Adam DuVander is a journalist turned developer-focused company content strategist. I recently listened to an interview with Adam, which was part of the Sprinklr Coffee Club series. On this blog, I’ve previously posted short summaries of talks, podcasts, or books by Stephanie Morillo, Lauren Lee, Hiten Shah, and Lorna Mitchell, combined with my thoughts on the respective subjects. In a similar format, I want to reiterate some of Adam’s ideas as well.
To motivate the work on developer content, Adam said that content marketing as a part of developer marketing or developer relations (DevRel) scales better than sending developers to conferences and meetups. If you’re just getting started, you can experiment with blog posts. However, he noted that many APIs don’t even have a real “Getting Started” guide as part of their API documentation, so that’s also an excellent place to start.
A central piece of content should be “a definitive guide on what the company knows”. Often, it is a downloadable e-book or whitepaper, but Adam said to be wary of gating access (e.g., with email signup). He calls this “signature content”. I recently saw another content marketer describing a similar approach who called it “cornerstone content”. The idea is to show your full expertise and demonstrate thought leadership. It ties in with the intention of content reuse and multiplication, where one piece of content leads to many derivatives. I’ve seen a lot of examples of those, such as infographics, social media posts, transcripts of podcasts, and many more. The “signature content” can be the foundation of everything else.
Content is a long game (it is one of the truths that Hiten Shah also emphasized in his talk). And it is crucial to be aware of it to avoid overblown expectations. No respectable content marketer or SEO agency can promise overnight success! You have to plant a lot of seeds, evaluate, and double down on what works. It’s also a good idea to have a mix of evergreen content and short-term content that has viral potential.
Another great thought from Adam, who previously worked at ProgrammableWeb, was that producing a high volume of content is essential when advertisers fund you. For everyone else, including most dev-focused SaaS companies, high quality and relevance are way more important than quantity. And remember, the goal of technical writing is to “share knowledge, not features”.
At the end of the post, I wanted to let you know I’m happy to talk about your developer content. Send me an email and let’s find out how we can work together.