You need to create tension to tell a good story, inspire someone to action, and get them to pay attention. And not just any old tension: generous tension. A concept I learned from one of my favorite (copy)writers, Margo Aaron.

But what does that look like in practice and especially with video content?

It looks like this comment I got on an upcoming video storyboard:

There's always a moment of panic tension when I get a push notification from the CEO

Tension is that feeling of a rubber band in your mind being pulled taught, and generous tension is when that is released to your satisfaction (versus to your disgust – which manifests as the "developers hate marketing" meme).

In developer videos, it might look like presenting a diagram without captions, showing intentionally wrong code, playful misdirection, triggering a pedantic response, or teasing a benefit without spoiling it.

For example, at the start of this video, I tease one of the proposed benefits of edge rendering for headless eCommerce solutions:

But with advances in CDN and serverless technology, what if you could layer in personalization that maintains high cacheability and avoids breaking the bank with a hosting bill a mile long? Seems too good to be true, right?

After creating this tension at the beginning, the video presents a (possible) solution to a problem with actual demo code.

When I worked at Target, shopper personalization was a hot-button problem, so I could lean on that experience to explain the trade-offs of different solutions. There's never a one-size-fits-all approach, and this is what developers appreciate hearing.

Have a lovely day,

Tension is the magic that keeps you watching

Want devs to love your product?

Hi 👋 I'm Kamran. I'm a consulting developer educator who can help your DevRel team increase adoption with better docs, samples, and courseware.
Sign up