You Might Be Cut Out for Case Study Writing If …

Mother and daughter sitting together on couch looking at laptop

18 years ago, I wrote my first customer case study — and it was love at first write.

I found case study writing perfectly suited to my background, skills, and interests. I’d been a reporter at a city business journal, but the long hours, constant pressure of deadlines, and low pay were draining.

I quit my job to transition to freelance writing for businesses, and when a client asked me if I was interested in writing a customer case study, I did my first one and I was completely hooked.

But I know not everyone loves this type of copywriting as much as I do. But if you are suited to it, there’s a huge demand and I think you’d have fun writing the projects.

Just so we’re on the same page, let’s first talk about what case studies are …

Case studies are basically before-and-after “success stories” about a company’s product or service.

They tell the story of how a real company used a product or service to solve a real problem. They must show how the product or service met or solved the customer's stated challenges. So part of the process of writing a case study involves finding out what the customers were trying to accomplish and how ultimately they were able to do this and be successful.

The story format of a case study is a powerful and familiar way for us to absorb information. We're hardwired as humans to respond to stories. We remember and understand information better if it's presented in the story format.

Case studies are generally two pages, and they follow a formula, which makes them easy and quick to write.

Now, here’s how to know if writing case studies is for you …

Trait #1. You like journalism style writing/storytelling

Do you get energized about writing compelling stories?

Customer case studies and success stories follow journalism style more than just about any other style of copywriting (except article writing).

That means writing without a lot of spin or corporate speak, with an emphasis on customer quotes. It’s about recounting true experiences in interesting ways.

Trait #2. You have a knack for interviewing

Every customer story requires at least one to two interviews, if not more. You interview internal folks for background and then customers to collect details of their experiences.

The best case study writers know how to ask questions that elicit the desired response, and can respond dynamically during interviews with follow-up questions that go deeper — all while making interview subjects feel at ease.

Trait #3. You enjoy working mostly virtually

Whether you freelance or work for a company, you’ll be working virtually much of the time.

Even if your client or company is local to you, chances are, their customers are not. You’ll need to be on the phone for much of the information gathering.

Trait #4. You can deal with project delays

Customer case studies aren’t like other projects — because they involve customers. With a brochure, white paper, or web copy, a company can start whenever they are ready.

Getting case studies done depends on customers’ availability and responsiveness, and that can take a while! So, they don’t necessarily happen when you expect or want them to. Sometimes you have to wait …

Trait #5. You aren’t afraid to write about technology

Customer stories are becoming more and more mainstream.

Companies outside the technology industry are adding them to their marketing. But there is still a lot of work for technology product and service providers. You don’t always need to understand HOW a product works, but you do need to understand the benefits of technology products (a big difference).

Other industries and sectors that are using case studies: medical devices, consulting, aeronautics, chemical engineering, industrial equipment, financial services, accounting and audit services, transportation and logistics, construction equipment, and more.

Trait #6. You have access to a quiet working environment when necessary

When I’m on a call with customers, conducting and recording interviews, my clients know that I’m interacting by phone. They expect nothing less than a quiet, professional environment. Their customers often assume I’m in the company’s offices.

I also need to get the information without interruption because it can be hard to reach the customer again.

This can be tough, since I’m home-based and have a big German shepherd that likes to let me know when any postal/UPS carrier, neighbor, or squirrel passes by.

BUT when I’m on a call with clients or their customers, she’s outside or tucked away.

How did you do with this list? If these six requisites appeal to you, then writing case studies might be the perfect opportunity for your professional freelance writing career.

Here are three more questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if writing case studies is something you would enjoy:

  • Would you rather tackle shorter writing projects over lengthy sales letters or technical white papers?
  • Is completing a project and moving on to a new one enjoyable and exciting to you?
  • Does finding a unique benefit in a customer story — and highlighting it — sound like something you could do?

If you said “yes” to one or more of these, or you think you have the requisite traits, writing case studies — and the $1,500 average fee they provide — is likely a good fit for you.

Case studies are now the second most influential type of content in the B2B sales process behind white papers, so there are plenty of opportunities for copywriters who understand how to write a good case study to land high-paying projects and long-term clients.

Do you have any questions about getting started as a case study writer? Share with us in the comments.

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Published: May 15, 2019

12 Responses to “You Might Be Cut Out for Case Study Writing If…”

  1. I am very interested in this course. I am curious as to the ability of case study writers to get clients. I realize that is part of the course but I don't want to pay $500 a month for 5 months and then not be able to get clients. Any comments for former students about this?

    Renae CMay 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm

  2. How strong is the market for case studies in the B2C sector?

    Rita GravingMay 15, 2019 at 2:36 pm

  3. How many hours during the 4 weeks is typical to complete the course?

    Bob AMay 15, 2019 at 4:58 pm

  4. I have focused my training on B2C and don't know much about B2B, but find the case study writing right up my alley. If I am thinking about it in the right way, I will be able to apply case study writing to B2C and also be flexible to write in the B2B environment after successfully completing this class. Am I correct? Thank you.

    Guest (Cynthia Jackson)May 16, 2019 at 11:00 pm

  5. I'm really interested in Case Studies, and I've seen AWAI recommend them as a potential "part-time project" since they don't require loads of time to complete.

    My question is, does the work usually have to be done during normal business hours? I'm sure much of this would depend on the interviewees' schedules, but is it common that subjects can only talk between 9 and 5?

    I work full time, and so I want to make sure I could fit in this kind of work if it's what I chose to focus on. Thanks!

    Mike StrattonJanuary 24, 2020 at 10:18 am

  6. I took Ms. Casey's class in the previous session last year and I fell in love with the writing. I was passionate about getting the information out. unfortunately, I got stuck with inserting the testimonials because it was my first exposure to including them in a paper. No matter how hard I tried, the text boxes did not stay where I had placed them. I got discouraged and gave up. Since then I have had the chance to practice their placements. hopefully this time around I will not give up easily.

    Jemima Otubuah aka Jamie Sax

    Jamie SaxJanuary 24, 2020 at 11:34 pm

  7. This looks like something that would fit me perfectly. But I'm currently going through the Accelerated Companion course. I hope something like this will be available when I complete this. In the meantime, thanks for the great sample resoure for my writing study!

    Guest (Bonita)January 26, 2020 at 4:55 pm

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