The Common Building Blocks Of Evangelism

As part of my work as the Chief Evangelist for Postman I find myself regularly talking to other devrel, advocates, and evangelists who are looking for ideas on how to expand their evangelism toolbox, and be more successful in their work. As part of these conversation I wanted to work my way through my own toolbox to see what is still relevant, and share the tools and tricks I have with other evangelists I am talking with, and hopefully also learn about a few new ones myself, as I engage with different API personalities from across the space. 

Much of what I do as the API Evangelist is very formulaic and repetitive. While there is a creative storytelling element as part of these, really the more tangible, repeatable and quantifiable elements of what I do are pretty known, and do not represent any sort of secret sauce or special ability--here are the building blocks of API evangelism you will find in my toolbox.

  • Blog Posts - Publishing a single blog post on a specific topic, process, or idea I think the community will find valuable. 
  • Social Media Post - Publishing single Tweet, LinkedIn, Facebook, or other post to a social network for my profile(s).
  • Questions / Answers - Publishing questions or answers to online properties, helping seed, drive, and amplify conversations.
  • Emails - Craft a newsletter, broadcast, and personalized email involving a specific concept, narrative, or other relevant item.
  • Meetup Talk - A 10 to 30 minute talk to a targeted audience of less than 100 people in a Meetup environment.
  • Conference Talk - A 15 to 60 minute talk to a larger audience of 50 to 500 people in physical conference setting.
  • Webinar Talk - A 15 to 60 minute talk on a specific subject to an online audience via web conferencing platform.
  • Images - Creating an image that represents a specific concept for use across my evangelism activity on and offline.
  • Video - Producing a video of a talk, or other format for publishing online and sharing with a wide or specific audience.
  • Audio - Producing an audio recording of a talk, or other format for publishing online and sharing with a wide or specific audience.
  • Slideshow - Producing a slideshow for a talk, or other format for publishing online and sharing with a wide or specific audience.
  • Tutorial - A simple walkthrough of a specific concept, helping on-boarding business or technical consumers about topic.
  • White Paper - An opinionated narrative about a specific topic, usually 1500 to 10,000 words, published as a PDF or HTML paper.
  • Guide - A guide to a specific relevant topic, usually 1500 to 10,000 words, and published as a PDF or HTML paper.
  • Repository - A Git-driven repository on GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket which becomes a vehicle to reach a specific audience.
  • Proof of Concept - Building a quick proof of concept to help illustrate a specific concept or process, mocking what is expected.
  • Prototype - Providing a more functional prototype of a specific concept of process, going further to demonstrate a specific idea.
  • Artifact - Crafting a machine readable artifact using OpenAPI, AsyncAPI, or a Postman collection to help drive the conversation.
  • Collection - Building a more sophisticated Postman collection that walks through many different stops in a larger workflow.

These are the common building blocks of my API evangelism toolbox. These are the formulaic and repetitive things I craft for sharing via a mix of on and offline channels. This represents my output, and the vehicles I use to reach my audience. None of this is my secret sauce, or unique advice to other evangelists. It is my toolbox of the most common tools I use each day. Where the magic really begins is when it comes to the stories I tell using these building blocks across many different channels. This is where my knowledge, experience, personality, and creativity comes into play, helping me define, evolve, and deliver relevant and (hopefully) compelling narratives that speak to my intended audience, and is suitable for the channels I am using.

My storytelling will employ any combination of these building blocks to get my intended point across. These are the quantifiable and tangible elements of what I do, and hopefully other evangelists, advocates, ambassadors, and champions would use. As part of these shared evangelist conversations I’m participating in I will be crafting other stories about what’s next. Talking more about how I find, seed, develop, polish, share, and evolve stories as part of my work. So far, I don’t think there is much new and novel here, but when it comes to how I continue putting these building blocks to work after over nine years of sustained evangelism, I feel I definitely bring my own unique approach to technical storytelling, evangelism, and software engineering.