Does writing a case story feel like a bad trip to the dentist? You are not alone. Most professional services firms seem to struggle with them.
Yet we all know that we should do more. They can be an important part of your content marketing strategy. If done well, they can attract new prospects and help close more business.
Here are some of our favorite tips to make the process easier and much more effective.
1. Involve the client very early.
Some clients will shy away from participating and others have firm policies against them. But for many clients, being considered as a case story will be a strong positive.
They can look forward to special treatment and the possibility of increased visibility. This not only helps you gain cooperation, but it also encourages you to collect helpful information about the “before” situation.
2. Identify the client.
This is a huge credibility booster and should be done if at all possible. Yes, there are some circumstances where you cannot for ethical or legal reasons. But for many situations it is possible. And when you can, it is very helpful.
3. Use a quote.
Getting a direct quote from the client is another great way to add believability and credibility to your case story.
Also consider including a quote from the professional in your firm that worked on the client’s project. This helps make the case study seem more tangible and easier to identify with.
4. Include keywords in the title and body copy.
Conduct keyword analysis of your case story’s topic and include them when you are writing. This will help search engines find the case story and spread the word. Include your identified keyword or keyword phrase both in the title of the case story and 2-3 times in the copy.
Some common keywords include the name of the client’s company and the nature of the service you provided.
5. Tell a story.
Good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They also have a struggle against the odds and a turning point. If it is too easy, there is no tension or suspense. Will it work or not?
While we are not suggesting turning your case stories into literature, a little bit of old-fashion story telling will go a long ways toward increasing reader interest and engagement.
Explain the client’s challenges and why your professional services firm was the right fit for their needs. Describe how you helped the client and try to paint a clear picture of what it’s like to work with your firm. And most importantly, show results and that you were able to deliver on your promises.
6. Use numbers.
Numbers add credibility in a way words just can’t. They can be useful in describing the magnitude of a challenge, the process you used and, of course, the results you achieved. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have perfect documentation. Even a few numbers help.
7. Use imagery.
Often overlooked, this is a great way to communicate a setting or give you a quick feel for a client. While most professional services do not easily lend themselves to a picture of the service (try photographing an audit or a computer program), there are other alternatives.
How about a picture of the client’s facility or their product? Think broader and you will find interesting visual content to spice up your case story.
8. Avoid jargon.
Have mercy on your readers and avoid industry jargon and acronyms. A surprising number of readers will not understand what you are trying to communicate.
Assume you are writing a case story for your aunt to read and you won’t be far off. The key here is to lay the situation out simply and to make your success easy to understand for any reader. Make your case stories easy to skim. Use short sentences, descriptive headings and bullet points.
9. Use video.
This is an increasingly common approach to telling a professional services case story. A professionally produced video can communicate a client’s experience and enthusiasm in a way that words alone cannot.
Video is especially appropriate if you have a high profile client who is excited about your service.
10. Get professional help.
You do not have to do it all alone. Using a professional to write a case story or edit a draft you have written can be a very smart move.
Given the obvious role that case stories can play in your content marketing campaign, it’s essential to get it right. For many firms, a single new client pays for all the case studies you’ll need to write.
Writing a case story doesn’t have to be so painful. By using some of the tips we’ve outlined here, it can actually be interesting—and very profitable for your firm.
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