You work incredibly hard to achieve brilliant results for your clients, and you are so busy that as soon as the objectives are met (or exceeded) – you move on to other projects, perhaps sending a case study form or email asking if you can use these results, feedback or examples as a case study for your own marketing.
As every marketer will know, case studies and testimonials are a vital component to your content strategy. New audiences want to read them to understand how you work, build trust in what you do, and learn from how other companies like them have succeeded thanks to the help that your business has provided them. However, we need to make case studies work hard to ensure that these great messages are being seen by your audiences – so how do we go about getting the most from this content?
Types of case study content
Usually, when people think of a case study they will think of a long-winded web page, or even a PDF. There is certainly a time and place for these detailed long-read’s – however the likeliness is that your audience won’t have the time to invest in reading a long article about how you achieved the results that you did, the challenges that you overcame, the brief in detail, some quotes from the client and an analysis of the results. I’m not saying this isn’t worth doing – it is, and if readers want to really understand your experience and portfolio in detail then they will spend time reading this type of information. However, it’s not attention grabbing or interesting to read for someone who is acutely interested, so we need to break down this long form content into bite-sized, engaging chunks for use across your website, marketing materials, social media and email marketing.
If we haven’t said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – video is so, so important for your content. Social media, blogs, email and search have all turned to video, with users wanting content to talk at them, rather than expect them to read and delve in.
We would recommend if you have a brilliant case study, set up an interview with your client and ask them some questions around the work that you have done together. Make sure the video doesn’t turn into a hard sell, just talking about yourselves – ask your client what they want to talk about and make it more of a general conversation, subtly informing audiences of your part in the project. Celebrate your customers, celebrate their successes – creating this type of video content will mean that they will then want to share it amongst their audiences, extending your reach organically.
Audio is really growing, and podcasts are another great way of getting in front of your audiences when they are too busy to read a detailed post or PDF. Set up chat podcasts with a format that is focused around being ‘in a conversation with..’ rather than you firing questions about how great you have been. Again, make sure that you are talking about topics that your client wants to promote, what makes them passionate? It’s so easy to hear if someone is reading a script or bored in a podcast, so make sure it’s genuine and a real conversation. Don’t overplan it!
Again, if you are pushing topics that your client wants to talk about then they will push that out to their audiences. This is a great content type if you are targeting busy people who will spend lots of time commuting, in the car, or going to the gym; as more and more people are downloading podcasts to digest information whilst doing something else.
Reader’s love statistics. They tell a whole story in just a couple of characters. A great way of getting these statistics across in a visual way is through infographics or smaller graphics. These can tell a story about how a model or process has worked, or just pull out some of the key results. Infographics are still a great way of showing something on social media, blogs or webpages quickly without the audience having to read about them in context. If they do their job, provide a link to the full case study so people can find out more about how you achieved that stat.
Always back yourself up
Don’t ever use statistics or ‘evidence’ in a case study without backing up where you found those results, either through Google Analytics, a named quote from the client, or any other tools that you use to measure success. Unfortunately, false case studies are out there, so you need to make sure that you are transparent about how you calculated stats (what dates are these stats for?, percentage increase from what?).
If it’s an ongoing client, keep updating the case study
Case studies, just like any digital content, should never sit still. Keep adding to them, updating the web page or creating new video content to make sure that you are pushing the latest statistics possible. Nothing is more of a turnoff than spending time reading a case study and then finding that the results use statistics from over five years ago. Audiences are clued up and they know that things move quickly, so don’t cherry pick a fantastic stat from a decade ago and stick with it, use up to date evidence and continually add to them.