In 2020, I received an invitation to speak at Microsoft Build just before the travel shut down. I had not spoken at a Microsoft event prior and had little to no expectations. Due to the transition from in-person to remote-only events, the organizers asked me to record my talk with their Powerpoint template and edit it down to 20 minutes.
I will spare you the details, but my attempt was nothing short of awful. Luckily that video is not searchable, and I got another chance to improve on it this year at Build 2021. Thanks to that experience, I hyper-focused on improving my remote stage presence through live streaming on Twitch and producing quality YouTube videos (not there yet).
I have learned a ton from YouTube and applied it to my GitHub role on their YouTube channel. I have previously complained [at devrel events and podcasts] of the YouTube conference graveyard and how most developer-focused companies use YouTube as a place to dump all their conference and unrelated marketing content.
Many folks are looking to return to in-person conferences. Unless the conference has a post-event promotion plan, I can not recommend sponsoring or participating in future remote events. I see no need in speaking or sponsoring conferences that have no post-conference marketing strategy moving forward. Event sponsorship has been a forever pillar of the developer relations strategy, and I am seeing that pillar being replaced with the ability to gain the same attention as you would if you flew out the team on-site to speak and engage the community.
“I see no need in speaking or sponsoring conferences that have no post-conference marketing strategy moving forward.”
For years developers have been creating engaging content in video form, but the context of video has mostly been missed in DevRel. Lectures with powerpoints cannot be the future of DevRel, especially while transitioning this hybrid model of some content online and some content in-person.
Remote conferences are not dissapearing, but I think the approach needs to change towards providing value indefinitely.
If you are looking for what the future of conferences looks like, I suggest checking out GitHub Universe, but also check out the most recent Jamstack Conf.
One year ago, the GitHub DevRel made YouTube a focus in our content strategy and it has driven a lot of growth towards our newest feature updates, Issues, Releases, and CoPilot. The YouTube account has been neglected as the place to dump cool Octocat Animations and conference talks.
At this year’s GitHub Universe, we made an effort not simply to host an online conference but to provide a quality YouTube experience even after the talk portion was completed. Every on-demand session got 3rd party editing treatment. The 2-hour broadcast sessions were heavily scripted and produced to gain views organically even after the conference’s last session was completed.
We have also produced a strategy for future content that will drive subscriber growth and engagement (which is better than views). In 2020, we saw a lot of teams move towards live-streaming to engage the community. We have seen less emphasis on pre-recorded or YouTube content, but I have a feeling we will see more of that in 2022.
Here are some quick tips, if you are looking towards YouTube as your DevRel or content strategy.
- If your
content does not get more 1% click-through, my suggestion is to update the title.
- If you are getting less than 100 views, consider updating the title to something that is interesting and compels the viewer to click on it.
Not live, but catch me on the VOD for the FrontendHorse stream.
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