One of the most enjoyable thing about being the API Evangelist is talking to API providers about their strategy, and helping brainstorm what they should do next. I have multiple APIs I do this with regularly, either because I’m an advisor, big fan, or simply because they pay me. ;-) My favorite discussions are from the providers that are fine with me retelling their story publicly, APIs like the Cashtie API and the Popup Archive.
Anne and Bailey over at Popup, a audio transcription API, talk with me regularly about their API development, deployment and now evangelism strategy. The Popup Archive API meets the first rule of APIs for me—do one thing and do it well, providing clear value for developers. The Popup Archive does this with audio transcription, opening up a whole world of audio to being searchable via an API. Think about the potential of making old radio programs indexed, and searchable online, giving new life to legacy content.
Anne and Bailey have built a high value web site and API, and recently finished their interactive documentation, and are ready for business. They are at that amazingly exciting, and at the same completely terrifying step of having to evangelize their API and make the rubber meet the road--they have a valuable API resource, but now what?
Anne and Bailey have some great ideas about how the audio transcription API could be used, and they have some partners who are kicking the tires, understanding what is possible with integrating with Popup Archive API. This is where you start! You harness the ideas, and the early integrations and you tell the story of how the Popup Archive is providing a solution. Tell these stories on the Popup Archive Blog, on the Twitterz, and anywhere else you can find an audience.
Then launch a formal idea showcase where you can submit ideas on how the Popup Archie could be put to use, allow people to browse and search the idea showcase and imagine what is possible. Next establish a section for actual case studies, and as partners and other developers successfully integrate, tell these stories as well, but in a more formal way, demonstrating established approaches for putting the Popup Archive API to use—not just the dreamy ideas.
Next I told them to start monitoring the landscape of where they think their potential users are, find the radio stations, and media outfits who have Twitter accounts. Understand who the audiofiles, archivists, DJs, performers and bloggers who care the most about the audio space. Spend time each week discovering, living and understanding this space, all while you are telling stories about the Popup Archive and its valuable API.
Gather your ideas on how an API could be put to use, showcase how the API is being actively used, tell the stories, and actively explore and get to know the landscape of the online world you think will find the API resource most valuable. Eventually you will find more stories, build relationships with new developers, and discover other business interests that can put the API to use. Its a natural, ongoing API evangelism cycle—not to be confused with marketing or sales.
In the end its not just API evangelism, its about building your own awareness of a space, and telling stories of the value your API delivers—then repeat, repeat, repeat. Each week you will learn more, your storytelling voice will get stronger, your community will get bigger, and your API will grow and mature.