Folks are catching on. In the last month, I have been in meetings with two separate startup founders looking for content advice and how to get started in 2021.
I have done one-off consulting in the past, and this is not me announcing my consulting business. But after a handful of years, I am starting to see that I know a few things about developer content creation. I recently saw a tweet encouraging content creators to consider ways to stand out from the crowd and promising insights in only two tweets.
I see folks pushing the “be a content creator” angle. I love this. It’s an effective way to get your name out there. But as more people do it, you’ll need to work harder at it to cut through the noise. We have a glut of content. And a scarcity of attention.
Shipping a course on egghead or finishing a 10 min read on the blockchain is only the beginning. The next step is scaling that content in a way that pays dividends. My friend Nader recently dropped some huge news that he is leaving AWS to join a blockchain-focused startup to lead DevRel there. One week later, he dropped a complete introduction to Ethereum development with React Dev. He got 50k views in the first week. A week after that, he comes out with a full-hour video series on the same subject on YouTube and gains 2000 subscribers.
Seems that I picked a pretty wild time to get into crypto. Also seems that the job market here is out of control. My post on building with Ethereum hit 50,000 views in a couple days, has resulted in quite a few people reaching out to hire me, one rate quoted @ $150/hr (but I
See where I am getting with this?
He has set up a flywheel with this series of posts and spread them out to multiple platforms. I have seen quite a few folks get locked into content types or platforms only to get burnt out and irrelevant. I am encouraged to try this out and see if I can produce a similar strategy with the content I am generating.
TikTok is a platform mostly marked for GenZ and something I only casually engaged. I always enjoy the content there but never felt compelled to create content there, until my coworker brought it up in a meeting. To put it simple, they asked if GitHub should make TikTok videos and I laughed it off. But after that meeting, I put in a lot of time research videos from Casiddo, seaotta__, and even some up and comers bocxtop.
After a month of actively engaging there, I found out some interesting takes that I would like to share.
TikTok is not only dance videos. TikTok is growing into a platform where you can grow a massive audience with only 15 seconds of content. The key is associating yourself with the trend of the week. Trends on TikTok are centered around songs or audio clips. The focus on music makes it a bedrock for dancing videos, but the folks figuring out how to do more than just dance has figured out the formula for going viral.
To correlate this to developer content, you can create a Next.js and Tailwind video series and instantly get views or sales (whatever your goal). This is because that is content folks are looking for because that is the content that exists. But what if you took the existing model and created the same course for Nuxt and Tailwinds or Next and Chakra? You could build a platform for your future content by building an audience from trendy content. This might seem out of nowhere, but Ludwig calls it the Yoink and Twist method. That video is worth watching if you are at all curious how to grow a mainstream audience.
All of TikTok is the Yoink and Twist method. For example, I had some recent success in going viral off TikTok (on Twitter) but using a viral TikTok formula. I took existing ideas from TikTok and made them developer jokes, that’s it.
The majority of the content flopped, but the two that didn’t help establish me as a “DevTokker.” In one week, I made five videos on TikTok and posted 4 of them to Twitter. Here are the results.
Video 1: - Twitter - 74k views, 390k impressions - TikTok - 726 views
Video 2: - Twitter - 603 views, 3k impressions - Tiktok - 63 views
Video 3: - Twitter - 683 views, 3k impressions - Tiktok 48 views
Video 4: - Twitter - 23.5k views, 137k impressions - TikTok - 67 views
To summarize the above, TikTok is not a place where you can plan to make it big with developer content today, and to be honest, you probably never will. It is a place to make 15-sec videos that can help you go viral with the developer audience on Twitter.
I have a decent following on Twitter that engages in my tweets, so my expectation was that I would get some engagement similar to video 2 & 3. I did not anticpiate folks with large Twitter followings retweeting the videos.
TikTok has a proper algorithm that gets you in front of eyeballs regardless of your follower count. None of my videos are runaway successes on TikTok, but half of the TikToks I posted to Twitter extremely well engaged with.
That tells me the developer content is good enough to get engagement, but I have not broken ranks out of the 689 million users on TikTok to get noticed by the algorithm using dumb git jokes. My quick experiments from 2 weeks ago proved that TikTok is worth leveraging but not worth investing a lot of time to growing a developer audience there for now.
I will still publish TikToks in the future, but I would expect less git jokes and more pizza jokes there (know your audience). I will continue to share my insight and behind the scenes experiences.https://www.tiktok.com/@bdougieyo
In this Level Up Tutorials series, we will learn to improve our developer workflow through automation. Let’s get started!
This video covers my story of how I got my first job and moved to San Francisco.
A 90 minute extended session titled “Getting Traction with GitHub Actions” at Open Source 101 2021.
In a recent session with Heavybit members, GitHub Staff Developer Advocate and JAMstack Radio host Brian Douglas shared how he’s leveraged new platforms and new formats to help GitHub reach larger and more diverse developer audiences, and how to implement some of his tactics in your own developer content strategies.
While GraphQL is an elegant protocol and schema language, client libraries today typically come with large API footprints. We aim to create something more lightweight instead. Join bdougie and Phil (from Formiddable) in learning the latest in consuming GraphQL.
Brian Douglas is a Staff Developer Advocate at GitHub. He talks to Scott about his journey (and YOUR journey) into Open Source and community! Anyone can do it!
The gang talks about their favorite software and hardware as developers. Brian Douglas joins to share his unique and open GitHub Actions flow.
This talk will cover how existing projects use GitHub Action to hope that all projects, despite their size, can benefit collectively from knowledge sharing. The benefit of Actions is that the majority are shareable and open source. Plan to leave this talk with ideas on how you can automate new portions of your software development pipeline for production.