Why Developer Advocacy programs should consider working with partners

One of the goals of many developer advocacy programs is to reach more new developers. One approach that I leveraged when I was at Appery.io and we leverage even more at IBM Developer is working with partners.  In this blog post I want to share a few reasons why working partners has benefits.

We work with organizations such as Women Who Code, Hacker Dojo, The Den and others. These organizations have their own vibrant developer communities. We also work with developer companies such as Twilio, Slack, Cloudinary, Dashbot, JFrog and others. These companies have their own vibrant developer communities.

There are a number of factors why we like working with partners.

First, and probably the most important – working with partners and external communities allows us to provide developer education to developers who we probably wouldn’t reach otherwise. At the same time, the partner is able to tap in our growing developer community. This has a lot of value to both organizations. A one-off event is probably fine but we like to build a relationship with these organizations. We try to be consistent and host a monthly event. If one event a month is too often, you can try to do once every two month. Event frequency is really up to you.

Second, when we work with developer companies, we like to show developers a solution that shows how technologies from both companies can work together. There are a number of benefits here. First, an application usually consists of many different technologies (open source, various companies, etc). So this shows more of a real world example. If you can show a complimentary solution that leverages both technologies, that’s extra credit. For example, if you are building a chatbot powered by Watson, then you can show how to deploy it to Slack. Second, it shows more credibility and openness. No one wants to see technology from the same company over and over again.

We also work with companies/solutions that can be our competitors.  We are not afraid of this and in fact this is probably one of the best partner events we can host. Every framework, solution or platform is a little bit different and has its pros and cons. We also know that developers are very smart. We want developers to go with a solution that best solves their problem. And if it’s not a solution from us – that’s absolutely fine. When someone tells us they went with a different solution, we always want to know why. This is incredibly important feedback and we take back to the product teams.

Third, we like supporting, sponsoring and giving back to organizations that do a lot of good in the community (for example Women Who Code).

Fourth, hosting an in-person event is hard. There is a lot of pre-event work and of course you need to have a number of people supporting the the actual event. When we work with an organization such as Hacker Dojo, we outsource event management and execution to them (and they do it very well) and we only provide content. It works the other way around too.

Last but no least, partners events are just fun!

The actual type of an event that you do with a partner can be virtually anything. It can be an in-person event, it can be an online event but also a joint blog post or a tutorial. If you want to learn more about content, read my blog post about how content creates content.

We would love to partner with more companies – just let me know!

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

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4 responses to “Why Developer Advocacy programs should consider working with partners”

  1. […] I have talked why it’s a good idea to partner with other companies here […]

  2. […] Another example shared was how Slack approached its community strategy. When Slack was starting it didn’t have a big community. What they did – they partnered and collaborated with other communities. In 2017 Slack partnered with IBM’s Developer Advocacy team in Europe and did a city tour together with a focus on how to build Chatbots with IBM Watson and deploy them on Slack. In this example they tapped into IBM’s developer community. I shared a very similar idea in this blog post: Why Developer Advocacy programs should consider working with partners. […]

  3. […] Why Developer Advocacy programs should consider working with partners […]

  4. […] Partnering to host events with other folks within your organization or outside is always great. Online meetups make it even better and simpler as no travel is required. If you have someone within your organization who wants to help host an online event, this person can be located anywhere. They don’t need to be located in the same office. All they really need is a quite space and an internet connection. This works very well with external partners as well. Your external partner can be located anywhere in the world and you can easily host an online meetup with them. […]

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