Increasing Adoption of an API with a Public Workspace


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So you’ve set up your first public workspace on Postman. Now what?

Making a public workspace can be as simple as toggling visibility of an existing workspace to Public. But you’ll want to follow the recommended guidelines for a truly top-notch workspace.

Once you’ve created a buzzworthy workspace, we can drum up some excitement. Let’s look at the driving motivation behind creating workspaces.

Why do people create public workspaces?

People create public workspaces to increase adoption of an API. Workspace creators may be motivated by any or all of the following objectives:

  • Enhance developer onboarding with a faster “Time to First API Call”
  • Inspire existing users with new use cases and resources
  • Collaborate publicly with partners in joint workspaces
  • Solicit community contributions through comments and pull requests
  • Gather product feedback through usage and comments
  • Increase discovery in organic search results and Postman search results
  • Empower community to build integrations and applications

Depending on your objectives, different metrics will be more useful. Let’s investigate metrics workspace creators typically care about.

What is a successful workspace?

While your focus is influenced by your personal objectives and target community, there are some familiar measures of a “healthy” workspace.

  • Count of active forks of a collection or environment
  • Count of people watching your API or collection for updates
  • Recent workspace activity to demonstrate resources are actively updated
  • History of mock server call logs
  • Percent of API calls hitting your server that includes a Postman (or custom) User-Agent header

These metrics can serve as both leading and lagging indicators of a successful workspace. For example, did your collection get a lot of forks because you did a bang-up job documenting your API? Or perhaps, was it because you excelled at marketing? Or maybe you just have the best API in the business?

The answer is, it depends. In this example, the active forks in your workspace might be the result of your large community that you’re directing to your workspace. On the other hand, you might be gaining new users in your workspace because someone was looking for an API to do a certain thing, and you made it easy for them to get started. The big picture likely includes both scenarios.

Let’s take a look at different factors impacting community engagement in your workspace.

How do you increase engagement in a workspace?

I’ve looked high and low for good workspaces. There are some very good workspaces that have completed all the checklists, and they still don’t get a ton of engagement. What’s the difference between a well-documented collection with heaps of forks, compared to a similarly well-documented collection with a modest number of forks?

First, it’s not fair to compare the metrics of very popular brands to startups. A company like Salesforce or Microsoft comes with their own vibrant developer communities, so many people are actively searching for “Salesforce and Postman” or “Microsoft Postman collection” and arrive at the workspace ready to consume. It’s not fair to draw direct comparisons between the metrics of very popular brands and startups.

Even if users aren’t directly searching for your API (yet), there are some insights we can glean upon closer inspection of what the Salesforce and Microsoft teams did after launching their workspaces.

Examples of successful public workspaces: Salesforce and Microsoft

 

What Salesforce did

What Microsoft did

Profile page

Salesforce team profile page

Microsoft team profile page

Documentation

Salesforce docs

Microsoft docs

Blog announcement

Salesforce blog

Microsoft blog

Demo video

Salesforce video

Microsoft video

  • Profile page: Their team profiles look legitimate and professional. They linked to proper websites and Twitter accounts, uploaded design assets, and added summaries and categories. Postman doesn’t currently have “verified” labels, so it’s important to establish credibility in your profile.
  • Documentation: They dedicated resources in their developer documentation to show users how to get started with their APIs in Postman. This directs traffic to their public workspace, which in turn links back to their developer documentation and resources.
  • Blog announcement: Both teams proactively announced their public workspaces to their communities with blogs and other social media messages.
  • Demo video: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is even better. Both teams’ APIs support the OAuth 2.0 protocol for authorization. Since authorizing API calls is where lots of new users get stuck, their videos walk through the process, calling out any gotchas. Videos like these can dramatically reduce their “Time to First API call.”

There are additional steps you can take to market your workspace and increase your likelihood of getting featured by Postman. These are things you can do to market your workspace:

  • Host your own livestreams or webinars showing users how to use your APIs in Postman, like DocuSign
  • Contribute an article on Postman’s blog to tell your story, like Vonage and Symbl
  • Share cool stuff you’re building with the Postman community on the forum showcase
  • Tag Postman on LinkedIn or Twitter in your social media messages, and we will do our best to amplify your story

Postman also promotes compelling and noteworthy workspaces. These are some of the things Postman does to feature workspaces:

Join the conversation

The better practices shared here are the result of hundreds of one-on-one discussions we’ve had with the Postman community. Our recommendations will continue evolving as those discussions continue and we learn more.

Whether you’re optimizing a public workspace for a pet project or creating a business case for your boss, we can collectively learn together. The Postman team is always eager to hear your feedback and questions, which we leverage to refine Postman. Kick off a thread in our Community forum or start a conversation with a Postmanaut by leaving a comment below about what you’re doing with your public workspace.

And special thanks to Philippe Ozil from Salesforce and Jeremy Thake from Microsoft for creating such powerful workspaces. Their workspaces were not created overnight, and the Postman community is benefiting from the work they put into it. Now, we look forward to seeing what you’re inspired to share in your own top-notch public workspace.

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2 thoughts on “Increasing Adoption of an API with a Public Workspace

  • Aanchal

    This was really insightful!!


    +1

  • Sid Maestre

    Really good primer on why your company might want to create a public workspace. I’ll be reviewing those checklists in preparation for a https://www.lob.com workspace 🙂


    0

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