Over the years, tech content marketers have frequently prioritized writing business content targeted at the C-suite. But, within the past decade, a bottom-up adoption method has gained more ground, inspiring marketers to incorporate increasingly more content for developers into their content strategies.
Now, writing for developer practitioners has become essential for tech organizations to hit their KPIs and meet their goals. After all, developer team leads influence technology decisions 67% of the time, playing a major role in deciding what tools are incorporated into workflows and processes. Creating more content for developers can play a critical role in the sales process, encouraging practitioners as they test free products or product trials.However, many brands struggle to create content that resonates with developers. Often, the knowledge gap between tech marketers and practitioners causes “business-to-developer content” (or B2D content) to fall short of a technical audience’s expectations.
Practitioners have a different relationship to your product than other decision-makers. Since they’re using your product every day, developers need to see what’s in it for them before they choose to work with your brand. Plus, they’re searching for practical, precise content that solves their issues, searching queries about “how to do x” or “bug in y.” Creating B2D content like this builds trust in your product, driving developers to recommend your product or service throughout their organization.
Here are four ways your brand can master B2D content marketing and start creating tech content that makes developers want to work with you.
1. Focus on Applications vs. Philosophy
Traditional, high-level marketing content doesn’t resonate with developers, showcasing the knowledge gap between marketers and practitioners. That’s because this content focuses too much on the philosophy behind your product rather than how it actually works.
Developers want to go beyond the theory, seeing the practical ways they can use your product or service to solve their current challenges. But dry technical content is a dime a dozen; even though developers may be used to slogging through technical manuals, that doesn’t mean it’s the best use of their time, especially for a tool not currently in their toolkit. While successful tech content undeniably emphasizes application, step-by-step walkthroughs without context aren’t enough to maintain a developer’s interest, either.
Instead, they need clear insight into two elements to see if your solution is the best tool to solve their challenges:
- The philosophy behind your product—what your product is and how you solve a developer’s issues on a high level, as demonstrated through best practices and customer use cases with technical examples that include diagrams and code snippets.
- Real-world applications for your solution—like actionable how-to or walkthrough content that showcases specific capabilities, features, or workflows and examples of how they can reproduce the same results.
Creating content with these elements builds a developer’s trust in your solution and offers clear insight into how quickly and efficiently developers can benefit from adding your product to their workflows.
2. Design Easily-Scannable, Actionable Content
Most developers won’t call your company’s help desk to explain their current challenge, learn how to use your product, and compare your product to other alternatives. Instead, they typically start by searching on Google, (hopefully) landing on one of your website pages, and exploring for themselves to see how your solution can support their existing needs and workflows. Additionally, when developers encounter a problem they don’t know how to solve, they often turn to crowdsourcing question and answer websites like Quora, StackOverflow, or Reddit to source answers to specific questions from other practitioners.
Yet, we still see marketers try to incorporate tech content into a more traditional, long-form blog post format with more story than necessary. This format doesn’t help developers get the quick, easy answer they need to solve their problems. Experienced tech writer Raphael Mun recommends structuring tech content more like online recipes instead of traditional corporate blog content.
Once a developer lands on one of your blogs, they will quickly scroll to see how long an article is and what the article is about to save time. This also helps them understand how technical the article is. Then, a developer has the option to scan your content, skip past the story, and find a solution more quickly.
To create scannable and actionable content for developers, provide an introduction to the use case or problem your product addresses. Then, incorporate common questions developers ask on popular question and answer websites as section headers. Including these questions as headers makes it more likely that developers will discover and consult your blog post while searching for answers on Google. Plus, these headers make it easier for developers to scan your content and find the answer they’re looking for.
Don’t forget to keep your website content current, too. Things change quickly in tech, so it’s important to have content that ongoingly supports developers with accurate code snippets, up-to-date screenshots showing recent platform updates, effective walkthroughs, and popular integrations. Regularly review older content to see if it still aligns with current best practices and confirm that it reflects how your product works without any bugs.
Timely content makes your brand look more credible to developers and makes them more likely to turn to your website when they’re searching for solutions.
3. Emphasize One Use Case At a Time
For a marketer, it can be tempting to create high-level content like listicles that shows all the great benefits your platform has to offer. However, developers need to see that your solution works with their existing tech stack and can solve even only a specific existing challenge they experience. Maintaining a single scope in your content allows you to give developers the support they’re looking for right away.
Not sure which use cases to focus on? Leverage internal experts to serve as a focus group to research and produce relevant, meaningful content that speaks to your target dev audiences. Your product managers should be able to offer insight into the requirements and questions clients have. Then, they should also walk you through the platform and show how your online service helps solve each specific requirement.
You should also consult clients directly to learn about the problems they’re facing and how they’re solving them. Think of your tech content more like case studies than blog posts; give leading senior dev practitioners at other companies an opportunity to showcase the cool and innovative ways they’re using your product to solve their problems and accomplish their goals on your blog. Interviewing expert practitioners currently experimenting with your product can make your content even richer, offering insight into the real-world problems your product solves and the practical results your solution provides.
While showing how other developers solved their challenges, explain the practitioner’s background along with what it took time- and resource-wise to generate those results. This gives developers a realistic view into how they can use your solution to create those results on their own. Then, incorporate testable, “try it yourself” examples for developers to experiment with. Detailed walkthroughs with screenshots and code snippets encourage them to try new things while using your platform.
Bridge the gap between Marketing & Tech.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Dive Deep Into Bits and Bytes
Trying to find the information they’re looking for amid business results and marketing claims will often drive a developer to bounce from your website and search for answers on StackOverflow instead. It’s not because developers don’t care about business results—they’re still interested in learning how your solution can decrease mean time to resolution or increase their team’s productivity. However, those results don’t support a developer’s immediate needs.
Instead of focusing on the benefits of your solution, include links to other blog posts reporting on these business results, keeping content for developers focused on the technology itself. Dive deep into the details specific developers need to see if your solution helps solve their problems.
Technical content can help your product sell itself if it’s easy to understand and clearly demonstrates the impacts your product has on solving IT problems. Leave the product-centric language and sales content out, focusing instead on the intricate details that support your use cases. Maintaining this focus helps to keep the tone authentic, helpful, and knowledgeable for your developer audience.
Plus, not every piece of content should be intended for every developer. Rather than focusing on making generalized content to support wider audiences, hone in on the needs of specific developer types—like front-end, back-end, DevOps, or fullstack—with varied experience levels in different dev pillars. For example, create content dealing with a specific aspect (e.g., security or scale) or a specific open-source tool (e.g., Kubernetes). This ensures that you’re speaking the developer’s language with content intended to suit their very specific needs.
One way to capture the right tone is to ask internal SMEs or external developers who use your product to write content detailing a specific use case. Then, have your marketing team edit the content for clarity, voice and flow (including planting the relevant CTAs). This helps marketers successfully target an experienced audience, contribute to the ongoing conversation around your product, and keep developers moving through the sales funnel even if the marketers don’t have the relevant expertise themselves.
5 Things You Should Keep in Mind When Creating B2D Content
Creating compelling tech content doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember these five simple rules to start writing content developers will love:
- Trust is most important.
- Focus on practicality.
- Keep content tight and to the point.
- Leverage experts and customers as a resource.
- Use specific examples.
And don’t forget: you can always ask for help when you need it! At IOD, we specialize in helping you create exceptional tech content that appeals to developers and keeps them coming back for more. Contact us to tap into our extensive network of experienced practitioners and start creating better tech content today.