Tech marketing these days means speaking directly to the users of your product—the developers. This requires marketing teams to have the technical knowledge to develop content that developers find useful and credible. At IOD, we help companies bridge the gap between technologists and marketers; it’s what our CEO Ofir Nachmani sought to do when he founded the agency.
“I believe that establishing a high-quality, high-volume content operation requires a hybrid approach. This will help the marketer establish a production line that is predictable, sustainable, and recurring—and one you can scale up when the time comes.” – Ofir Nachmani
Ofir was recently a guest on the DevRelX podcast, hosted by Stathis Georgakopoulos, Product Marketing Manager at SlashData. In the chat, Ofir discusses his road to IOD, talks about the gaps that tech marketing agencies fill, and offers best practices for business-to-developer (B2D) content.
Read on for highlights from their discussion.
From Accidental Blogger to Founder & CEO
Stathis began his conversation with Ofir by asking him a simple question.
Stathis: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
To be a creator, a builder, and to be rich.
I wanted to be rich, but in order to be successful, you need to build, change worlds, and create new things. I’m always trying to find the challenges and pain points of people within a particular industry experience and to build or create solutions to fix the problem. Of course, this can make you rich. But it’s really not about having money. It’s about actually being a creator and solving people’s problems.
Stathis: What has your journey been like, from being a blogger in the tech world to eventually CEO of IOD?
A technology company that I founded was acquired. One of my goals after the acquisition was knowledge sharing so that the company that acquired us could learn who we were and how to use our product. I first began writing informational content on Sharepoint but soon moved to Tumblr because it was easier to use. I hadn’t realized that Tumblr was public, but soon people outside of the company began reading the blog to learn.
Blogging led to greater influence and more opportunities for content consulting with large tech companies. It was through this consulting work that I recognized an opportunity. What I saw was a very broken world. Startups couldn’t generate content at the capacity needed in order to scale up. And they didn’t consider outsourcing that work to freelancers.
While large companies had the resources to hire freelancers, I didn’t think they were hiring the right people. The big brands were using writers to generate “fluff” pieces. I thought, “How can they earn credibility when no one in the content development process has any hands-on experience?”
The conversation then shifted into a discussion about trends in the developer ecosystem, with Ofir and Stathis first talking about how experienced developers are playing a larger role in organizational decision-making.
Stathis: Let’s talk about data! Please pick a graph from Devrelx.com/Trends and tell us what stands out to you and why.
I would choose two trends of particular interest to me: developer autonomy and the change in work-life balance.
This trend is not surprising. Fifteen years ago, the decision-maker would have been the CIO or CTO. But today, it’s totally different because of the consumerization of technology. I can take a cybersecurity solution, try it for a month or two, and leave it. I’m not stuck with it, I don’t need to buy servers to run it. This consumerization gives experienced developers more decision-making powers than they ever had before.
It’s what’s called “bottom-up” adoption of technology. It’s less about the C-level. The experts will research and find a tool, and possibly even pay for a trial themselves. And if the tool works for them, then they will go back to their boss and say, “Listen, we need this.” In most cases, the boss will trust the tech expert.
At IOD, we generate deeply technical articles, because we want to attract these practitioners and support the bottom-up adoption of technology for our customers’ goals and target audience.
Change in Work-Life Balance
Many more workers, particularly developers, began to work remotely full-time during the pandemic. This was not just a change in place, but also a change of mindset. The work style of freelancers has since spilled over into the lives of those who work full time.
Experienced developers are today making big decisions from a room in their apartment—critical decisions that impact the brand.
And they’re not just writing code and clocking out at 5:00 p.m. They are testing their features to make sure the code they generated is secure enough. DevOps people need to make sure that production is always running. It’s their responsibility. And because of that, they need more agency to make independent decisions.
B2D Marketing Strategy
The idea that developers need to be spoken to in a way that is different from a traditional business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy is an unfamiliar concept to many marketers. Ofir explained why a business-to-developer (B2D) content strategy is necessary.
Stathis: Why does a business-to-developer (B2D) company need a tech content marketing strategy and content planning?
There is this notion that content is “easy” to do. People think it’s very quick, like “I can generate an article in a week and have it done and published.” But it doesn’t work like that.
In the world of what we call “expert-based content,” things take time and research. If, for example, you want to do benchmarking and showcase your product against your competition, it can take three months just for testing and research before marketing comes into play.
Stathis: Where and how do you start building such a plan?
First you need to differentiate between marketing strategy and content strategy. Once you have a marketing strategy in place and SEO guidelines, then you can go in and say, “I want to know which topics are the best to share with the world.”
Tech content creation comes from two perspectives: Internal creativity and market trends. While you may love an idea, is that necessarily what the market wants? You must use both to come up with a strategy that fits the audience that you want to reach.
Creating Developer-Focused Content
It’s one thing to formulate a strategy, and another to craft content itself. Ofir offered some further insight and suggestions when asked about this.
Stathis: How do you create tech content that developers will like and engage with? What tips would you offer a B2D marketer?
Keep this in mind: Developers today spend about 50% of their working hours doing research. If you waste their time with fluff, they will notify their colleagues that this brand is generating fluff content and warn them not to get near you.
To generate traction on a topic, you need to start with what we call top-of-the-funnel content. It’s very technical, but broad.
The next step is what we call the consideration stage. For example, let’s say the audience in the first stage learned about running Jenkins from you, and you wrote about some common pain points but didn’t discuss a solution. At the consideration stage, they would like to see a solution. You need to start generating articles that compare your product to others on the market.
The third stage is what we call converting content. You need to show off your product and actually create, for example, how-to guides on how to solve common pain points. When you publish this article, it will help the audience understand that you are the one they need.
Stathis: What are some best practices for building a tech content production machine?
Content production requires a team: an expert, a writer, and an editor. With this team, you have everything you need to generate any piece of content, whether it’s high level for the C-suite, or a very deep tech article.
Make sure that when you’re assembling the team, you start with the expert. A writer is of course important, but who has already done the research and has the institutional knowledge? The team also needs a production manager to monitor timelines.
I believe that establishing a high-quality, high-volume content operation requires a hybrid approach. What I mean is that in addition to internal marketing work, you also need to work with an external source. This will help the marketer establish a production line that is predictable, sustainable, and recurring—and one you can scale up when the time comes. This would be very hard to do with a single in-house writer or freelancer who is too busy to answer your calls.
The Future of the Talent Marketplace
Stathis concluded the conversation by asking Ofir what he was currently reading or learning that intrigued him.
Stathis: What are you reading right now that gets you excited?
I’m currently doing some research into freelance marketplaces. It seems like the industry is moving from small gigs (e.g., Fiverr) to talent marketplaces (small freelance networks, high-quality well-educated resources).
Buyers in these networks are no longer looking just for tasks, but for talent. They’re looking for someone to help them solve a problem and to continue a relationship with that individual for a long time.
This is what we’re doing at IOD. We give our customer a talent—whether an expert or an experienced writer—and they learn about the customer’s needs and essentially become part of their team.
Listen to the full podcast here.
IOD serves some of the most well-respected tech brands in cloud, DevOps, data engineering, cybersecurity, and AI, creating meaningful tech content that strengthens your brand and converts traffic into quality leads.
IOD’s agile teams of vetted tech experts and professional editors work together to build you a rich content library: technical blogs, white papers, ebooks, tutorials, product comparisons, thought leadership, and more.
SlashData is the leading analyst firm in the developer economy, tracking global software developer trends via the largest, most comprehensive developer surveys worldwide.
Our research helps the top technology firms understand who developers are, what tools they are using, and where they‘re headed.
Developer Economics, SlashData’s flagship research program, tracks technologies and developer trends, from mobile, IoT, cloud, and desktop to games, AR/VR, and machine learning. Our semi-annual surveys reach more than 40,000 developers in over 150 countries and engage developers across all regions, platforms, and developer segments.