3 Best Practices for Developer PR

With software and apps taking over every aspect of our lives, we’re seeing more developer tools come to market that help programmers create, deploy and test software faster, and manage other aspects of the development process. At Bateman Group, we represent several of these companies within our “Future Stack” Practice, which includes Currencycloud, DigitalOcean, Fastly, Rainforest and Manifold, the developer services marketplace that launched today.

The rise of developer tools has increased demand for PR professionals who know how to reach developers and create stories about dev tools that media actually care about. As someone who works on many of Bateman’s dev-focused accounts, here are three things I’ve found to be most important for doing developer PR right:

Absolutely No BS
Developers are exceptionally good at sniffing out marketing jargon, and they think it stinks. If you’re doing a press release for a developer tools product (if you do one at all), strike through every word that sounds like it would be found in an MBA guidebook.

Likewise, providing transparency to users and fostering a sense of community is paramount. While this is true across industries these days thanks to social media, developers in particular crave authenticity. That means having a clear strategy for communicating what the product pipeline looks like and offering honest, straightforward answers to users’ questions. Our client DigitalOcean has done a particularly good job fostering its community and providing avenues for users to share their wants and needs. For instance, they have a space where developers can vote on new product features, some of which have thousands of submissions.

Think Beyond “Traditional” Media When Pitching
In the 2000s, there were simply more publications aimed at developers and IT audiences. Today we have SD Times, IDG and only a handful of others. This makes it all the more critical to find smart ways to engage with reporters at the remaining publications. It also means making sure you’re tuned in on where else developers are spending their time. Eyeballs and attention spans have to go somewhere, and increasingly, they’re gravitating toward Hacker News, Stack Overflow and personal developer blogs.

Some vendors, such as Stripe, have even started their own publications that cover developer topics.

If you’re not thinking about how these alternative channels fit into your communications strategy, you’re missing out on an opportunity to increase awareness among your potential buyers.

Content, Content, Content
Programming trends change quickly — developers must always be learning and evolving their skills to keep up with the pace. Imagine having to learn a new language for your job every few years (and having to do it on your own personal time). That’s the status quo for today’s professional programmer. For developer tool vendors, this provides an ideal opportunity to create content that helps developers stay on top of the latest technologies and techniques, and provides thought-provoking viewpoints on how certain trends are shaping their work. Here’s one example from the CTO of our client Rainforest that does a nice job at this.

Have you done PR for developer-focused companies? If so, what have you found has worked best for you?