Landscape Analysis and Monitoring as Part of Your API Evangelism

One very important aspect of API Evangelism is landscape analysis. When you launch an API, you need to have an intimate understanding of the landscape where you will be evangelizing your API and engaging with potential consumers.

I always start by establishing potential 10K foot target areas that I will focusing on in my research. While these may vary from industry to industry, my starting list is:

  • Individuals - Who are the key individual influencers in your target landscape
  • Competitors - Know your competitors, you can learn a lot from what they do right or they do wrong
  • Platforms - There are an endless amount of platforms that may benefit your company, such as Drupal, Wordpress and Salesforce
  • Media - Who are the relevant media and blogs you should be following and engaging with
  • Partners - Existing partners who you should be in tune with on the landscape

After tackling these areas and identifying who the players are, you will identify other areas that are unique to your API evangelism efforts, so don't stress over whether you have the right areas in the first week. While researching these areas of my landscape I try to identify specific channels for getting plugged in with landscape targets:

  • Website URL - What is the targets root URL for their website
  • Blog URL - What is the blog for a target
  • Blog RSS - Secondary to the blog, what is the RSS feed so I can programmatically monitor
  • Twitter - What is a companies or individuals Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn - Identify and sometimes connect with a target’s LinkedIn account
  • Facebook - Identify and sometimes connect with a target’s Facebook account
  • Github - Identify, follow and engage with a companies Github profile and appropriate repositories

After getting the primary channels for each target on my landscape identified, I will go deeper sometimes and actually identify key individuals associated with target companies, either the founders and / or key employees. I look for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Github for individuals as well, and sometimes even personal blogs when available.

While landscape analysis is an initial project in the first couple weeks of designing your API evangelism strategy, it will be ongoing iniative, in monitoring all target channels in real-time, but also identifying new target groups, companies and individuals or even specific channels not listed above like Tumblr or Google+ each week.

Each industry will be different when identifying the landscape for your API evangelism efforts, but this is a good first round blueprint and has worked well for me on multiple projects. Let me know if there are any landscape analysis and monitoring tricks you use.