Investing a lot of marketing dollars to reach the modern developer? Industry influencers such as celebrity developers have a ready-made audience who tune in with trust. Use sponsorships strategically to support these influencers and reach their audience.
Who is an Industry Influencer?
For the modern developer, industry influencers usually owe their celebrity to their technical chops and their industry exposure. Rarely are they simply industry trend experts, but are truly practitioners—or at least were recently—and can speak to current technical issues with authenticity and credibility. Sponsorships and ads placed within these communities offer credibility and brand protection, as your brand is shown in context and with content you want associated with your brand. And, to many developers like Mark Downie, context is everything. Developers like Michael Washington are happy to see a brand for a developer tool when they are digging into content from their developer community curated by a developer celebrity/industry influencer. It just makes sense to support your customers’ favorite influencers.
What Do They Do?
However they do it, simply put, these celebrity developers create developer-to-developer (D2D) communities around their content. The type of content can vary, and, more than likely, they offer many types of content and channels to their community.
- Blogs. Blogs provide valuable technical information that followers use to inform themselves. Examples include: Alvin Ashcraft (Morning Dew), Ray Wunderlich, and Scott Hanselman.
- Live-streaming. The platform Twitch has enabled an interesting type of video content: channels that host live streams of developers doing something interesting (ahem, coding, interviews, you name it), which are then archived as recordings. One example is Jeff Fritz’s Twitch channel, CSharpFritz.
- Media sites. These are D2D communities that include content contributed by members and used by members. Examples include CodeProject, JournalDev, and Simple Programmer.
With sponsorship, your brand gets all the benefits of exposure to the influencer audience and association with the influencer, without the burden of producing content or building a community. What you don’t build you pay for, but the cost per customer is much lower than if you build the audience, reputation, and content yourself. It’s also instantaneous—influencers are influencers in part because of the audience size they have built. Additionally, you benefit from their existing promotion channels, like their social media presence.
That’s a Wrap
While building your own audience is necessary for your brand, renting one can be very effective. The strategic use of practitioner influencer sponsorships is an effective and relatively quick way to build your brand awareness. The strategic use of industry influencer sponsorships and your own practitioner content marketing can help you capture brand awareness and share of conversation.