You can have the most insightful content on the internet, but you still need to cast a wide net when distributing if you want people to pay attention. Distribution and repurposing are just as important as the writing itself. But if you’re marketing to technical audiences, channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter may not be the best place to start.
Instead, you want to look for places to cast your net where your audience (developers, product managers, engineers, etc.) are hanging out. The best way to find these places? Talk to content marketers who regularly write for developers and other technical audiences. Below are a few developer distribution channels we found from people who do just that, along with the playbook for each channel.
Similar to distributing content to any audience, it’s a good idea to hone in on one or two channels rather than try to be everywhere at once.
Almost every community on Reddit has a no-promo rule, which makes sharing your content in subreddits like r/programming or r/webdev difficult. People do distribute content on Reddit—but it’s mostly zero-click content with the long game in mind.
“You don’t promote yourself,” says Mariya Delano, Content Ambassador for Developer Marketing Alliance. “You use it as a research channel for figuring out what people are talking about and [distribute content] as a good faith community participant.”
As you would in any online community, you want to build a reputation for yourself as a helpful member of the group before promoting anything. If people want to learn more, let them do it on their own time.
Here are some ways to be strategic when setting up your profile:
If you see a question about a topic you’ve written about, you can answer and drop a link. But do so in moderation and read the subreddit’s rules first—if you come off as spammy, your comment will likely get downvoted or deleted. Remember, you want to grow your reputation as a helpful user.
Hacker News is one of the main places where technical folks get their content. Getting one of your articles to the front page is a near guarantee for lots of traffic and attention. But it’s not the best place for beginner-level content (unless it’s something timely such as Google’s recent AI-powered search) and getting to the top results takes a concerted effort.
“The standards of quality are super high,” says Alexey Klochai, Founder of the technical writing agency Wizard on Demand. “You have to put a lot of work into what you publish there. It’s easier to rank on Hacker News if you have something interesting to share.”
For example, he shares this post about a company’s shift to usage-based pricing that ended up on the front page of the site. It was about a unique pricing model that developers could use to improve their pricing. The writing isn’t perfect, but the uniqueness of the announcement, and the fact that it’s a real-life update, made this post successful.
Dev.to is a community with over a million software developers where you can read articles and participate in forums like “Meme Monday.” It’s a pretty straightforward option if you want to publish full posts. You have to create an account to post content, but the bar for quality isn’t as high as on other sites like InfoQ or Hacker News. As long as you demonstrate value, your post will likely get accepted.
Some other tips:
Since it isn’t too hard to publish on Dev.to, the name of the game is getting to the front page. Kacper Rafalski, Demand Generation Team Leader at Netguru, found success after publishing a detailed tutorial on integrating a specific API into a web application. Once the article reached the front page, they saw an increase in visibility and had a spike in inquiries for their custom software development services.
Newsletters can be a great way to get more eyeballs on your content, but you have to build relationships with the people who run them if you want them to feature your content. Like the other channels, it’s a long game. Newsletters are one of the main channels Alexey uses at his agency, so he offers some firsthand advice.
“Subscribe to the newsletter, get to know the person who runs it, and over time you’ll understand what they care about. If you consistently send them good things, that’ll help in the long run. Eventually, if you want to insert a more salesy article, like a product announcement, you’ll be able to do it.”
If you don’t have a pre-existing relationship, he recommends sending articles that are super valuable on their own with little to no selling of your product. Additionally, niche-specific, smaller newsletters in your particular technology or industry can be easier to break into.
“Many of the smaller ones (<20k subs) have a way to submit a link, but submitting doesn’t guarantee inclusion in the newsletter,” he says. “Many SaaS companies have their own newsletters for things like product announcements, and some of them include external links. Some have up to 100k subs, and there aren’t that many people sending links to them,” he explains.
We’ve mostly talked about ways to distribute thought leadership content that makes waves in the industry—such as trying a new pricing model or discovering a new way to use a tool. But a lot of technical content includes less groundbreaking content such as software tutorials. For these, your best bet is to optimize for SEO.
“Over half of developer search queries are about code samples or code explanations,” says SEO and Content Consultant Kasper Siig, citing a study on developers’ search habits. “There are so many opportunities to reach developers through Google, most often by helping them during troubleshooting or planning.”
Another option is publishing videos on YouTube with playlists grouped by category. Like search, YouTube is pretty saturated, but you can include videos on your site to make tutorials and other troubleshooting content more accessible.
No matter which channels you prioritize, the key to success is getting SMEs involved to create mid to expert-level content. The web is saturated with beginner-level content which, even with a robust distribution strategy, won’t take your company or client very far. Getting SMEs involved with content can be tough—CTOs and developers have the best insights but may not have time for content.
“It's a chicken and egg scenario: once they see the results from the SME work, they make time,” says technical content marketer Chris Thornett. “I reduce the heavy lifting through a lot of research into content angles that complement the company messaging, bubble up from competitor analysis, and surface from industry trend research.”
This helps with getting buy-in from stakeholders who can support your work within the company, he says. Finally, if SMEs don’t understand the need for interviews, Chris says a quick education lesson over email or an FAQ sheet can help.
Distributing content to developers and other technical audiences requires strategic planning no matter how you slice it. If you can figure out the best channel or two to maximize your efforts, along with getting SMEs to add unique insights to your content, your hard work will be rewarded with more of the right eyeballs on your content.