Originally published here.

Stop the sales pitch, start building bridges: A practical guide to authentic DevRel

Today, we're diving into the exciting world of Developer Relations (DevRel). This is going to be close to my heart and might seem a bit controversial for some. Regardless, it's a fantastic space for those who love both coding and connecting with people. But let's be honest, there can be some pitfalls along the way.

Who am I?

I have worked as a DevRel in the past - from big teams to single handedly being a lead DevRel for a protocol, and then switching back to a dev role, gives me sort of enough credibility to talk about both pros and cons of being a DevRel and kicking as* at being one.

I've seen some DevRel folks get caught up in the hype, focusing on marketing messages instead of genuine connections. That's why I wanted to create a guide to help you set yourself up for success and become a truly awesome DevRel.

The mistakes we all make (and how to avoid them):

  • Hype machine on stage: Let's face it, conferences existed before DevRel. They were gatherings of passionate developers, sharing knowledge and learning from each other. Imagine: front-end gurus swapping tips, back-end wizards comparing notes, all fueled by pure enthusiasm, not a sales pitch.

That's the magic we should recapture. Ditch the "my company's tech stack is the best" spiel and focus on education and fostering a vibrant developer community.

Here's the challenge for you: The next time you present, think about a problem developers face and offer a solution using your company's tools, but without making it a blatant ad.

  • Treating people like numbers: DevRel is all about building relationships. Don't fall into the trap of approaching people based on their follower count or influence. Focus on authentic connections.

Let's do a quick self-reflection exercise:

Think about the last time you reached out to someone. Was it because they have a huge Twitter following, or because you genuinely wanted to connect and learn from their experiences?

Remember: Relationships built on genuine interest are far more valuable than those fueled by ulterior motives.

Is DevRel the right career choice for you?
People in DevRel are frequently in charge of keeping lines of communication open between businesses and developers to facilitate improved information flow and feedback loops. As a result, the experience and growth path for both organizations is improved.

Tips to become a DevRel rock star:

  • Become a meetup master: Meetups are fantastic places to share your knowledge and connect with fellow developers. Don't just attend, contribute! Share a project you built, a lesson you learned, or even a coding challenge.
  • Open source hero: Contributing to open-source projects is a fantastic way to showcase your skills and build relationships with other developers. Plus, you'll be giving back to the community!
  • Embrace the open mic night mentality: Be open to any opportunity to share your knowledge, whether it's a local meetup, an online forum, or even a Twitter thread. Every interaction is a chance to connect and learn.
  • Talk to devs: Let's be honest. They are the real superhero, after all, we (DevRels) are here to make their life easy. Don't attend meetups and end up talking to other DevRels, instead go understand the painpoints of devs!

Remember, the best DevRel professionals are lifelong learners who are passionate about building bridges between developers and the technologies they love.

Now it's your turn! Share your experiences and tips for becoming a great DevRel in the comments below.

Let's take this a step further...

Based on my experiemce, i'm going to share few strategies that will make you a DevRel powerhouse.

How to get a developer relations job
The field of developer relations is varied and rewarding, with plenty of meaningful roles to choose from – and many opportunities for professional development.

Sharpen your DevRel toolkit:

  • Technical chops: While you don't need to be a coding guru, a solid understanding of the technologies you represent is crucial. This allows you to answer developer questions with confidence, identify potential pain points, and contribute meaningfully to discussions.

Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to admit you don't know something! Part of building trust is acknowledging your limitations and offering to find the answer together.

  • Communication maestro: Being a DevRel pro means mastering the art of clear and concise communication. You need to tailor your message to different audiences, from crafting engaging blog posts to delivering dynamic presentations.

Challenge time: Write a short blog post explaining a complex technical concept in a way that's easy for beginners to understand.

  • Content creation king/queen: Developers are hungry for high-quality content. Hone your skills in creating tutorials, blog posts, code samples, or even engaging videos to educate and inspire your audience.

Think outside the blog: Explore different content formats like:

  • Podcasts interviewing developers about their experiences
  • Interactive code challenges and gamifying learning tech stack you're advocating for.
  • Live Q&A sessions on social media

Community catalyst: A thriving developer community is the lifeblood of any DevRel program. Foster connections by:

  • Organizing meetups and workshops
  • Actively participating in online forums and discussions
  • Encouraging developers to contribute to open-source projects
The importance of developer advocates
Whether your target audience is engineers or software developers, advocates can help you get the word out about your product. Here, we answer your most commonly asked questions about developer advocacy, so take a look.

Gamification guru: Adding a touch of fun and competition to your DevRel efforts can go a long way. Consider creating:

  • Coding challenges with badges and recognition for top performers
  • Hackathons with exciting prizes
  • Online communities with points awarded for contributions

Data-driven decisions: Don't operate in the dark! Track key metrics to measure the success of your DevRel initiatives. This could include:

  • Website traffic and engagement with your content
  • Number of active participants in your developer communities
  • Downloads of your code samples or tutorials
  • Positive mentions of your company and technology on social media
  • Remember: Data is your friend. Use it to identify what's working and what needs improvement in your DevRel strategy.

The final word: It's all about you! Being a DevRel professional is a fantastic journey filled with learning, connecting, and making a real impact on the developer community. Don't be afraid to experiment, find your unique voice, and most importantly, have fun!

Download your free copy of our Developer Relations Playbook for insights, strategies, and insider tips to help you crack the DevRel code.