Software engineers are highly educated, analytical individuals who know how to seek new information. Software engineers expect depth, precision, and relevance.
Reaching this audience with content marketing can be a powerful tool for the software sector. Still, because of their sophistication, content marketing for the software engineering sector requires high expertise and attention to detail. This article explains how to craft engaging content tailored for software engineering audiences.
Decoding the Software Engineering Audience
While an audience mindset is essential for all content marketing efforts, it’s crucial when writing for software engineers. Engineers already have a depth of knowledge. They also know how to identify and solve pain points on their own. So creating content that connects can be challenging.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to software engineers. In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Lindsey Redd, an engineer, said:
A big misconception is that software engineers just code, which is not true. A lot of my job is writing documentation to explain things to people or communicate or pitch ideas. A lot of it is meetings where we figure out the direction of a particular piece of software or a product. And those all involve a lot of other skills that are not coding.
The Mindset of a Software Engineer
According to We Are Developers, top characteristics of software engineers include:
- Curious and open-minded
- Self-motivated and proactive
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Strong sense of responsibility and ownership
The same article identified a few weaknesses as well:
- Overreliance on familiar tools and techniques
- Resistance to change
- Overconfidence in abilities and lack of humility
So what does this mean for crafting content? This type of audience knowledge can help you get into the mindset of your audience. It’s a crucial step in crafting audience personas – semi-fictional, generalized representations of a company’s ideal customers.
Buyer personas can inform various marketing activities, including content creation, advertising, and even product development. They help marketers better understand their target audiences. Also, how to communicate with them more effectively. These personas define pain points and offer solutions.
For a software engineering audience, solving pain points could mean:
- Reducing unnecessary steps
- Organizing files, tasks, or solutions
- Collaborating more effectively
Content Formats that Engage Software Engineers
Developing a good idea is only part of the battle in content marketing for software engineering. After identifying your audience’s needs and pain points, you’ll have some idea of the type of content to create. Then, it’s essential to choose your content format.
Many factors determine content formats:
- Breadth and detail of topic
- Data sources
- Visual elements
Audience behavior should also play a big role in determining content format. For example, you don’t want to publish content on a platform your audience doesn’t use. You also want to publish content that is most likely to resonate with your audience.
Some content formats may fit better for a software engineering audience.
Technical Deep-Dives and White Papers
A white paper is an in-depth piece of content (similar to an ebook) or well-researched report that allows a business to serve as an authority on a topic, often by presenting a problem alongside a solution. They often include charts, graphs, and visualizations to help hammer a point home.
Unlike ebooks, white papers deliver an abundance of focused and original research. Their reason for being includes everything from presenting data analysis to new studies to academic research.
Why it clicks with coders:
- Relies on numbers and data
- Shows real-world applications
- Provides new information
- Easy to see a big picture
Video Tutorials and Webinars
Seventy-eight percent of people watch online videos weekly, while 55% watch online videos daily. For software engineers who want to learn visually or who want to gain knowledge while completing other tasks, videos are ideal.
Video tutorials provide direct solutions to pain points while also introducing your brand. But beware, Guy Larcom, an instructional designer at TechSmith, says creating tutorials is not as easy as it seems. He says:
“Great tutorials start with great planning. Start by spending some time getting to know your audience. Learn how they use your product and find out where they struggle. Then use that information to choose a tutorial topic that will help the most amount of people.”
Similarly, Webinars offer deep insight into a topic. Consider repurposing your webinar content for other campaigns. For example, you can compile data visualizations to create infographics. Memorable quotes from presenters also make for effective tweets, Instagram posts, and authoritative snippets for blog posts.
A case study tells the story of how real customers use your service or product. These real-life stories speak to software engineers because they’re based in fact. Case studies can be extremely effective as motivators and objection removers. Using case studies in your marketing will help engineers see things logically and what a happy customer looks like.
Crafting Content: Best Practices
Creating compelling content takes work. But there are some best practices that can make it go more smoothly.
Ensuring Accuracy and Credibility
Because a software engineering audience is educated and data-minded, accuracy is key. Inaccurate information can hurt your credibility and destroy brand trust.
To ensure accuracy, try:
- Collaborating with experts
- Sending content for expert review
- Fact-checking content from freelancers
- Maintaining a robust editing and approval process
Making Complex Topics Accessible
Software topics can look like they’re written in another language — and not just coding language! Making sure your content is clear and easily understandable is important. Content should be engaging as well as factual.
Some tips to improve readability include:
- Using visuals like charts, infographics, and graphs
- Breaking up text with bullet points, lists, and step-by-step guides
- Recapping content at the end
- Highlighting key points as callouts or tips
Amplifying Your Content’s Reach
Amplifying and distributing content is always essential. While search engine optimization can boost visibility, you should aim to get content in front of as many eyes as possible.
In the software space, there are many opportunities to amplify content. Software engineers are very active online with dedicated message boards, social media platforms, and industry experts.
Post on software online communities like:
- Dedicated Slack communities
- Stack Overflow
You may also consider guest posting or syndicating your content on other platforms. Online publisher Medium has thousands of posts about software engineering. Other popular software engineering platforms include:
Balancing Depth with Engagement In Software Content Marketing
Software content marketing is a bit of a balancing act. The engineering audience wants real data, depth, and information. But they also want engaging content designed to be read, enjoyed, and shared. For best results:
- Understand your audience
- Write for engineers, not yourself
- Share your content where your audience hangs out
If you’re looking to write more compelling software engineering content, ClearVoice can help. The ClearVoice network features experienced software writers, many of whom have sat on both sides of the keyboard. If you’re looking for writers, learn more about our technology and software freelance network.