How developer relations impact your business and why you need it
Everyone is trying to attract the best talent. Marketing and HR departments are spending countless hours trying to craft the right pitch to seal the deal with young, bright developers. The only problem is that developers either don't seem to get the message or, even worse, seem to be put off by promises of huge salaries and fancy offices.
When the talk turns to product, all they hear are empty slogans full of words like "amazing" and "paradigm-changing" rather than an earnest conversation about the features and the code behind them. It's as if they were speaking different languages.
Build relationships that last

This is were developer relations comes in. At its core, developer relations is best defined as building relationships with the developer community. It is about identifying what developers want and need and then finding ways to reach and engage them with your products or services. The aim is to get them to contribute back to their developer community and get other developers interested in your products and services. Thus, developer relations is essentially about acting as a liaison between your company and existing developer communities.
Marketing is now an engineering discipline
This sounds great in theory, but what's the real benefit? Why does my company need to connect with developer communities?
Sounds complicated, doesn't it? From the perspective of traditional marketing, that's probably true. What developer relations calls for is a new breed of marketer who is, at the same time, an engineer. Developers live in their own world and have their own language and set of values. They are highly social and used to collaborating via social media. If your company wants to create a thriving developer community around your products and services, you have to find someone who speaks their language and knows how they think. They also have to be able to interact with the developers and translate their feedback into terms that the other business units and C-level can understand. Basically, what this means is that you are looking for an excellent communicator with a technical background.
Developers communicate too
Developers love to talk about the latest products and services and share their thoughts with other developers. If all they hear is the usual marketing language targeted at consumers, they won't engage. They want to understand what products you develop, the technologies you use and what your company is about. If they like what they hear, they will quickly spread the word and generate buzz about your product.
Connect with education
Another fact about developers is that they are always thirsty for knowledge. By creating content (blog posts, documentation, Q&A sessions, answering questions on Stack Overflow), you educate developers about your products and technologies and explain how to use them. This also gives you the chance to show them how your products or services can make their lives easier, which is one thing developers always appreciate. Something as simple as a blog post on Medium can inspire developers to start thinking of new features for your product or ways of improving or simplifying existing ones. Plus, it makes easier to hire them in future because they are already loyal to your company and are familiar with you and your range of products.
Expert feedback makes the difference
Finally, expert feedback can be a difference maker for your company. Imagine a whole community of devoted testers just dying to put your products or services through their paces. Whether in person at meetups & conferences or in the form of comments on social media, this kind of feedback (feature requests, bugs, etc.) is invaluable to your sales, marketing and product teams. Developer relations can help you create these feedback circles and improve the quality and success of your products or services.
Engage with developers in meaningful ways
In the end, the goal is to engage developer communities in meaningful ways, especially through meetups and conferences. This is where that engineering background of your developer relations team pays off. They can discuss emerging ideas, share best practices and chat about new technologies in an authentic and compelling manner. It's not just about pushing your products or becoming a thought leader, it's about establishing a relationship to existing developer communities and hopefully creating a new one around your products or services.
Originally published in WeAreDevelopers Magazine by Stefan Steinbauer.