4 Reasons Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Write Case Studies
In 2000, I was a freshly minted case study writer.
I’d written a few of these fun, well-paying projects, and was hooked.
I was interviewing my clients’ happy customers and crafting compelling stories. Sign me up for more!
In the pre-LinkedIn era, I began frequenting face-to-face networking events to find clients.
But when I enthusiastically told people that I write case studies … blank stares followed.
Back then, it was the rare marketer who had heard of customer case studies — mostly limited to savvy technology companies.
I had to explain WHAT case studies were, WHY they were valuable, and then SELL prospects on working with me. It became exhausting.
The good news for writers is, things are vastly different today.
Customer case studies, aka success stories, have become an indispensable marketing tool. Hundreds of thousands of businesses create them. And if they don’t yet, most know they should.
Here are four reasons why there’s never been a better time to be a case study writer …
Reason #1: Social Proof Rules the Day
People have always relied on “social proof,” or word-of-mouth, to make decisions.
Maybe your friend recommends a babysitter or restaurant. With that endorsement, you feel more confident making the same decision.
But in the past 20 years, social proof has become more formalized and part of companies’ marketing budgets.
From buying blenders to hotels to software, we’ve come to rely on the experiences of others to help make decisions. Consider the power of reviews on Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Yelp.
Think about the last major purchase you made. Chances are, someone else’s experience influenced your decision.
But beyond online review sites, countless businesses now actively create customer case studies to give buyers more peace of mind in their decisions. Because the more expensive, complex, or risky the purchase is, the more proof buyers need.
What better way than a compelling customer story to show that a company delivers on its promises?
Buyers agree. When the research firm Forrester asked Business-to-Business (B2B) buyers about the type of content that helps them make purchase decisions, 71% said “real customer or peer stories.”
Reason #2: Companies Can’t Find Enough Good Case Study Writers
So many organizations now create case studies that marketers just can’t find enough skilled help. Trust me.
Nearly every week, a new prospect contacts me about creating case studies. But I can’t take on all the requests that come in.
The market needs more qualified case study writers.
Companies want someone experienced in the ins and outs of this unique kind of writing …
Someone who can learn their solutions quickly …
Ask the right questions in interviews …
Craft a compelling story with measurable results …
Match the story to the client’s goals and key messages …
And guide them through the process until they have a completed story ready for use.
It’s not hard, but it does take specific know-how.
Reason #3: Written Case Studies Still Reign
Writers frequently ask me whether video testimonials are replacing written case studies. After all, marketing and social media are rife with video.
While customer stories lend themselves well to video, the price tag and logistics seriously limit its use.
Consider this: Chances are, the vendor and customer are in two totally different places. That requires flying a video crew to the customer’s site, bringing the customer to the vendor’s location, or finding a quality video team based in the customer’s location — for every story.
None of this is easy, or cheap. That’s one of the reasons why written customer stories still outpace video testimonials.
Second, not everyone prefers video. In fact, one survey found only about 30% of buyers actually prefer video overwritten. A possible explanation: written stories are skimmable and consumed at the buyer’s own pace, while video is not.
I see this with my own clients. Even those who produce customer videos still develop written stories on those same customers.
Reason #4: Nearly Any Type of Business Can Benefit
In the early days of my freelance career, customer case studies were mostly a make-or-break marketing tool of tech companies attempting to stand out in a very competitive start-up environment.
But those technology trailblazers set the precedent for the rest of the business world, and now TONS of businesses market with written customer stories — from business services providers to consumer companies.
Spend a few minutes searching online for “customer case studies” or “customer success stories” and you’ll see what I mean.
Up will pop page upon page of hits. At the top, you’ll see big names like Microsoft and Cisco. But keep going and you’ll find all types and sizes of businesses.
These are just the ones that come up in a search. There are countless others behind-the-scenes that already produce case studies, or know they need to.
Those could be coaches, consultants, health providers, financial advisors, architects, building contractors, educational providers, and many more. Check out the AWAI website and you’ll find dozens of member success stories.
Because just about ANY organization could benefit from marketing with customer stories.
So there you have it. There’s never been a better time to add case studies to your menu of writing services.
But beyond all that, it’s an especially rewarding and fun form of writing for those who enjoy storytelling. And who doesn’t?
Thinking about dipping your toe in the case study world?
Drop me a note and let me know. Or, do you have any questions about getting started as a case study writer? Share here so we can point you to other resources.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »