Fedora 23 has rolled out this week after six months (give or take) of hard work by the Fedora Project. Job done, right? Not exactly–we still need to tell the world that Fedora 23 exists, and why they should be giving it a try.

For folks who participate in Fedora development, and users who closely follow the pre-releases, Fedora 23 probably feels and sounds like old news. Being super-close to the process often means forgetting a crucial fact: A lot of the world that could benefit from Fedora probably doesn’t even know it exists. It’s up to us (which includes you) to spread the word.

The main job of promoting Fedora falls to the Fedora Marketing group, and Fedora Ambassadors. However, this isn’t a spectator sport. Alone, these groups have limited reach. To really promote Fedora to the fullest, we need all hands on deck.

Why We Need You

This may come as a shock, but the Fedora Project doesn’t have a marketing budget to run prime time TV commercials, print ads, billboards, or radio commercials. No Super Bowl ads, product placement in TV shows, not even a late-night infomercial.

People learn about Fedora in a lot of ways, like seeing reviews, searching for more info on Linux and finding Fedora, but one of the best ways is by word of mouth. We need a lot more Fedora users to become active advocates for Fedora. A little effort, distributed across Fedora’s user and contributor base, could have a lot of impact.

Ways You Can Help: Post-Release

We already have one group of active advocates who help spread the word about Fedora, that’s the Fedora Ambassadors. They put in a lot of effort, and they can have an enormous impact by demonstrating Fedora at shows, running release parties and other events, and being the “face” of Fedora in person.

If you have the time and interest to join the Ambassador effort, that’s great! But that’s a time commitment that some folks can’t take on, or maybe in-person promotion just isn’t your thing. That’s OK, we have plenty more ways to contribute.

Immediately after the Fedora release, we could have a much larger impact if more users spread the word on social media. This is a really, really low-effort but high-yield activity if we get a lot of Fedorans to participate. Fedora has millions of users; imagine if just 100,000 of them tweeted about Fedora 23 this week. Imagine if 25,000 people posted or re-shared something about Fedora on Google+ and Facebook. Imagine if 5,000 people took the time to write a blog post with their favorite Fedora feature or a tip on using Fedora.

The result? Millions of people would hear about Fedora, many for the first time. Would they all become Fedora users? No. But even if a single-digit percentage of the folks who heard about Fedora through a low-effort social media campaign were to try it, that’d be an amazing boost. Now imagine if we sustained that over the long haul.

I’m not saying each Fedoran should blog, tweet, post to Facebook, etc. about Fedora every single day. That might get old for our friends and followers. I mean, some people even get tired of cat pictures every day. I don’t understand it, but it’s true! But one or two mentions of Fedora per release cycle, if done consistently by even 10% of the Fedora user base, would be huge in spreading the word.

If that’s all you do, help spread the word on social media each release cycle, you’re still providing a great boost to Fedora. Want to do more? Read on.

Goals for Fedora Marketing

The Fedora Marketing team is crucial to Fedora’s success, but right now it needs some new blood and more folks willing to step up and help drive the marketing and promotion effort.

What does the Marketing team do, ideally? First, the marketing team should collaborate with other teams in Fedora to help tell (and influence) the story that the project is telling with each release. It’s easy to miss interesting and exciting new work happening in different parts of Fedora, because the project is so broad and moves so fast. We should be tracking new features, and helping to influence them as well by surveying users and providing data and suggestions to working groups for new features.

The marketing team also helps develop content for Fedora Magazine. While Fedora Magazine is doing a great job of consistently posting new and great pieces about Fedora, we could (and should) do more.

The Fedora Marketing team is also tasked with creating messaging and materials for the Ambassadors, a task that’s never quite finished because Fedora is never quite finished! As soon as we develop a set of talking points, collateral, or other materials, they start being outdated. We need more folks to take ownership of content and keep it up-to-date.

There’s also updating the wiki, which (see above) is a job that’s never finished.

The marketing team also owns the release announcements for the alpha, beta, and final Fedora release in each cycle. It’s an important piece of telling Fedora’s story, and we need more folks to step up and help craft it and to start working on it earlier in the cycle. Folks working in one part of Fedora should be able to see the outline early on, to understand where the work they’re doing fits in the larger picture.

If you have been looking for a non-technical/development way to get involved in Fedora, the marketing team is a fantastic place to dig in and make a difference.

Looking Ahead

For the next few weeks, we need as many users as possible to help spread the word. Even if it’s just a few tweets, you can help Fedora 23 reach the widest audience ever.

For the F24 release cycle (and beyond) we need contributors to help us take the marketing team to the next level. We need folks who have great ideas for telling Fedora’s story, and are willing to see those ideas through to completion. If you’re interested, we’re ready to help you get rolling. Join the Fedora Marketing list, and let us know how you’d like to get started!

Image courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – originally posted to Flickr as Viewing IMAX 3D clips