What Technical Content Is Important?
Tech professionals consume many forms of technical content to help them understand a product — pre- and post-sale. Have you ever wondered what content technical audiences most value in their process?
“What’s important when reading about a company’s (dev related) product or service?”
Which Bits Are Important?
|Answer Options||Votes||%||*% Error
|A page explaining exactly what the product does and *why* one would use it||173||68.65||5.73|
|Full online documentation||173||68.65||5.73
|Quick “Getting Started” section||182||72.22||5.53|
|Example implementations with source code||185||73.41||5.45|
|Search or index page to help find stuff||86||34.13||5.85|
|Discussion forums or question/answer area||97||38.49||6.01|
|Live chat with a real human||20||7.94||3.34|
|A way to contact a salesperson or support engineer directly||39||15.48||4.47|
|A company blog to show what aspects of the product they are focused on right now||29||11.51||3.94|
Two interesting text answers were very product-centric –– the product’s roadmap and a version comparison chart. Additionally, twelve people cared enough to offer their comments. The themes we extracted from the survey responses and the comments were as follows:
- Most developers search for solutions to specific problems, and not products
- Each developer has a preferred resource, so the broader your audience, the more content types and styles are required.
- The number of current users is important in deciding to adopt a tool. The more users, the better.
- Why, what, how? Tell what the product is, why it is useful, and how to use it.
- Peer recommendations from a developer community are most persuasive.
What Does This Mean For Your Technical Content Strategy?
Offer content with context
Remember that you have to answer the questions what, why, and how for every piece of technical content you offer. This means a product landing page, documentation, tutorials, and how-to’s. This helps with discoverability (someone is searching for a solution and finds your content) and the usefulness of the content itself.
Reach the new user and the advanced user
Quick “Getting Started” guides are the most popular (78%), but you can’t afford to ignore the 48% who would like advanced tutorials. Valuable technical content supports a developer through their entire journey with your product.
Code counts, so does community
73% of respondents think it’s important to have implementation examples that include code. Compare that to the 7% who want to talk to a live human and 15% who want to be able to contact a support engineer. Over 38% find the option to use a discussion forum important to their process.
That’s a Wrap
Of course, product pages and public documentation are important. But slightly more valuable is content that helps a novice get started. Then, content should support them through even advanced use cases. However, as one respondent observed, there are as many preferred tech content learning tools as there are technical professionals. But, in this community, the trends seem to be discoverability and variety. Discoverability increases the content value because it can be found, and variety includes providing content useful for both the novice and the expert.