Marketing to developers can be tricky. Because let’s face it, they’re a tough crowd to please. If your content isn’t properly curated to be engaging and technically accurate — at best you’ll lose their interest. And at worse? Well, they could be seriously annoyed.
But why spend energy marketing to developers specifically? Shouldn’t we aim our marketing at the decision-makers?
You are absolutely right. We should market to decision-makers. And according to DevRelX — a tech community that surveyed over 40,000 developers around the globe — developer team leads are amongst the highest group making recommendations and influencing the decision-makers.
So, if you’re selling a technical product or developer solution, we recommend putting “marketing to developers” near the top of your to-do list.
Circling back to developers being a tough bunch to impress, now the question is how can you avoid the pitfalls to create winning marketing material?
We’ve compiled a master list of tips and tricks with experienced technical writer Raphael Mun to help you do just that.
Raphael has helped many companies (including 10 different startups) find product-market fit and create lean marketing strategies. He has personal experience architecting and building products, and growing partnerships. With extensive expertise in AI, Cloud, and business best practices, Raphael recently shared all of his expert secrets on how to create effective marketing materials for developers on DelRelX’s podcast.
Read on for the key takeaways!
What Makes Writing for Developers Different?
If you’re marketing to developers, it’s a given your content should be more technical. Developers are smart people, and many aren’t keen to read material without educational or factual value. Flowery proses are nice, but if there’s no sustenance in the fluff, you’re going to lose your audience.
But at the same time, it still needs to be engaging. Developers are humans after all! Technical facts aside, you need to showcase how your solution can benefit them.
According to Raphael, “It’s not just about, how to do things or the FAQ. But it’s really getting developers to realize how you can change their workflow or save them time. Dry content doesn’t draw in a lot of audiences, they need to understand the value first.”
The key takeaway is value. Ensure you emphasize not only what your product can do, but why your clients need it.
Tips for Great Developer Marketing
So now that we know our material must be educational, technically accurate, valuable, and engaging, let’s take a look at some tangible tips on how to actually write them.
1. Know your audience
Before creating any piece of content — marketing or otherwise — one of the most important factors is knowing who your audience is.
Raphael highly advises against grouping all developers into one bucket, “One of the ways content marketing can really fall flat is when companies create content that’s generalized to everyone.”
Of course, in an ideal world, it would be wonderful to please everyone. But the reality is — in marketing and in life — that’s impossible. If you try to pander to every audience, what you may end up with is a very watery piece that pleases no one.
So, before you draft your outline, get really clear on who you’re trying to reach. Remember that “Developers” is a big group. Are you talking to front-end or back-end developers? Are they beginners or intermediates or experts? Are you talking about game development or web development?
Raphael suggests we all remember that “trying to cater to everyone will only frustrate everyone.”
Tying it back to the key point of marketing to developers, remember what we’re trying to provide is value. And value varies greatly depending on who you’re speaking to. How much does your target audience already know? How deep into the nitty-gritty of all the code can you get so you can teach them something new without losing them?
In short, if your audience can see the value in your content, they are much more likely to trust you.
2. Back up Your Claims
One of the easiest ways to tick developers off is to waste their time. So, if you promise something in your title, your content should follow through.
The concept of “clickbait headlines” tends to get a bad rep, but the truth is an attention-grabbing title can be amazing for engagement. But you need to ensure your material can keep the promise.
Don’t make developers sit through pages upon pages of marketing fluff or business lingo, get to the point. And if you’re introducing a product or solution, actually tell your audience how and why it works.
Relating back to the previous point of “knowing your audience”, make sure to tailor your content to the appropriate level of detail. For instance, if you’re crafting a tutorial for new developers, ensure you don’t just list the steps with no explanation. Tell them why they should use certain parameters instead of another.
As Raphael emphasizes, “The biggest thing that developers want to know is how it benefits them. How is it useful? How can it bring value to their lives or to their work and how can it make their lives easier?”
At the end of the day, effective marketing for developers means providing value.
3. Keep up to Date
We currently live in a very fast-paced world with rapidly developing technologies. And while that’s brilliant for innovation, it can also prove to be a challenge for marketing.
Be wary and careful of using outdated marketing language or copy from past campaigns to save time. You’re marketing to people who are amongst the front lines of new products and technical strategies. If developers sense your material is outdated, you’ll lose your credibility — fast.
So, before you launch a new campaign or publish a new article, take some time to research and ensure your lingo and sources are up to date.
4. Match the Preferred Format
When it comes to structuring your articles, don’t be afraid to test different formats to find what resonates with your audience. But no matter what you do, there are a few best practices to always keep in mind.
First, ensure your intro captures attention. Raphael stands by that “engaging content offers a little sneak peek at the beginning that tells us why and how this piece is going to be valuable.”
Then, make sure to follow up with valuable content that includes tangible examples. For instance, if you’re writing a tutorial, include applicable code samples or an example scenario.
And to tie it all up, the conclusion section is where you can suggest other learning material or to check out your products. If you are selling something — like a product, software, or a solution — the trick is to weave the benefits of it lightly throughout the entire piece, then tie it all back to the point at the end.
Another note to keep in mind is to not underestimate written content, even in the age of TikTok and YouTube. While video is amazing for engagement, having a blog post embedded with audio-visuals actually makes your content more searchable.
5. Get Expert Help
When done properly, marketing can make a night and day difference for your bottom line. Humans lean towards value — and while the truth is your product or service may be great — if no one understands it or know about it, then you’re just depriving the world of your greatness!
One of the best things to do to stretch your marketing dollars is to work with a writing team that specializes in your niche. There are many factors to keep in mind when picking a tech writing service, but above all, find one with writers that actually work in your field and one that provides results.
At the End of the Day, Valuable Content is the Goal
Marketing to developers can be tricky, but tricky doesn’t mean impossible. As long as you know your audience, know your goals, and provide quality content, you’re well on your way to swaying developers to your side.
Adding an experienced technical writing service such as ContentLab to help (or to be!) your marketing team can also make a huge difference. With experienced writers who are developers themselves, ContentLab is here to help you scale your business.
We hope this article has provided some form of value. If you only take away one thing, remember that above all else: value is the ultimate goal. Trust and loyalty and new clients? Well, those will come after — naturally.