trying to prove a single decision will be transformational for your strategy. Particularly for content marketing, most elements of your strategy require you to use element 1 and element 2. Let’s look at examples from a practitioner content marketing strategy.
- Identify your goal and metrics. It probably includes some element of lead gen. And it needs to include something more significant, like share of conversation. While individual pieces of content can deliver market-qualified leads, your content ROI goes up when you factor in the share of the conversation your company is getting for a topic important to your customers.
- Determine your personas. Identifying the persona of your practitioner is as important as identifying the persona of your audience, prospects, or customers. They are likely to be very similar.
- Recruiting your practitioners. Practitioner content is best written by practitioners— plural. You will need more than one practitioner’s content to have a convincingly authentic voice in the conversations you have targeted.
- Managing content creation. Practitioners don’t work for your organization. You can rent them—and avoid the management process altogether—by working with a practitioner content-marketing vendor like contentlab.io. You can choose to manage practitioners directly. In that case, you will need an onboarding process and a management process that includes incentivizing, rewarding, and engaging your practitioner authors.
- Content types. It should go without saying, but it’s important enough to repeat. Content should include a mix of thought leadership, market education, and product education to drive awareness, solution definition, and a product decision in your prospects. The practitioner content mix should include everything from blog content, public documentation, tutorials, white papers, ebooks, and webinars. And don’t shy away from rich media. Text is powerful and necessary for digital content, and it shouldn’t stop you from using podcasts, video, and other creative rich media hybrids.
- Content distribution. Selecting the channels to distribute your content gives the three-letter conjunction a heavy load. Placing content on your blog is critical and placing it on a landing page devoted to the technical conversation you want to dominate will increase its value.
- Content promotion. It’s tempting to select one or two promotion channels, but the most effective promotion strategy includes a healthy mix of advertising in developer-to-developer (D2D) communities, D2D newsletters, search, and social.
That’s a Wrap
While some amount of selection is necessary, the most effective practitioner content marketing strategy uses “and” more than “or”. From a healthy mix of metrics to a healthy mix of content types to a healthy mix of promotion tools, your practitioner content marketing strategy is stronger for the diversity “and” brings.