DevRel is one of the most interesting functions I've served across the engineering spectrum because it ties in very closely -- equally in many cases -- with the product and marketing parts of a company. While some may think that those are should be the most tightly-coupled parts of an organization, they're often not, not even close. Internally and externally, marketers struggle to communicate well with developers, and developers struggle at identifying things that are most likely great for marketing.
There's something that I find often eluding both developers and marketers - the value of a constant stream of consciousness and perspective coming from the engineering part of the organization. I'm not asserting that companies should just make their engineering Slack rooms completely public, but I am asserting that the process itself can be a big part of the product. For some, it might be the only part of the product that interests them, especially if you're very early on in development.
Why is this? Because it's storytelling, which is an integral but often overlooked part of product-led developer marketing. What are the pains we're trying to ease? What are the practices we want people to follow or eschew? What inefficiencies bother us so much that we literally wrinkle in the shower thinking about? Most important, why should anyone else care about it, at all?
There's lots of ways to illustrate problems, but the only way to illustrate how much you care about the problem is to let people in on your process of solving it. This includes narrating your failures, inviting folks to celebrate small victories and making sure you keep building on your part of the story of how this thing that you really care about is coming into existence.
To practice it, you need some support and some level of personal commitment to keep at it while you attract an audience. It's also very helpful if the company that you work for provides you with clear-cut guidance on what you can and can't talk about publicly. Ideally, your company recognizes the value of what you're writing, and helps you find your audience. This can be by promoting some of the posts that you write on the company blog, boosting your reach on social media by retweeting & sharing some of your posts, and by just genuinely appreciating your effort.
Not everyone is extroverted enough that they want any part of any of this, and that's 100% okay. You shouldn't feel pressure to do this, nor should you cause others to feel pressure for not doing it. Writing is hard. But, it costs so little to have support in place who really want to make your product journey a big part of their own personal story - it's sort of foolish to not embrace it.
It's the most authentic, and sadly, one of the most overlooked ways that you can lead people to find your product. It's authentic because it's not marketing, it's storytelling, and we (developers) love a good, honest, relatable story. I love that I'm able to work at a place that values this.
If you're looking for a job, Swimm is hiring.