Tutorials are by far and away the most popular technical content for developers to consume and share. So, clearly, if you are marketing to developers with any hope of success, tutorials are on your content marketing playlist. But they are also on your competitors’. So what does it take to make a popular developer tutorial? Thanks to Evans Data Corporation and their Developer Marketing 2019 report, we have 3 (ok, maybe 4) hot, hot tips.
Lights, Camera, ACTION!
So it helps if it’s a video, not too long, and with information that’s easy to find. Their survey indicates that developers prefer to view tutorials. Even those viewing webinars are mainly there because they think the webinar is a tutorial. Having said that, most developers (almost 90%) will also read tutorials when researching a new technology. Regardless of format, your tutorial should have a written component that is also downloadable, and, of course, web crawler indexable. Whether written or video, if a developer likes your tutorial and finds it helpful, they will share it with their peers. Booyah!
Get to the Point
Developers are very cognizant of their time use and efficiency. And they are human, which means not only are they busy like everyone else, they can’t just sit passively and absorb information over a long period of time. So stick to shorter formats.
Keep videos to 15 minutes to 30 minutes long, and consider keeping your longform content brief, too (oxymoron intended). Structure your tutorial text to comprise easily scannable headlines, bulleted lists, and code examples with links to more information for those who want or need more detailed information.
Show Your Face
According to Evans Data Corporation’s Developer Marketing 2019 report, the majority of developers prefer in-person tutorials. Create an in-person option for your tutorial content. For example, host a live tutorial at a conference based on some of your downloadable materials.
Another option: Host in-person watch parties with someone knowledgeable about the material there to answer questions. Use Meetup groups or other local professional organizations to help you reach and assemble your prospects. And, don’t forget the power of free pizza.
The Secret, Emergency Backup Fourth Thing
Positioning. More developers will be attracted to tutorials that are positioned as skill-building. While developers are lifelong learners, they like learning with a purpose. So remember that offering to show someone how to use your product is not that exciting. Offering to help a developer build a coveted skill is.
The best way to generate well-positioned tutorials? Get a practitioner outside your organization to write or deliver them. Or use an developer influencer who already has an audience and a trust base. When someone outside your company that they trust says, “Hey, this is a skill-builder you need,” developers are more likely to believe it.
Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner
There are a few assumptions about your tutorials that should be true for these tips to work. Hopefully, your product truly does help developers solve a problem. Also, I’m assuming learning about how to use your product will help developers build a skill they need, whether they purchase it or not.
With those two assumptions being true, paying attention to format, style, in-person delivery, and positioning can help you make your tutorials as popular with developers as they should be.