Why Case Study Writers Are Getting More Projects Than Ever
Something wholly unexpected happened over the past several months.
Well, a LOT of unexpected things happened (Hello, pandemic).
In the midst of the ongoing economic upset of COVID-19, inquiries from current and prospective clients for customer case studies has actually INCREASED.
Honestly, it’s an upswing I wouldn’t have predicted.
In two decades as a copywriter, I’ve ridden some ups and downs in the market.
In 2002, several clients closed in the dot-com bust. In the recession of 2008, again, I saw some client attrition.
I expected something similar from the pandemic’s economic impact. And while one or two clients are being more conservative with their marketing budgets right now, the increased demand overall more than makes up for it.
I regularly open my email to find inquiries from existing clients or prospects in need of customer case studies. In fact, there’s so much work that I often refer it on to other writers.
Other case study writers I know report a similar uptick in business.
The market for these stories seems busier than ever!
What’s going on?
I have a couple of theories on this. But first, let me tell you a little more about case studies.
What Exactly Are Case Studies?
Customer case studies are like pumped-up testimonials. They capture a happy customer’s experience with a product or service, typically in about two pages. They’re often told from a “before-and-after” angle.
A case study looks a lot like a feature story and is just as fun to write.
To create a case study, you interview your clients’ happy customers to learn what problems they were trying to solve, why they chose the solution, how it looks in their environment, and the benefits it delivers, ideally in measurable results.
For buyers reading the case study, it provides three essential pieces for the purchasing process:
- Critical credibility — Other companies similar to the reader’s had a positive experience with the product or service.
- Education — Buyers can see how it works for someone else.
- Validation — The case study ideally shows the payoff, or how it delivers a Return on Investment.
Uncovering these nuggets of information, for me, feels investigative. With each interview, I’m looking to unearth the most interesting angles of the story and the metrics that will prove the solution’s value.
For a two-page case study that does all this, clients are willing to pay around $1,500 for one, and more for longer case studies.
They’re fun and lucrative to write, which is why I’ve spent the last 20 years focused on them.
Virtual Sales Are the Only Sales Right Now
But why would the demand be even higher in these strange times?
I have long suspected that the rise of case studies around the year 2000 has something to do with the virtual nature of buying.
In former times, we bought mostly face-to-face from people we knew personally. Still, nothing beats meeting in person to build rapport and relationships.
But in a global marketplace where people are buying often intangible solutions online from people they’ve never met, well, they need new ways of forming trust. They don’t necessarily have a word-of-mouth referral.
In that void, case studies provide powerful social proof.
And with the upheaval of the pandemic, the face-to-face sales that did exist shut down and continue to be slow to return.
That’s why I think businesses are clamoring to create more case studies. As they sell across the country or across continents, they need more documentation that their solutions deliver value.
Businesses Need Save-the-Day Case Studies
Secondly, I believe some of the current boost for case studies comes from organizations in high demand during the pandemic, like any company that supports remote activities of any kind. They’re looking to share their save-the-day stories — how they came through to help when COVID hit.
I’ve written quite a few of these in the past few months …
- Featuring solutions that enable better remote working
- On telecommunications that support virtual learning
- And on products that enable more reliable telehealth
But beyond this momentary blip, in the new digital age, companies will always need to sell with the voice of the happy customer.
Who Needs Case Studies?
Just about any type of organization can benefit from sharing its customer's successes, and you’ll find them across every industry, from Business-to-Business (B2B) to Business-to-Consumer (B2C).
For example, business consultants and coaches, technology solutions, professional services providers, nonprofits, healthcare providers, personal coaches of all types, training organizations (check out AWAI’s own case studies), and more.
Are You Cut Out for Case Studies?
It’s pretty simple: If you enjoy uncovering and capturing stories, then case studies may just be your thing. I have to admit, talking to my clients’ happy customers every day is a pretty sweet gig.
And I firmly believe, businesses need skilled case study writers more than ever.
Any questions about case study writing? Let us know in the comments.
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 »