*Guide* Devs to Build

Blog posts, tutorials, and now guides?! What's the difference—and why do guides attract more attention, links, and rankings?

Now, here we are in chapter four: Guides. And you might be saying, wait, wait, we've talked about blog posts. We've talked about tutorials, and now we're talking about guides? And I don't even know what the difference is between them. And that is fair. Guides content is typically deeper than a blog post. And even then a tutorial.

In fact, it might include a tutorial within it, but that's only one piece of the entire guide. So “guide” is a little bit of a misnomer because you might see getting started guide and you think a certain length, that's pretty much a tutorial.

This type of guide is different. And the words that I've avoided saying on purpose are ~white paper or ebook.~ Those are some of the things that you might see them referred to as. In big enterprise companies, you might see these things under a thing called resources in the navigation.

Done well, each one is its own little section of the site. And essentially you want to describe a problem that might not be entirely a developer problem. It's a larger problem that requires a developer to be able to fix it.

An example that we often point to and is mentioned in the book is Gremlin’s, Chaos Engineering Guide (https://www.gremlin.com/chaos-monkey/). And the Chaos Engineering Guide tells a developer everything they need to know about, implementing Chaos Monkey, chaos engineering, in their team. It is almost 20,000 words long. It has a bunch of different sections in it. It includes a tutorial, but the whole thing is not a tutorial. It is a much bigger piece of content that attracts a lot more attention, is able to get links is able to rank much better. And the way that we recommend doing it—and Chaos Monkey the Gremlin guide does—this is through what I've called the Developer Content Mind Trick. And I wrote that as a guest post on Heavybit (https://www.heavybit.com/library/blog/the-developer-content-mind-trick-for-signature-content/), you can find that and the book talks about it as well.

So the idea here is that a developer wants to build something. That's what they come in thinking rather than push up against that with an argument that they shouldn't build it, they should just use what you have. The kind of classic build versus buy piece makes a really strong case for buy, buy, buy. The Developer Content Mind Trick says: you want to build, don't you? Here is how you build. I'm going to take you through everything. I'm going to show you how much I know about this topic. And this problem and show you all the edge cases. And at the end of that, if you want to still build it now, you know exactly how.
LaunchDarkly calls this a blueprint and they have content that provides that you want to have feature flags, go for it. This is how you do it. The thing is at the end of that, once a developer has seen everything, you know about it. And has realized what a pain it is to not only build the thing you've built, but maintain the thing you've built. They're much more likely, first of all, to trust you. And secondly, to become a user of your product.

That's the concept behind guides. And we talk more about that in the book. And give an example of how it's not just about the tools, it's the things you need to know around that.

And one of the examples that I give of that is a particular pencil called a Blackwing 602. It looks different than other pencils. And apparently, it works differently than other pencils and it has become a favorite of animators. But of course, just because I own a Blackwing 602 does not mean that I can suddenly draw cartoons.

People have asked me, where can you get a Blackwing 602? There are lots of places online now. They actually were discontinued in the late nineties, but then someone has brought them back. And I can walk down to my art store, that is 10 blocks away from me and get one there. So check out the Blackwing 602 and do check out this chapter, the Guides chapter, because it's very different than blog posts and tutorials. And you can find it in Developer Marketing Does Not Exist, the book.