The ContentLab team ventured to the 2023 Developer Marketing Alliance (DMA) Summit in San Francisco. The event was attended by marketers from across the industry, including both seasoned giants and vibrant startups.
Over two bustling days, we explored different strategies for engaging the developer community. It was a blend of learning, networking, and gearing up for what’s developing in the industry landscape.
What stood out? The narrative around budgets is changing. While budgets have been quite stringent throughout 2023, there’s now a fresh willingness to spend and invest in marketing. The chatter at the summit echoed this sentiment. Through insightful sessions and candid conversations, we gleaned actionable takeaways — and we’re eager to implement them.
Technical Content: The Talk of the Town at DMA
As the ContentLab team navigated through the crowd at the DMA summit, the question we heard the most was: “What exactly falls under technical content?”
The answer isn’t singular. Technical content occupies a broad spectrum, taking many different forms across different content genres. For example, technical content includes in-depth documentation and narrative-driven thought-leadership pieces that parse complex technical concepts. It can also include blog posts, educational materials, webinars, and even opinion pieces.
To define technical content is to understand its essence: content that caters to a technical audience and shares in their quest for knowledge, whether in the form of a tutorial, reflective article, or real-time discussion of tech trends.
As we chatted with other DMA attendees about the challenges of producing high-quality tech content, we discovered a common thread: Marketing teams struggle to navigate the waters of technical content. And it’s not just a solo struggle — it’s a collective head-scratcher that had everyone at DMA talking.
See, it’s one thing to know you need content. It’s another to consistently produce it in a way that hits the sweet spot with the developer audience. Content needs to be crisp, clear, and forward-thinking — especially as companies invest more in marketing.
But how do you actually get there? The chatter at the DMA Summit revealed that’s what attendees wanted to know. It was more than just venting. It was rolling up the sleeves and diving into the trenches to figure out this content conundrum.
Key Takeaways from DMA: Crafting Technical Content that Resonates
We learned a lot during DMA — both from the sessions we attended and the conversations we had with other attendees. Let’s break down some of our key takeaways.
Knowing Your Audience Is Key
In our conversations with peers at DMA, the ContentLab team noticed a common theme: technical marketers need more clarity about their audience. It seems that knowing who you’re talking to and what they’re looking for is half the challenge of creating technical content.
As we learned more about different technical audiences, it became clear that they want to know what they’re getting into with a piece of content. Providing a quick rundown of what to expect from the content right at the beginning lets the reader decide if they want to engage. It’s like giving your readers the map before embarking on a journey together.
But to do this effectively, you need to know who your reader is and why they came to your piece, speaking directly to their interests within the first few seconds. Once again, you need audience clarity.
The Power of Code Snippets
Another gem that sparkled through the discussions was the magic of code snippets. It’s one thing to explain a concept, but another to show it in action. Those little snippets of code are like gold for developers, offering a real taste of how things work in the wild. It’s like the difference between talking about a delicious dish and actually tasting it.
Embrace Empathy and Provide Solace
Now, onto a favorite takeaway: the power of storytelling, empathy, and showcasing real-world pain points in technical content. It’s not just about the cold, hard facts. Rather, it’s about how you serve them. Content that tells a story and that understands the developer’s pains, frustrations, and joys has a way of nestling into the reader’s mind.
It becomes even more relatable when it showcases the hurdles and how to overcome them — or, better yet, how others stumbled and got back up. Learning from mistakes and being open about them adds a layer of credibility that’s hard to replicate. It’s about walking a mile in their shoes, feeling their feelings, and then penning down that journey in a relatable narrative.
The conversations with fellow content creators and marketers were enlightening. There’s a shared vision: to craft content that educates and, perhaps more importantly, resonates. The musings around audience clarity, practical examples, and a touch of empathy shed light on the recipe for content that’s not just absorbed, but cherished.
Budget Bounce-Back: A Springboard for Technical Content
Budgets in the tech industry have been a tad tight in recent months — a narrative that resonated across the DMA floor. But these budget constraints aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet — they translate to real-world limitations in creating quality technical content. So, as the whispers of budgets loosening up in Q4 made the rounds, the anticipation was palpable.
This budget bounce-back isn’t just a financial relief: With more resources at their disposal, companies can now look towards expanding their technical content horizons. Whether it’s about sprucing up existing content, adding new and engaging pieces to the mix, enhancing documentation, or perhaps taking a fresh, invigorating direction with their blogs, the options are as vast as they are exciting.
Wrapping Up the DMA Insights
There was a lot to learn at DMA. The chatter around technical content, the shifts in budget attitudes, and the endless pursuit of audience clarity have left us with a trove of things to think about.
As we wave goodbye to DMA 2023, we’re poised to navigate the industry’s evolutions with a sharpened focus and a toolkit chock-full of fresh strategies, ready to tackle what’s next.
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