In Part 3 of our Developer Marketing Guide, we discussed why traditional marketing alone will not work for developer audiences and how to approach the diverse needs of technical audiences. We also examined how companies can successfully engage with developer communities through bespoke and meaningful messaging and the strategic benefits.

This section will help you understand and plan how to create technical marketing content that will inspire and educate your developer community.

Why Content For Developers

We refer to content specifically designed for developers as technical marketing content. Well-written and designed technical marketing content is a highly effective introduction to your product. As with other types of "top of funnel" marketing content, it serves as a gateway to the next step in the decision-making process. It engages technical readers by demonstrating awareness of and empathy for their pain points and offers a solution to their specific problems. Technical marketing content provides enough information to entice developers to investigate your product or service further.

Technical marketing content is not purely high-level marketing, such as social media posts or short-form blog articles. Also, it is not technical writing, such as how-to guides, developer documentation, and tutorials. It lies somewhere between these two categories. 

Technical marketing content has two goals.

  1. Inspire. Technical marketing content is "top of the funnel." Instead of providing a comprehensive breakdown of your technical product's features, it should share knowledge that motivates readers to learn more, sign up, or do something else. An article on your SaaS product, for instance, should inspire the technical audience to research the benefits of such software.

  2. Educate: Technical marketing content should not come across as "salesy." Instead, it should educate your technical audience on the pros and cons of different solutions on the market and skillfully weave your product into the narrative as a desirable option, backed by evidence. There should be no marketing fluff, just straightforward, pragmatic language.

Is it more challenging to create technical marketing content than regular content? In most cases, no. As with any marketing strategy, you need to have clearly defined goals and corresponding tactics to reach those objectives. Follow our Developer Content Playbook, and you’ll be on your way.

Developer Content Strategy

Best practices for creating technical marketing content.

1. Segment your developer audience

To build a successful content strategy, you must understand your audience. Part 1 of this guide introduces you to the different types of developers, so now it’s time to define your developer personas and distinguish between them. 

Personas will help you deliver the right message for content marketing. If you don't create accurate personas, you will only be guessing what your developers want, which means you may produce self-serving content instead of information they want and need.

Your first instinct may be to segment your personas based on their demographics. Having this type of information is helpful, but it is only a small part. When creating personas, you should consider key market signals you can use to refine your segmentation criteria, such as different areas of expertise, developer stacks, and coding languages. You will be able to shape your content by identifying unique challenges and opportunities.

Imagine which persona would benefit most from what you have to offer. Define who they are by job title, the type of company they work for, their responsibilities, and what determines their success. Consider their role with your product and what challenges they may face on a typical workday. Consider their potential needs, influence on decisions, content preferences, and consumption patterns. This information can help identify the most valuable content topics, types, and channels to move them closer to taking action or making a decision. 

Example: Bob works for Microsoft on the Office 365 team as a back-end developer. He’s responsible for server-side web application logic and integration of front-end developers' work. He is successful when workload benchmarks are achieved on schedule.

When you have finished documenting the persona, share it with your team and use it to create content in the future. Map out new personas and identify any common or contrasting motivations, behaviors, and preferences. Personas can further help you develop A/B testing, progressive profiling, and sentiment analysis to improve conversions over time.

2. Competitor analysis

Performing an industry analysis can help you determine what other companies are doing and how successful their content marketing efforts have been. Then you can decide how to position your content. 

To get started, compile a list of your competitors, research, and answer these questions:

  • What principles, benefits, and opportunities do my competitors claim in their content?
  • Are my competitors targeting the same developers as I am?
  • What stories is my competitor telling? What frequency are they publishing? What volume are they posting?

Analyze the competitor data and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Then evaluate your position. Are you telling the correct customer stories and providing easy-to-understand documentation that shows the value of building with your tools?

3. Content topics

It's time to determine which technical marketing content topics will help inspire or educate your developer personas. Topics should be based on what you know or can learn about your personas' challenges, needs, and interests.

To inspire developers, learn what motivates them and what they care about, including technology trends, pain points, challenges, and strategies, career advancement, and fun stuff like open-source projects and meetups. Case studies, developer spotlights, learning opportunities, and new feature announcements are all examples of inspirational content.

Find out which questions your developer community asks most often about your product or service and create content that answers them. You can search for more common questions in forums such as Stack Overflow, social media sites such as Twitter, and your developer portal. Find out what your developer community gets stuck on and create content that anticipates their questions. Put a note in your calendar to review these different channels and incorporate new topics into your content calendar.

4. Plan the editorial process

It's time to rev up your technical marketing content marketing machine. You should assign someone to oversee your developer content who can help you create and manage your editorial plan. This person can help your team organize, stay on top of workflows, and plan content. 

An editorial plan should define your marketing mission and who will be responsible for specific tasks. This will allow you to focus on the content itself.

Consider these important considerations:

  • Topics to be covered 
  • Responsibilities of team members
  • Publishing calendar and cadence
  • Social media and community messaging
  • Success metrics

Using editorial calendar best practices can eliminate speed bumps in your content production process. Free online collaboration tools and calendars are available, or you can start with a spreadsheet. This schedule will help you keep track of your content's progress throughout the editorial process. 

The most challenging aspect of the editorial process is maintaining a consistent publishing schedule. Never stop coming up with new ideas. You could arrange stakeholder interviews and use them to explore multiple content topics. You should make your editorial plan available to all contributors so that anyone can add information, refine ideas, and assist in long-term content planning.

Content is a Worthy Investment

The final word on developer content strategy.

The best way to create an effective content marketing strategy is to understand your competitors' approaches, uncover the common questions your developer community asks, and maintain a continuous editorial calendar. Technical marketing content requires a significant investment of resources and time. However, the rewards of executing smart content can outweigh the costs if you begin your approach to content creation with the tips in this guide.