Reaching the developer audience with the right message in the right channels is hard. But nobody said dev marketing was easy. 

If there is something I’ve learned from marketing a dev tool for the past 5+ years, looking at what successful dev tool companies do and learning from the dev marketing community it is this. 

The best dev marketers understand their audience deeply. They rely (heavily) on empathy. 

So above all put yourself in the developer’s shoes. Turn on your empathy to the max. Figure out if your message should even reach your dev in whatever channel they spend their time in. 

That said, there are channels that typically work better and types of content that typically work better in those channels. And I will talk about it in this article. 

So let’s dive in. 

How to reach a developer audience

To resonate with the dev audience, be helpful, and lean on education, enablement, and inspiration rather than persuasion. Don’t be cringe. Really, if you feel it could be cringe they definitely will. 

That said every channel is different and how your reach devs there depends on the context of other things that are happening in that channel. 

For example, Hacker News is particularly open-source happy, meritocratic, and full of genuinely curious people. They are very much against the commercial side of things like marketing or sales though. 

So reaching out to the developer audience there with a post explaining exactly how the tech behind your open-source product solves a deeply technical problem is likely going to work. 

Conversely, if your dev audience types in a “tool for X” in Google they don’t even mind marketing-heavy search ads at the top if they are relevant. Heck, you can even say “best tool for X” and they will probably be ok with it. 

Try putting a “best tool for X” on Hacker News and see the “love” go your way ;)

So look at your message from your audience's perspective. 

I like to use the following test with any content we put out. I wrote it so many times in blog/socials reviews that some folks probably hate me a little bit but most folks seem to get it and change how they write after that. 

Here it goes. 

“Imagine reading this {content} to a room full of our target audience devs, {Insert your dev profile}. Do you think they would nod or roll their eyes at you? Would you even be able to say what you wrote or you’d cringe too hard?”

Often the answer is “I would absolutely never ever say it to devs”. And then you know your content will not reach your dev audience in the right way. 

Also, a good way to quickly test it, is to put your ad/blog/social post in front of the devs from your company. A lot to be learned from them too. 

Or just imagine saying what you are about to post to your CTO or that backend dev who thinks marketing is putting some nice colors on the website. 

Do you feel that the message is solid? Great, you have a chance to resonate with your audience.  

Ok, but where should you actually reach your devs?

A good trick is to always ask your ideal audience, whenever you have a chance (sales calls, product demos, conferences) “Where do you hang out online?”. Simple but powerful.

But there are some “obvious” developer marketing channel options out there. 

Here are my current favorites. 

Best developer marketing channels

Following are not all the channels where you can reach devs but some of my favorites as I write it in Feb 2023. 

Devs themselves (word of mouth)

Yep, I said it before and I will say it again. 

The best people at marketing to developers are the developers themselves. 

So make sure that your product experience is good enough for devs to share with others. 

Also, remember that if it is really bad they will share that too. 

Written content (aka content marketing)

Not all content marketing is written content but in dev marketing, text-based content is still the king. 

Developer love documentation, tutorials, problem guides, opinion pieces, teardowns, war stories, and more blog-type stuff. 

Let’s divide it a little bit. 

SEO content

As a wise man once said “Most devs google, some search on duckduckgo” so SEO is important. 

Devs go about their day solving problems, finding new problems, and looking for solutions to those problems. They search and you want to get in front of them. 

Now, what do they search for?

A good place to start looking is:

  • How to do X: Jobs to be done / use case type content. Check out how DigitalOcean does this at scale. 
  • Tools for X: Listing tools in a category with some framework for comparing them. 
  • X alternatives: Options for switching from a particular tool. 
  • X vs Z:  Comparing your tool with a competitor or two competitors.

But not all content is meant to be searched. 

Some examplesfrom my gallery:

Blog content (non SEO) 

You can write pieces that have a different distribution in mind than SEO. 

Opinion pieces or deep dives on a particular tech written by devs are great examples of a valuable content that will not rank. 

But if you write non-SEO content, make sure to understand how it will get distributed. 

Cause without a distribution strategy no one will read it. 

You can write articles with a particular (sub) Reddit or Slack channel in mind. Or you can write for your newsletter or Twitter follower audience.

Or write things that you know have a good chance of getting on top of Hacker News. 

Tailscale writes incredible content that constantly gets picked up by someone on HN and gets them great results. 

You can also rely on content platforms to distribute it for you. 

Some examples from my gallery:, Medium, Hacker Noon

If you are writing pieces that can get you results on their own (as in you can just post them anywhere and they will bring people to your site) you can try content platforms like 

You don’t own the channel, and can’t pull many conversion levers you have on your site but they will distribute your content to their audience. 

And many folks go to those places to consume content and rely on the platforms to surface relevant, interesting stuff for them. 


Devs watch youtube, and many of them love video tutorials

Most devs actually use it in a similar way they use Google just to watch videos on particular problems they have. 

So proceed accordingly. 

There is a great resource from swyx with examples of great dev Youtube channels

Some examples from my gallery:

Social forums

Some developers really love spending their time in social forums. 

Hacker News 

This is 6M+ devs a month afaik. So if you can pull it off and succeed here try it. 

The audience is very marketing-averse but there are some ways of giving yourself a chance. 

In short, speak to curiosity, go with 1st person dev-to-dev tone of voice, cut the fluff (and then cut some of that fluff again), go deeply technical (get your devs to write on things they know). And you should be fine. 

Easy right? Yeah…

But some companies can do it and have really great success with this channel. I wrote an entire deep-dive into how Tailscale does marketing on Hacker News. 


If there is a subreddit about the technology that is closely correlated with your user base be there. 

If not in person then use something like Syften to do social listening around your product/problem/category keywords. 

You want to make sure that when people search on Reddit for ”{your product} review”, or “best tools for x” your product is mentioned. Also, more and more devs seem to search “X Reddit” on Google.

Stack Overflow

Every dev's best friend, stack overflow, is a place where every question gets answered and all the code is (almost) ready to be copy-pasted.  

Not quite but you get the point ;)

And if you can have your devs be there and answer questions. Or better yet some of your devrels are already active there, then this channel can have an impact. 

That said, if you don’t it may be hard to make this channel work. It is not a place to just jump in and say “You can also use our product to solve it. Does that answer your question?”.  

Communities (Slack and Discord)

If there is an active slack or discord around your tech, the programming language you focus on you may want to send your devrels there. 

First just look at what is happening, how people behave, and how other vendors behave. 

See what “goes” and what doesn’t and they act accordingly. 

Be helpful. 9 times give, 1 time take. 

Oh, and spamming it with webinar links or “we wrote an amazing article on X” is likely not going to work. 


Devs spend more time than they would like to admit on Twitter. 

And so you want to be there. 

You can use tools like Followerwonk to find relevant people or accounts to follow and interact with. 

One of the best dev-focused companies at marketing on Twitter is Supabase. I once went through 4 months of their feed to extract some nuggets. They use a lot of memes to reach their dev audience of full-stack web developers. 

Some examples from my gallery:


This is a channel that is getting more and more popular. 

Dev-focused companies want to use many smaller but targeted influencers to reach their audiences. 

Haven’t tried this channel yet but I want to give it a go. 

You may want to check out Yard which is a productized service that helps with that. 

Partnerships and integrations

Typically, your dev tool is solving some problem but needs to integrate with other tools in your developer’s tool stacks. 

Figure out what those tool stacks are (your product team is likely already doing that) and then look at which tools are a good marketing opportunity. 

You want to find companies that are small enough to still care about you and big enough and on the rise to have an impact on your bottom line. 

Paid ads

From my perspective Google search, Youtube, Twitter, EthicalAds, are good places to try. 

Generally, devs don’t like ads but it doesn’t mean all of them and it doesn’t mean they don’t work. They do. 

Some of the greatest developer content marketing engines like DigitalOcean use remarketing heavily. 

If you can afford it and there are podcasts in your space that many users mention you may consider sponsoring the show and putting your ad in there. From my research, I found out that devs actually don’t block them (or hate them that much). You can find a long list of developer podcasts here.

By the way, I wrote extensively about developer ads here (this article even got to the top of Hacker News). 

Some examples from my gallery:

Live events (and swag)

While live events didn’t fully recover post-pandemic and many people mention as low as 30% show-up rates vs pre-pandemic for the same events, it is still a solid option to try. 

Devs still love dev events. 

This post about is going deep into how to get the most out of marketing at live events from swyx. 

Some examples from my gallery:

What is next

Okay, I hope you learned a thing or two about reaching devs in their favorite channels. 

Now the best thing to do is to just go at it. 

If you need some inspiration this is my developer marketing examples gallery with a ton of swipe files from various marketing channels. 

Good luck!