PJ Hagerty, the founder of DevRelate, tells us how they help companies understand and work with software developer communities.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
PJ Hagerty: We are doing well, hoping things are calming down, although it looks like COVID isn’t willing to give up the fight. Thanks for asking!
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded DevRelate.
PJ Hagerty: DevRelate was founded in 2017 based on the idea that companies big and small needed help understanding and executing on Developer and Community Relations plans. I started my career as a developer and moved to DevRel quite accidentally. That said, I’m glad it happened, as the things we do and what DevRelate can do for people is extremely rewarding.
How does DevRelate market its product/services online?
PJ Hagerty: Mostly organically. Many of our clients are referred by previous clients. We also use Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn on a small scale. We have recently begun sponsoring events focused on DevRel.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
PJ Hagerty: It was not easy. Many people believe Developer Relations is about conferences and events. That’s really only about 10 percent of what we do. Unfortunately, that perception meant a dip in business. Luckily, it didn’t take long for companies to realize what a mistake that was, and we actually grew significantly as time went on, through to today.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
PJ Hagerty: We use Mention.com a bit to track current social media trends, but most of the marketing is managed ad hoc using the built-in tools of the provider (Google, Twitter, etc.)
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
PJ Hagerty: Our competitors include folks like Hoopy, but the offering is a bit different. We are a bespoke DevRel service, not a content charnel house. We plan to stay in the game by continuing to produce high-quality services.
Your final thoughts?
PJ Hagerty: Marketing is not universal. The way Developer Relations works is not similar to how you sell a car or some machinery. Technologists are a different breed, and the “one size fits all” concept doesn’t work with these folks. Just because you call yourself a Developer Marketer doesn’t mean you understand the wants and needs of developers. It really requires intimate knowledge and relationships with the people you are marketing to in order to understand them and build a community around your project, company, or organization.