Many businesses are starting to recognize the rich potential of developer relations (DevRel) and its ability to drive significant growth.
Developers are no longer just seen as coding magicians, but as key influencers and decision-makers within organizations.
But while more businesses are looking to adopt DevRel strategies, they’re unsure of exactly where to start.
In this article, we’ve set our list of the top DevRel best practices to help marketers nurture strong, long-lasting relationships with developer communities and accelerate their company’s success.
What is DevRel?
DevRel, short for developer relations, refers to the various strategies employed by an organization to foster relationships with the developer community and encourage them to engage with their products and services.
DevRel aims to support and empower developers, while gathering their valuable feedback to implement improvements to their offerings.
DevRel sits between marketing, community management, and product management, and often involves roles like developer advocates, developer evangelists, and community managers.
Why is DevRel important?
DevRel gives businesses the chance to connect with developers on a whole other level. They’re able to gain an in-depth understanding of their needs and expectations, collect direct feedback on their products, and use this information to improve the quality and functionality of their products.
As such, DevRel allows a business to build trust and loyalty with developers, enhance its reputation among the community, and turn product users into product advocates.
8 DevRel best practices that everyone should adopt
Now that we know the purpose of DevRel, how do we ensure that we succeed at it?
We’ve put together the ultimate list of DevRel best practices to help you enhance your product offerings and drive business growth.
Understand your target audience
In order to pique the interest of your developers, you first have to understand their goals, challenges, needs, preferred tools, etc.
Therefore, to tap into the mindset of your target audience, you need to create developer personas.
Developer personas are archetypical, semi-fictitious representations of users/buyers. They help you to get a realistic idea of your technical audience’s key traits, behaviors, preferences, and experiences through qualitative and quantitative research.
Another way to understand developers’ needs is to participate in forums where they reside, attend events and conferences, and join social media groups. Doing these things can help you stay on top of the latest trends and gain further insights into developers’ goals, pain points, and evolving expectations.
Build a strong brand
Developers are more likely to trust and engage with organizations that align with their values. Therefore, it’s essential that you build a strong, authentic brand that stands for integrity, innovation, and high value.
You can showcase your authenticness through consistent product messaging and by providing developers with informative and educational content. Ensure that your content is technically accurate and updated regularly to demonstrate your expertise and provide true value to the developer community.
Share your content, answer questions, and engage with developers on forums and social media platforms to enhance your visibility and authority in the space, and foster stronger relationships as a result.
Provide valuable resources and content
Building off the last point, it’s critical to supply developers with high-quality content in the form of documentation, tutorials, guides, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, workshops, and more. Your content should aim to provide value to developers and help them overcome challenges, learn new skills, or achieve their goals.
Avoid heavy advertising in your content; developers see right through this. Your top priority should always be to provide educational value over pushing a sell.
Gather developers’ feedback
More and more developers now have a say in the tech buying process, so it’s important for companies to actively seek their opinions and feedback.
By gathering and analyzing developer feedback, you can gain new insights into their needs, address any bugs, and identify vital improvements to make to your product. What’s more, you can also use this feedback to create better documentation.
You can obtain developer feedback through surveys, forums, face-to-face interviews, UXR (user experience research), phone calls, and virtual meetings.
Showing developers that you value their opinions and you’re willing to make changes to your product based on their feedback will only increase their trust in you.
Embrace open-source software
Open-source software (OSS) is source code that’s publicly accessible; anyone can distribute, modify, and share it.
By embracing OSS, you can show developers that you’re committed to helping the tech community and you’re also open to their contributions. DevRel teams can contribute by fixing any issues or bugs and adding new features to projects.
There’s also the option for DevRel to create content to support open-source projects, such as documentation, blog posts, tutorials, articles, and videos. This content can equip developers with the knowledge and best practices they need to use a particular product and help them gain a more in-depth understanding of open-source.
By supporting open-source projects, DevRel encourages developers to collaborate with others, share new ideas, and find solutions to challenges. They can also help developers to streamline workflows, enhance their skills, and deliver quick results.
Establish a DevRel team
As the dev population continues to grow at a steady rate, it’s a good idea to hire a DevRel team that’ll be fully dedicated to fostering relationships and engaging with developers.
Your DevRel team should have well-defined roles and responsibilities, and possess skills such as technical knowledge, community building, empathy, content creation, and strong communication.
A high-functioning DevRel team can help to grow brand awareness, provide genuine value to the developer community through technical support and educational resources, and cultivate brand advocates to enhance their organization’s reputation.
Build a community
Community development and engagement are instrumental to successful developer relations. A community provides a platform for developers to share their feedback and insights, which helps you to understand their wants, needs, and pain points, and refine your product accordingly.
Attending meetups, participating in open-source projects, and getting involved in online forums can help you develop vital community-building skills and gain valuable insights into the developer mindset.
To create an active community, you must offer developers value through in-depth technical content and resources. It’s also beneficial to organize meetups, events, and hackathons to foster engagement and stronger relationships. Make sure you provide a space that developers can navigate easily, and where they can offer feedback and have their voices heard.
Building a community is a long-term commitment. To be successful, you have to put in consistent effort, be patient, listen to developers’ needs, and be invested in facilitating supportive relationships and collaboration between community members.
Measure and iterate
Like any marketing initiative, it’s important to track the progress of your DevRel efforts.
Measure and monitor key metrics such as developer engagement, retention, product usage, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and qualified leads to make sense of what’s working and what’s not.
Use the data you’ve collected to understand developers’ preferences, make improvements to your products, and tap into new, unexplored opportunities.
DevRel is more than just a way to bridge the gap between companies and developers. It’s a vital strategic initiative that can accelerate growth and instill trust and loyalty in your target audience.
By implementing the DevRel best practices listed in this article, companies can successfully create deeper connections with developers, gain valuable insights to improve their products or services, and foster an active community of brand advocates.
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