Satisfy Learning Junkies

People love showing off, especially to their peers. Developers are no different. Developers are also addicted to the bright, shiny object. The new thing. And that means they are kind of learning junkies. Modern IT professionals are no different. Evans Data Corporation’s latest Developer Marketing Survey bears that out, with >80% of developers claiming they are likely to share tutorial content with their peers.

Keep It Fresh

Sharing is great. But what about inspiring developers to take one more step and use the bright shiny object? What about getting developers to write about their use cases? What about…

…keeping it fresh with the voice of the customer and some fine-as-wine developer advocacy?

Enter the developer challenge. It’s still a content marketing play because lots of content is embedded in the challenge. Sure, competition is good, but in order to get developers to create new applications with your API for funsies, you’d better make it very easy for them to do it.

Expectations Drive Content Requirements

Much of the challenge content will be driven by your target audience and your goals for the challenge. Let’s take a look at some reasonable challenge outcome expectations, and what content is required for developer success.

Outcome: Developer Data

One of the most effective uses of a challenge is to create a low-bar activity that allows them to win something easily. Use their desire to win something to incentivize participants to give up some information–either about themselves, what they know about your brand, or what they know about your product–for easy prize eligibility.

Content Requirement: Just the survey.

Outcome: Expand the Product User Base

Developers are much more likely to build an application on your API if you show them how to use it. The competition aspect makes it fun, but make sure that in addition to a tutorial that guides them through the basics, you’ve invested in some high-quality public documentation. Then, offer a prize just for completing all the learning activities and demonstrating knowledge acquisition via quizzes.

Content Requirement: Public documentation, tutorials.

Outcome: Developer Written Content (Developer Advocacy)

Once you’ve gotten developers up-to-speed about your API or product, you can ask them to create something with it and write about it in order to win an even bigger and better prize. The best articles reflect a well-chosen project and skillful descriptions of how to replicate it. In order to ensure that those articles include plenty of links to more detailed instructions that highlight your product, make sure you have lots of how-to content available that will allow those interested to go into much more detail. Help your new developer advocates help you.

Content Requirement: How-to’s, case studies, public documentation.

Crushing It

Technical content marketing tactics can be more dynamic than promoting material for your audience to download. Use developer challenges as a content marketing tactic to boost engagement with your content, and, most importantly, your product. Sate the curious, and give them the fun of competition. Participants in an exhilarating developer challenge are more likely to share your content. Even better, they will create some for you.