Developers are notoriously wary of traditional marketing tactics. Instead, they turn to their community of peers for technical advice and product recommendations.

mongodb-meghan-gillThis makes producing content that resonates with developers tough. Just ask Meghan Gill, Director of Demand Generation & Community, and Francesca Krihely, Senior Manager, Content Marketing, at MongoDB, a database software provider.

Meghan and Francesca aren’t developers by trade, but they are responsible for creating engaging content that will grow their developer audience and drive demand. They’ve always known that if they want to capture the minds of developers, they need help from their customer advocates.

mongodb-francesca-krihelyMongoDB has always had advocates who help spread their message by hosting meetups or writing the occasional blog post. However, getting advocates to do more was challenging. In the past, Francesca would reach out to customers on a one-by-one basis and ask them to write their story. But, between all of the back and forth, it could take Francesca a month and a half to get just a short testimonial.

In September of 2015, the MongoDB marketing team decided to start a formal advocacy program (using Influitive’s AdvocateHub) to inspire their customers to create more user-generated content.

The program ended up generating:

  • 24 advocate-authored blog posts written in three weeks
  • 220+ online reviews on 3rd party sites
  • 500 social shares on average per quarter
  • 140,000 clicks on content shared by advocates
  • 50,000 website visits in four months from advocate social shares

To learn how MongoDB motivated their advocates to do this, keep reading to get the program highlights.

How MongoDB Reaches Developers With Advocate-Created Content
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MongoDB’s advocate marketing program gives before it gets

The MongoDB Advocacy Hub gives MongoDB’s customers access to exclusive content, educational material, contests, and the company’s network of developers. MongoDB can also ask members to complete advocacy “challenges” that will both elevate their advocates’ online personas and help the company reach its goals. These requests range from sharing MongoDB content on social media, to writing product reviews or blogs.

When advocates complete a task, they receive recognition from MongoDB and are often publicly thanked in the program for other advocates to see. The program also makes tracking and measuring the impact of advocate activity easier for the MongoDB team.

MongoDB advocates loved that they could showcase their knowledge, expand their networks, learn from their peers and build social capital through the program.

Here’s how MongoDB took that love and put advocates at the heart of their content strategy through the program:

1. Stronger content marketing direction and ideas

The MongoDB team focuses on creating content that will appeal to their audience. So, they poll advocates to figure out what to prioritize in the content calendar. “Asking for ideas is also a great litmus test to see which content will resonate with potential buyers,” says Francesca.

“Our advocates are happy to help us shape the direction of our content,” says Meghan. “Seeking their opinion in advance builds excitement, as advocates look forward to seeing their suggestions in print.”

2. Authentic content created with advocates

MongoDB’s developer advocates contribute technical content to their blog. Francesca once asked advocates to assist with a blog post that she was writing about retail technology. “I’m not an expert in retail technology, but our advocates are,” she says. “Thanks to their contributions, I was able to publish a helpful post on the topic that is both informative and speaks to our prospects’ interest.”

To generate more advocate-authored content, Francesca ran a contest for her 28th birthday asking advocates to submit 28 blogs within three weeks. By making her request personal and fun, Francesca received 24 blogs authored by her advocates. “A few of them actually started blogging on a regular basis outside of the challenges,” she says.

3. Increased social engagement

MongoDB makes it easy for advocates to share content with their social networks by providing sample messaging to them.

The team also encourages advocates to write about MongoDB in their own words through a Tweet of the Week challenge. Advocates are excited to share as the content helps brand their own digital persona and raises their professional profile. These activities also help MongoDB extend their reach through their advocate’s networks.

4. User-generated content on third-party websites

Developers (and B2B buyers in general) often search for peer reviews on technology websites and forums before they buy. MongoDB wanted their advocates to write reviews on Gartner Peer Insights. So, they challenged them to visit the site and write honest reviews that would help their peers make better decisions.

As a result, MongoDB quickly had 20 new, advocate-generated reviews, which helped put them ahead of large, well-established competitors like Oracle and Microsoft. Today, they have more reviews than any other vendor in their category.

“Passionate advocates will put time into creating valuable content on third-party channels,” says Francesca. “You just need to treat them right first.”