I used to hate writing case studies!
Let me tell you why...
I was a management consultant and what mattered to me was doing exciting work for interesting clients.
As soon as a project finished I couldn't wait to get started on the next project. The last thing I wanted to do was to look back, even if it was to focus on my successes.
And, with a tinge of arrogance, I hardly ever wrote case studies. Those that were written were completed by our Marketing Manager who, for the most part, was in an administration role. There was never a discussion about marketing strategy, or how the work of marketing fed directly into sales and even repeat business.
Of course, once I learned marketing (the hard way!) I realised how massively important case studies are.
I also realised how foolish it is to expect a consultant to be able to turn their hand to writing marketing copy.
The 4 problems in getting consultants to write case studies
There are 4 main problems in trying to get consultants to write case studies:
- Let's be honest, they're really not that interested!
- They have a habit of focusing on the activities they performed within an engagement, rather the problems they solved as the client saw them, and the business outcomes they delivered for the client
- They're too close to the project, which means they can't see the wood for the trees and they risk introducing the wrong emotions into the equation
- Writing marketing copy is the polar opposite to writing consulting reports. The language is entirely different. The need for, and use of, emotions is completely different. For someone to have the ability to write in both styles is incredibly rare
But writing the case study is only a part of the equation. There are two other elements:
- Maximising the value of the client interview
- Marketing the final product
How to maximise the value from a client case study interview
Talking to clients about a completed engagement is a really interesting thing to do. It can be cathartic for them! And, whilst reminiscing about all the great things your firm has done for them, it's also a great time to ask for: a) referrals; and b) if there are other challenges that they are facing and where your firm might could help.
Aside from that, there are further things that can be done to maximise the value of a case study interview.
I always ensure to get the following from a case study interview:
- The core engagement information so that I can write the case study (obviously!)
- Client statements that I can form into testimonials for use on your website, in promotional materials, and to support proposals
- Information that I can form into a Linkedin recommendation that I request from your client on behalf of your lead consultant
Once a case study is written and approved by the client and the lead consultant, the next step is to market it like crazy!
How to market a case study
Writing a case study and achieving client sign off is a great milestone, but it only gets you out the starting gate. You now need to work that case study!
You must get it into the hands of as many people as possible.
For internal use, the first thing to do is to create a PDF version that you can include in proposals and tender responses.
For external use, the first step is to get it hosted on your website, then you can do one or more, or even all, of the following:
- Share it on social media - company page and key staff profiles; ask employees to like and share those posts. Send it to specific connections
- Include it in your newsletter - tell your existing customers about the amazing outcomes that you have achieved. It might inform them of a service they didn't know you could perform
- Hyperlink to it from existing website content
- Include it as part of your content ad campaign
- Write a blog article around it with the case study available as a 'content upgrade'
There are many more creative things that you can do to get your case study out there.
Remember too that these are not one-time activities. Set a schedule to re-market your case studies throughout the year.
So, to recap:
- Consultants are terrible at writing case studies, and they don't like doing it anyway!
- Writing a case study is just the start. You must squeeze every last bit of value out of your case studies
- You need to market your case study like crazy, and that marketing should be repeated frequently
If you'd like to learn more about our case study service, which starts from £395, then get in touch...