"What department does Developer Relations belong in?" is one of the questions that comes up with almost every single one of my clients, and I understand -- it's a hard one! We explored this briefly (and controversially) last week, and it's a topic a lot of you feel strongly about!
Greg Bulmash replied with this thought:
If DevRel feels they aren't Marketing; that they have to teach Marketing how to do their jobs; that they have nothing to learn from Marketing, then there's something wrong with that company. Every customer-facing role needs to be providing feedback to Marketing and getting support from Marketing. Any company where most customer-facing staff dislike Marketing is one where something is broken.
While I'm not a huge proponent of DevRel sitting within marketing, I have to agree with him! If there is a disconnect between what DevRel is doing and what Marketing (or Product, or Engineering) is doing, there are going to be major issues with the company's strategy for reaching community members and new customers.
So what do I tell my clients? I think many of us who have been in the industry for a little while feel more inclined toward one department or another based on what's worked for us in the past, but at the end of the day, no matter what department we wind up in (even if we're the unicorn who gets our own C-suite of DevRel), we have to work across all of the teams.
We must be able to work well with every department -- sharing ideas, collaborating, supporting, guiding. At the end of the day, that's what sets us apart and makes us valuable. We have the ability to speak to the technical side of the issue, while at the same time understanding what marketing and sales tactics are more likely to work for our community, and helping amplify the voices of other technical staff throughout the company.
So while I have some strong feelings on the matter, what works for one company may not work for another, and vice versa. It's about supporting your team, recognizing their value, and helping them show that value on a regular basis.
Thoughts? Feelings? I know this is a hard topic for some... hit reply and let me know what you think!
What's your Main Role?
JBD laid down the gauntlet as far as what's right and wrong about DevRel. Thoughts? Let me know or chime in on the thread!
If videos or speaking is the fundamental role you are giving to your DevRel, you are doing it wrong. DevRel is a dialogue. It is more about sitting together and hack, brainstorming, publishing new projects and writing white papers with OTHERS outside of your echo chamber. The whole purpose of the role is you need an active engineer who constantly need to be out of your bubble to question and reiterate the goals of your project. And surprise✨ surprise✨ it is a full-time job.
Which Team Makes the Dream Work?
DevRel belongs in:
-100% Software Engineering
-25% Mktg / 75% Software Eng
-75% Software Eng / 25% Mktg
Monico is asking for your votes. What's your opinion? I gave him mine (and a few other thoughts) in the thread.
IRL > Online
As a community manager, meeting members of your community in real life is an incredible experience. If you have the opportunity, don't hesitate!
Find the Optimists
It takes a colossal amount of optimism, positivity, and relentless energy to bring a community into existence. You’re asking people to buy into something which doesn’t exist. If you don’t believe in the better future your community is trying to create, neither will your members. Which leads to the key point: I don’t see many successful communities built by pessimists. If you’re trying to get a new community going, hire an optimist. Hire someone who truly believes in the community’s potential.
Help a fellow community builder:
Hey #DevRel peeps, a Q for ya: Does anyone have good examples or ideas on doing live/video product updates?
How many kinds of Community Professionals are there?
David Spinks, Founder of CMX, recently posited that there are two kinds of community professionals:
- the evangelist: active inside and outside the community, creating content, energizing
- the operator: creates systems and processes for managing communities as they grow
He stated that "Often people do both, but they’re much better at one." The thread got interesting after that! What's your opinion? Are there more than two types? Which one do you identify with? Hit reply and let me know!
Resources for New Community Managers
Wondering - do people in online community management know where good resources are and how to find good discussions about community? Would be good to see more #cmgr discussions on twitter
What are your go-to resources for community management? I pointed Serena to my Github Gist (which is on my short list of things to update!). Leave a comment on the gist or reply to this email and let me know what else should be included!
In the meantime, Community Builder Matthew Robinson pulled together a list of 11 favorite digital tools for community building.
Return on Involvement
Kathy Cohen recently published an article on changing the meaning of ROI, and let me tell you -- this is a definition of ROI that I could get behind!
In the business world, we think about ROI as return on investment. In our world -- the world of communities -- our investment is the people with whom we work throughout the year: our volunteers and members, and the common goal we all strive towards. So shouldn’t our thoughts go towards achieving return on involvement?
When we change the way we're looking at things, suddenly the metrics make sense. What if our ROI stands for something slightly different than marketing is used to, but it helps us tell the story in a way that makes sense to those marketing folks who are often responsible for our events and sponsorships budgets? We need to learn to speak their language... on our terms. It will help them understand where you're coming from and also establish that you're the expert that you claim to be.
5 Keys to Working with a Developer Audience
Karen White just recently switched to a Developer Advocacy role from a non-technical online community moderator. How, you might ask? As she explains in this article, there are five key points to keep in mind:
- Talk to developers who are actually using your APIs
- Build trust
- Documentation, documentation, documentation
- Get comfortable helping developers in a variety of stacks, languages, and frameworks
- Build internal alliances
Communities are Change Agents
We've all accepted that in order for a product to stand out in the tech industry we have to be changemakers.
In the recent research released by The Community Roundtable, they show that communities have finally been recognized as the changemakers that we always knew they could be.
For any organization to be successful, it needs new practices to gain widespread acceptance and enthusiastic adoption. Mechanisms that prompt and inspire organizations to change successfully are change agents... Our 2018 analysis concludes that communities have evolved into powerful agents of change.
Here are a few other things that came out of last week's webinar:
Careful dear #Cmgr friends, the signs of burnout for community managers are now officially registered in the @TheCR #SOCM2018 report, and it all starts with enough sleep! Thanks for sharing that sleep study, Jeff Ross!
One of the best things about doing the State of Community Management research every year is that it helps validate the valuable work of #cmgr - and it helps them feel proud. And that makes me feel great ❤️
When you get done with @rhappe's #SOCM2018 webinar & breathe a sigh of relief that you're not the only #CMGR w/the same obstacles and struggles. Now off to change the world...
The long and short of it is that we have the power to enact change, but we've got to stick together in order to do that!
Customer Feedback Drives the Organization, Period.
You cannot deliver quality customer experience if you don’t understand the needs of your customers, and create products and services to meet those needs.
If it sounds like I'm singing the song of DevRel, it's because I am, but it's a song that's also sung by a friend of DevRel: the Agile community. This is a perfect example of how DevRel can work as partners alongside product, eng, and marketing: soliciting feedback, building influential relationships, growing their network in order to spread awareness of the product. In return, we can bring the feedback that we're hearing back home to influence the product roadmap, help engineering understand the customer perspective, and work with marketing on how to hit the pain points of our customers.
As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work.
A Tactical Guide to Effective Public Speaking for Marketing, Content and Tech Events
Want to become a better speaker but aren't sure where to start? Ronell Smith, digital content strategist & branding consultant, put together 23 tips that help with the what, why and how of effective public speaking techniques.
What Should A Brand Community Ultimately Become?
A professional mentor of mine once told me that I should never be content with staying where I am for very long. I should always be asking "What's next?" or "Where am I going from here?" Richard Millington encourages us to ask these questions in a recent post:
Think bigger than you do today. Think about the ultimate role it’s going to play in the lives of your members. Think about the number of people it’s going to serve. Think about the different ways it’s going to help your organization.
And most importantly,
Don’t be afraid to be incredibly ambitious.
Communities loop together near and far
In social media terms, you talk on Twitter, but Facebook validates your existence.
I was reading this article and nodded when I got to this line. This resonates with how I use both Twitter and Facebook!
But then they started talking about propinquity loops -- are you familiar? It's the idea that if you can get customers to engage outside of social media and then post the results back on social media, they're more engaged and will be more likely to return. I'm curious to hear what you all think! I have a feeling most of our work could be classified as "propinquity loops" -- here's this new industry trend... go test it out and let us know what you think. here's a new feature... could you beta test it for us and then help us spread the word? I could go on...
Have any of you used (or participated in) propinquity loops in the past? I'd love to hear if they're effective for your community building strategy!
Find the Metrics That Matter
In previous issues of DevRel Weekly, I've touched on how our job is largely dependent on being a good storyteller. From exchanging stories with community members to communicating our value in ways that upper management will understand, learning how to craft the right stories for the moment is key.
Chris Tubb, Digital Workplace and Intranet Consultant agrees. In this article, he talks about the fact that metrics in and of themselves don't do much good until they have a purpose.
One of the reasons people struggle with measurement is they don’t know what the numbers mean. Is a news story with 450 page views good or bad? Numbers are meaningless without context. You only know that 100 miles per hour is fast because you can compare it to driving. It’s dangerously slow if you are an airline pilot!
Keep writing those stories... keep learning what the stakeholders are looking for... keep crafting the narratives that prove your value.
Why Improving Employee Engagement Should Be Your Priority
In a world where growth is the top priority, this article from Daniel Cohen-Dumani suggests otherwise. He argues that by improving employee engagement, you'll increase productivity, which in turn drives growth.
So how do you engage your employees? It starts with trust, as we talked about in Issue 15, which leads to better teamwork and communication, and in turn company growth and success. Here are the three tips he suggests:
- Give employees autonomy to act in support of organizational goals.
- Align employees toward strategy.
- Create a continuing culture of engagement.
Developer Relations Events
Looking for a place to connect with others who are doing what you do? There are a handful of DevRel and community building events coming up soon! Specifically, if you're going to be at DevXCon or CLS, be sure to let me know -- I'd love to say hi!
Developer Relations Jobs
Curious about the DevRel jobs that are out there? Check out this list of available jobs to see the latest postings.
Developer Avocados 🥑
How to Ripen An Avocado Fast with Teamwork
We all know how frustrating it is to buy some amazing-looking avocados and then have to wait for them to ripen for days (or longer). But it turns out, just like us, avocados are more productive when they're working with other "departments."
As Good Housekeeping points out,
Take a brown paper bag and put your unripe avocado inside with another piece of fruit, like a banana or apple. The fruits naturally exchange ethylene gases inside the bag, which cause them both to ripen — teamwork!