If you are in developer relations, creating content is often a big part of your job. Written content is one of type of content, and a common one at that.
Written content scales well, is easily updated, can be consumed on readers’ schedules, is fairly accessible, and can be reused. It also can serve as a foundation for other kinds of content, such as talks, example apps, or videos.
At FusionAuth, I’m part of a team that creates a lot of written content. I wanted to talk about a couple of ways you can scale written content creation. Note this focuses on creating more content, but don’t forget to write the right content, which is more important than sheer volume. (That’s a whole other blog post, though I feel a bit like Fermat even mentioning it.) This post also assumes you can’t hire more in-house talent, either because of budget or because finding good devrel folks is really hard right now.
First up, re-use your content. You can take pieces and use them in different ways. For instance, write a great piece of long form content. Then, pick a few of the most interesting paragraphs or sentences, and share those in Twitter or on other social media. You can also use these excerpts as fodder for comments on online communities or forums, if they answer a question someone else is asking.
Finally, you can also combine articles. For instance, I lightly edited a number of articles, wrote a few pieces of original topical content, and ended up with an ebook about outsourcing your auth which has been useful to share with readers and possible FusionAuth prospects. The effort was far far less than if I’d set out to write a full book on the same subject.
The next two options require increasing amounts of money, so if you only have your time to spend, focus on this option.
The next option is to find freelancers or community members who are willing to write articles. At FusionAuth, we paid money for these posts, which is typical. Our rates were between $0.25 and $0.50 per word, typically including an example app that we would host in our GitHub organization and open source.
Thee downsides of freelancers are:
- it is hard to find good ones. I did find a couple who delivered multiple good posts, but they are few and far between.
- you have to manage them and their delivery. This can include extensive editing depending on skill level.
- you have to give them an outline. While I tried to get folks to ‘pitch me’ with interesting ideas, that didn’t turn up much at all.
- they are not going to know your product or space as well as you do.
If you are larger, you might be able to pay less because it’ll be more of a plum for authors being published and associated with you, but you should pay something. Developers know the value of good content.
You may also highlight articles written by someone on their own blog, but that isn’t your content and You won’t be able to re-purpose it. You could, I suppose, reach out and see if the authors would be okay with you licensing it. Haven’t done that myself; I prefer to keep it simpler and share whatever someone writes about FusionAuth.
The final option is to hire a content agency. The active ones that I know of are draft.dev (disclosure, FusionAuth is a current client), Ritza, and Hit Subscribe. (I am sure there are others.) These agencies have different strengths and approaches, but they all take some of the management burden off of you. Often you can come to them with just an idea and they’ll build out a content brief (an outline), find someone to write it, and do an technical editing pass before delivering it to you.
These are great if you want technical content frequently. It is also fantastic if you want posts written about technologies that aren’t in your wheelhouse.
For example, Joomla is used across 1.7% of all sites on the internet and we wanted an article about SSO and Joomla. I didn’t want to come up to speed on the. So draft.dev found a Joomla expert who was willing to write an article for us about SSO and Joomla. If not for them, I doubt that post would ever have seen the light of day.
The downsides of these agencies include:
- you have less control over the freelancer selected.
- they will not know your product or space as well as you do.
- you’ll still have to do some quality control and checking. You can’t outsource this entirely, because of the above point.
- it’ll cost more money. You can expect to spend between $1000 and $3000 for a post (at the time I write this).
These are options that I know of that let you scale up your written content creation.