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Why API Documentation Is Content Marketing Gold

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This one goes out to all of my B2B SaaS marketers who have the luxury of trying to sell to engineers and developers.

It’s not an easy job. It’s not as simple as putting out a clever ad or running an interesting webinar. It’s not as simple as producing an ebook and putting a few posts up on LinkedIn.

It’s a bit more complicated… But it doesn’t have to feel impossible.

A lot of SaaS products have started to create developer ecosystems and APIs to offer data and inspire custom solutions that drive additional revenue and growth for the business.

When you look at the success of Salesforce’s AppExchange Ecosystem and the thriving Shopify Developer Ecosystem – it is very obvious that this approach can offer amazing revenue for both partners and the brand. In 2021, Shopify’s developer partners earned more than $230 million and an IDC (International Data Corporation) study predicts that Salesforce will contribute $1.2 trillion to local economies around the world. Not bad eh? Look at this growth from Shopify…

Active ecosystem partners referring new merchants to Shopify have accelerated over the years

This doesn’t happen by accident.

It happens by investing in your community and investing in content that will support them.

The ShopifyDevs YouTube channel is a clear example of what an investment in your community looks like. The channel is filled with fun, engaging and beautifully designed videos that talk about everything from tactical steps to leverage the API to high level strategic videos.

The amount of content uploaded on this channel and the quality of the edits demonstrates that this isn’t a small investment by Shopify. It’s something they’re taking seriously and the community has responded by watching and subscribing in a massive way.

ShopifyDevs YouTube Channel has 31,000 Subscribers and Over 1.8 million views

If you’re in this space, I don’t have to talk to you about the opportunities that exist in creating solutions for engineers. It’s a powerful strategy and the numbers that Shopify and Salesforce are doing in their ecosystem are great examples of it.

As marketers, we often overlook the fact that this is an area we should also be playing.

We shouldn’t just leave it to our product teams to go out and develop API documentation. We shouldn’t just leave it to the CTO to find time to create a great set of documentation.

We should be thinking about how we can support our own engineering team to create documentation and content that is going to actually add value to the lives of our customers.

One of the best ways to do that is by embracing and investing in great documentation.

Great API documentation is massively underrated as a content marketing strategy in B2B SaaS.

Great documentation can:

  • Drive domain authority thorough links
  • Establish trust with your customers
  • Retain your customers long term
  • Help elevate the product
  • Inspire media coverage
  • Earn quality backlinks

And so much more… Here’s a snapshot of some of the most popular documentation hubs and the content marketing benefits that they’re providing their brands:

Table of documentation hubs and

But you have to know what you’re doing. Here are six simple techniques to keep in mind when creating your SaaS documentation. I’m hopeful that you can use this to ensure that the documentation you’re creating is not only used but also found through search and your customers’ inbox when someone emails it to them saying “check this out.”

Let’s get to it…

Keep Your Documentation Clean

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here.

 

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