What Is Developer Relations
Developer Relations, I once read a tweet that said:
You are not a #DevRel professional until you have blogged/twitted/streamed content about “What is Developer Advocacy/Relations”.
I am being called out here and no not specifically. Should have done this years ago but I didn’t. But before I dive in on this topic I should preface how I want to talk about Developer Relations. What it isn’t, what it is and why.
What this Developer Relations is not. First it’s not about you (the advocate or DevRel person). It never was and it never will be. One of the worst things to see is when someone make this about them. And this is the worst. From stolen content to using the terms like “I”, “why I”, or “Me”. Sure, if you need to use it in a sentence great. But, this shouldn’t be what your content is about. This role isn’t about you, your politics, or your opinion.
This is not a numbers game. So stop with, “they don’t have enough view” and “they only have so many Twitter followers”. Numbers are easy to game. Numbers include the number of channels you are on. Repeating content for every channel is playing to the numbers not the content. If you worry about your number or other’s numbers you are missing the point of this role.
This isn’t a big sales pitch about your product or services. Nothing is less genuine than a sales pitch in content. Sure, people need to make money. Not arguing this. But that isn’t what this role is about. If your content is a constant flow of sales, you are an inside sales pre-sales engineer.
Few things here, first not about you, not about numbers last not about products and services. So what is Developer Relations
Well, if it’s not about you then who is it about? It’s about the people. I work for the community members in our community. I work for the engineers working day in and day out to make a great open source product. This isn’t about me at all. I will use terms like “us”, “we” and “our”. I tell people that I do this for them, I use the word “you” a lot. This role needs to be inclusive and respectful not judgmental and exclusive. You can do this role and still have your own brand.
But, if you have no views on your content, then it has to stink? Right? No. This role you are putting out content. Make it meaningful. Not, click bait. I would rather see solid meaningful content with less views than a fluff piece with a million. Sure, numbers can be good but they shouldn’t be the end all be all. If you are judging someone or something on their numbers? Well, you are making it about you.
But I work for Acme Co and I am their DevRel person!? This doesn’t mean your content is a huge sales pitch. I talk about products that are not related to my company. Written post right here about a competitor OS. Sure, I love a lot of the products my company produces. There are some that are not there yet. But, I am honest to the community about this. Your credibility will falter if you push something that is half baked. Yes technology is the backbone of what we do. But it isn’t the end all be all. People are more likely to pick up and use a product that they see in action. Less likely if it is a sales demo.
This is about others, about community, about technology. In that order. Telling a story while navigating a complex technical ecosystem. These roles are here to help others navigate this landscape. I am excited about a great video I made. Or connect others around a common interest or technology. This is why I do this. Not for the clicks, not for the views and not for me but for other.