Whether you are speaking to the modern developer, modern IT, or the DevOps engineer, public documentation may be the first content they consume. As the first face of your product or company a developer prospect sees, it needs to be a good one. That’s why your public documentation deserves to be part of your content marketing strategy. It also deserves to be written by a practitioner from outside your company.
Public Documentation is Practitioner Content Marketing
Undoubtedly you have documentation already written by your product team. However, it was probably written for another member of the product team. They already know the product, so a lot can be left out. Not so for the new user evaluating your product.
That’s why recruiting practitioner authors from outside your company to write your public-facing documentation produces the best public documentation. Developer empathy is baked right in.
Who better than the outsider who just learned how to use your product to structure the documentation so a newb can find the documentation they need for the use case they need it for?
The practitioner sitting outside your company’s firewall is more likely to be able to articulate documentation within the context of typical use cases. Unlike your product team member, she won’t make assumptions because the she isn’t a product creator. And she is more likely to pick the use cases that peers are curious about, giving your documentation the blessing of market pull, rather than product push.
Oh So Clickable
Developers Marc Clifton, Peter Kvis, and Mahsa Hassankashi all reference documentation as an important part of the research they do before trying or buying a product. Evans Data Corporation’s 2018 Developer Marketing Survey indicates 47.8% of respondents were very likely to click on links on newsletters that lead to product information. When that information includes product documentation, it just gets that much spicier!
Make Your CTA a CTC
Did you want developer engagement? Were you looking for developer buzz? Perhaps the odd application on your API or the ringing endorsement in an article written for a D2D community? For that, your call-to-action (CTA) needs to look a lot like a call-to-code (CTC). And nothing makes coding look more appealing than clear guidelines on just how to use your product, tool, or API.
That’s a Wrap
Be the hero of your company’s product team and take public documentation off their shoulders. Getting product out is a full-time job, so don’t ask your product engineers to moonlight as your marketing team. Practitioner-written public documentation can satisfy the requirements of your prospects and developer community because it is essentially written by them. Tap into the practitioner perspective, and own public marketing like a boss. Everyone will thank you for it.