I’m not a fan of copywriters who share other people’s work simply to poke fun at or humiliate the creator, because it’s probably not their fault. I’ve worked with some BIG enterprises and know firsthand that once your first draft has gone through 10 layers of feedback, where everyone fiddles with your copy, the final words published bear little resemblance to what you first submitted.

BUT

I am a fan of studying other copywriters’ work – good and bad – to understand what does/doesn’t work and why. Therefore, in this article I will explore and share some of those lessons learned to help you create case studies that really resonate with your audience.

NOTE: the examples shared below are not copy that I have written.


Bad B2B case study writing: it’s not about you

I don’t agree with ‘naming and shaming’ so the bad B2B case study writing examples are purposefully anonymised.

In this first case study, the company has got the emphasis completely wrong:

“[COMPANY] brings agility, resilience and sustainability benefits…Our team is really good at making sure our customers are aware of the toolsets and total costs involved…We helped [CUSTOMER] to understand likely costs and how to right-size servers…In the next stage of the project we will enable the team to make further cost savings through streamlined disaster recovery planning.”

Case studies lean heavily into storytelling technique where you have:

🧁The hero: your customer

🧁The villain: the pain/challenge they need to overcome

🧁The guide: you

In this case study example, the company has positioned themselves as the hero – an instant turnoff for the target audience. However, with some simple reframing it’s possible to turn things around.

For example, rather than say:

We helped [CUSTOMER] to understand likely costs and how to right-size servers.

Tweak it to highlight the business impact the ‘villain’ was inflicting on the customer:

As storage costs spiralled to £1M per year, we helped [COMPANY] get visibility of its cloud-based infrastructure, which enabled the company to halve its expenditure simply through right-sizing its servers.”


Good B2B case study writing: use hard data

Work management platform, Asana, publishes endless case studies to highlight the impact its technology has for its customers. Pick up any one of its case studies and there’s hard, tangible evidence. For example:

🧁Sony Music increased their creative production capacity by 4x

🧁Zoom saves 133 work weeks per year

🧁G2 Crowd’s marketing team hits annual goals 2x faster

When your audience is reading a case study, they’re not interested in fluffy statements about how your customer would recommend you (surely that’s a given?!). They want the cold, hard facts of the ACTUAL value realised when using your product/service.


Bad B2B case study writing: (no) testimonial

I’m not sure which is worse:

“[no testimonial]”

Or

The [SERVICE] that [COMPANY] performed provided some very credible findings and outlined clear improvements that we were able to implement.”

Testimonials are ‘evidence’ of your amazing-ness. Arguably, they are the most important bits of content you own because it’s a third-party endorsement of the actual value you delivered. Therefore, it’s important to include a testimonial in your case study. And it’s important to ensure that testimonial says something meaningful.

When I’m writing case studies, I think about how the testimonials could be used in other pieces of content. It’s a useful exercise because it enables me to craft something that is standalone and aligns to a core business message. For example, if my client wants to highlight how their technology enables its customers to stay ahead, the testimonial may read:

“[PRODUCT] is such a powerful tool, and as Parliament continues to introduce new laws we know we remain in the best position to keep pace with change.”

The crucial thing is that YOU craft your case study testimonials to ensure they say something of value. Following your case study briefing, you will know why your customer loves you and your product/service. So craft some ‘suggested wording’. This allows you to control the narrative, while allowing your customer to tweak if necessary – and they’ll love you even more for doing the hard work for them!


Good B2B case study writing: short, sharp, and to the point

Advisory firm, Wipfli, clearly has some great stories to tell involving some pretty complex and complicated technologies – but why lament for pages when a simple paragraph will suffice?

For example:

Team Rubicon needed a VMS to help it track and match thousands of volunteers, manage equipment, train and onboard new volunteers, and measure the dollar-for-dollar impact of donations. No VMS on the market was a perfect fit, so Team Rubicon partnered with Microsoft and Wipfli to build a custom solution.

In just two sentences the team has summarised their customer’s challenge and why Wipfli was perfectly positioned to help.


Bad B2B case study writing: a wall of text

I was browsing the case studies on the website of a cybersecurity company and every single one was about 1,500 words presented in one massive block of text. It didn’t invite me to read the content, wasn’t conducive to skim reading, and certainly didn’t align to how humans read content online.

I’m not sure I made it past the first sentence on any of their 20+ case studies – and it’s such a shame because the company is doing amazing things, but they’re not reflecting that in the way they share their customer stories.

But it’s easily rectified. By simply inserting some sub-headings, it breaks up the text, which instantly makes the case study more inviting to read. As well as provides an opportunity to communicate the headline messages very quickly to skim readers.


Good B2B case study writing: break the mold and be different

SaaS company, Be Slick, has shunned the traditional case study structure (challenge – solution – results) in favour of an interview – better still, it’s taken a multimedia approach to blend written copy and video testimonial. For example:

b2b case study copywriter_image 1

Be approaching their case study in a different way, it instantly draws the audience in because it plays into the human brain’s innate desire to seek out new and novel ideas.


How do you write a B2B case study?

If you’re interested in what ‘good’ case study copywriting looks like, read ‘3 resources your case study writer will use’.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to outsource your customer success stories to a B2B case study copywriter, why not email me at hello@alicehollis.co.uk