Why Ask a Developer?
It can be dangerous to rely too much on anecdotal evidence. That’s why we often work from data collected by organizations like Evans Data Corporation, SlashData, and their ilk. But sometimes it pays to run an idea, question, or assumption by a member of the audience (MOA) — in this case, a developer. Sure, there are as many answers as there are developers, but often interesting nuances emerge. And not surprisingly, overarching themes told at a human scale often bear out what is learned at a population scale. That’s why we asked celebrity developer and Twitch Live Coder Jeffrey Fritz to ask fellow developers some of the questions technical content marketers want answers to most.
Meet Alice Brosey
Where Do You Go for Tech Content?
It’s perhaps not surprising that someone who offers her Twitter handle as an identifier loves to use Twitter to start looking for information. While Evans Data Corporation’s survey, “Developer Marketing Survey 2019,” points to a mere 2% of developers who responded and have admitted to finding content from Twitter outreach or ads, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t heading there to actively search for or curate content from the developer community. In fact, the same survey shows that while Twitter ads may not reach developers, 22% go to Twitter for skills development, 30% go for career development or reputation, 36% go for industry news, and 12% go to solve a problem.
For a deeper dive, Brosey reveals that she simply uses a search engine. She relies on SEO getting her the most relevant content to her search. And that leads to a very interesting point Brosey makes about tech blog-style preference.
What Makes Content Developer-Friendly?
When asked about what makes for a developer-friendly technical blog, Brosey cites good organization and use of terminology. In fact, part of the reason she relies on search algorithms to deliver the best answer to her search is because she believes that content that is easily discovered by a search engine is also written in a clear, easy-to-search, developer-friendly way.
The importance of having visually scannable technical content is supported both by data (Evans Data Corporation’s 2019 Developer Marketing Survey) and a number of Ask a Developer interviews. This is a recurring theme when talking to developers about what makes content developer-friendly.
Of course, Brosey wants sample code! Brosey also likes to be able to interact with the code samples. For short snippets, she’d like to copy/paste, but for a long code example, please include the repository.
Would You Rather Use Tutorials, How-to’s, or Head Straight to Public Documentation?
Tutorials are great for Brosey to start with learning something if she has to do more set up as part of her technical session at TechBash and other developer conferences. But if she understands the setup, the documentation is a good place to start.