A case study writer is experienced in how to tell your story through the words and experiences of your client. They know the points that are going to resonate and write so the audience feels compelled to take action. Read this article to learn:
🧁What is a case study copywriting?
🧁What is case study in content writing?
🧁How do you write a case study?
🧁Case study headlines
🧁Case study copywriting examples
🧁Case study template
🧁Case study writing services
What is case study copywriting?
Case study copywriting is so effective at converting your audience because it tells your story through your client’s experience. It uses a storytelling technique known as the ‘relatable middle ground’ – where your prospect can look at your client and think “they’re just like me – and if Company ABC helped them, they can help me too”.
Rather than you simply state, “Look at us, aren’t we so great!”, case study copywriting is one of your customers saying, “Company ABC did this for us and it had XYZ impact.” Telling your story through the users’ eyes makes it feel real and creates a connection with the reader.
CASE STUDY WRITER MEANING: A case study writer is skilled at blending your client’s experience with your company’s core messaging, to create valuable content that resonates with your audience. Crafting a strong narrative, a case study writer knows how to hook the audience in, showcase your product/service, and ultimately convert the audience.
What is a case study in content writing?
Case studies are a wonderful asset to have within your content strategy because they can be used at various stages of the customer journey:
🧁Lead generation: trade publications and events love to showcase case studies because they are real-life use cases.
🧁Marketing qualified lead: case studies are a great way to build trust with a new prospect by showcasing the value you provide.
🧁Sales qualified lead: need to chase a proposal? Case studies are a great excuse to ‘get in touch’, without needing to send the dreaded “Just wondering if you had an update on…” email (which always gets ignored!).
🧁Client: this important part of your sales and marketing process is where your clients transform into brand advocates, wanting to share their story and ‘sell’ you to their network.
Additionally, case studies are considered high-value content because they provide:
🧁Testimonials: these soundbites are perfect to use across all your marketing content to provide ‘evidence’ of the value you offer.
🧁Insights: through interviewing your clients you unlock what really matters to them – use this intelligence to tweak your messaging so it really resonates with your audience.
How do you write a case study?
The following is my working process for how to write a case study. I’m not saying it’s the ‘only’ or the ‘best’ way to produce a case study, just that it works for me and is something I’ve refined over time:
🧁Ask the client for permission: ideally you want to be able to use the company name and logo.
🧁Plan your case study: what is the narrative behind this customer story? What key messages do you need to convey?
🧁Get your briefing: as well as interviewing your client, there will be internal documentation – like proposals, statement of works document, and update reports – you can use.
🧁Create a skeleton: outline the key sections with the core messaging for your client to review and approve.
🧁v1: create the first draft of the copy – there should be few amends come back because you’ve already agreed the outline, v1 simply fleshes it out.
🧁Amends: tweak the copy based on your client feedback to ensure they’re happy to sign off.
🧁Publish: once you’ve got the green light, get it out there and start shouting about it.
What makes case study writing different to other content writing?
In my opinion case study writing stands out for 3 key reasons:
I believe the most important part of a case study – and also the most overlooked part of a case study – is ‘the big idea’. It is your reason for writing this case study and the core thread that hangs everything together. It could be one of your core capabilities or a company value, a market challenge or opportunity, the client’s mission or a key objective…
Then once you have established your key theme, you need to decide on 3(ish) messages to support your narrative, which will be used to tell the story.
For example, if your big idea is ‘agility’, your supporting messages could be:
🧁Cloud-based infrastructure to support collaboration, which enables hybrid working.
🧁Feedback mechanisms to capture the voice of the customer, which help to prioritise new developments.
🧁Changes to the process to allow for experimentation, so bad ideas fail fast, and good ideas scale quickly.
Think of structuring these supporting messages as:
“It [FEATURE], so you can [BENEFIT], which means [VALUE].”
This way you’re always focused on the outcome (i.e. the ‘value’) rather than the technology.
Unlike content writing, which tends to include the promise of the value your product/service provides, case study writing shares the actual benefits realised.
But what if your client never thought to measure so doesn’t have statistics to share, or feels nervous about stating metrics in the public domain?
If you can’t be specific about the outcome, think about whether there is another way to infer the outcome. For example:
🧁Best: “Company ABC was able to boost our agility by 50%,” said David Smith, CEO of [CLIENT]. “When compared to the same period in the previous year, we secured an additional £5m profit.”
🧁Better: “What used to take the team 2-weeks to complete, now takes an average of just 7-days.”
🧁Good: “By helping [CLIENT] with XYZ it enabled them to get to market quicker. As research from [ANALYST] shows, companies that get to market quicker are 3x more likely to gain the competitive edge, which results in 20% higher profitability.“
One of the biggest benefits of engaging a case study writer is they know how to create valuable testimonials that can be used throughout all your content.
Rather than the usual, “We would really recommend Company ABC” (which tends to happen when you ask a client to write their own testimonial), a case study writer will tweak the client’s verbatim comments so they align with your overall messaging. For example, “Company ABC ensured our business remains always ready to respond to changing market conditions. When the pandemic hit, our staff experienced zero disruption to business-as-usual.”
Of course, your client needs to sign off the quote before you can publish it. And if you’ve done a good job, your client will want to give you a good testimonial and will appreciate your help in writing one on their behalf.
Case study headlines
Imagine you’re in the audience’s shoes and you’re presented with 3x different case studies titled:
🧁Company ABC case study
🧁How we helped Company ABC to migrate to the cloud
🧁Company ABC saves 20% on cloud costs after migrating with [PRODUCT]
Your case study headline is the single sentence that makes the audience decide whether or not to read your case study. So make it compelling, ensure it resonates – and remember, it doesn’t have to make everyone click, just the right people.
🧁I always leave the headline until last because it’s the single most important sentence, and therefore requires more thought than the rest of the case study.
🧁Place your client (the hero) before you (the guide) in your headline – for example “[CLIENT] gets to market 10-days earlier because of Company ABC”.
🧁Highlight the problem/opportunity to help the case study immediately hook the audience in.
🧁Think about adding intrigue by posing a question – for example, “How does [CLIENT] release products in 10-days when the industry average is 20?”
🧁And just as you would with SEO, think about packing in some keywords to help your case study gain exposure online.
Case study copywriting examples
What is a good example of a case study?
I was recently asked by a fellow copywriter for some tips on what makes a good case study, and this is what I shared:
🧁Don’t fixate on the length: most of the case studies I tend to write naturally end up at about 1,200 words. But I’ve also written some 500-word beauties that are really effective at producing results. Rather than adding fluff to pad it out or stripping out the good stuff to cut it down, focus on making every word count.
🧁Don’t be a smart ar*e: using long and complex words doesn’t make you sound smarter. In fact, it’s the best way to ensure you lose your reader because the moment they pause to think ‘what does that mean?’ they’re gone. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it in conversation, don’t write it.
🧁Don’t talk about ‘solutions’: it’s one of my pet hates because the word means everything and nothing. If you want to appear credible, be specific. Don’t talk about ‘cloud solutions’, talk about ‘applications’, ‘systems’, or ‘platforms’ – each of these words means something different and conveys more information about what you have to offer.
🧁Don’t spell it out: rather than go down a rabbit hold to pitch your product/service, simply name it and link to a relevant page on your website. It helps the case study to stay focused, is good for SEO, and in the case of user journeys helps you to track interest.
Case study template
The following are 3x case study templates I use as part of my writing process:
Case study template: briefing questions
🧁Who is the target audience?
🧁What causes them pain?
🧁Why did the client choose you? And why now?
🧁What is the big idea?
🧁How is the big idea (problem or opportunity) affecting the client? (e.g. regulatory/compliance, staff productivity, team morale, efficiency, business growth…etc.) Try to quantify the business impact.
🧁How does your product/service best address these issues? Try to include real examples of how your product/service is used by the client.
🧁What has the reaction been across the business?
🧁How has it made a difference to their specific role? What can they do now they couldn’t before?
🧁What are the client’s future plans?
🧁How will your product/service support those plans?
Case study template: case study format
🧁Headline: state your big idea.
🧁Summary: 3x bullet points to highlight the key results (i.e. your supporting messages).
🧁Section 1: What’s the big problem? What impact did it have on the business (include concrete examples?) And why did they choose you?
🧁Section 2(ish): How did your product/service overcome the problem? Structure this as 3x mini sections, using each to elaborate more on one of your above bullet points.
🧁Section 3: The future – what does the client intend to do next? How will your product/service support them?
Case study template: editing
🧁Have you written appropriate to the audience?
🧁Is it on topic?
🧁Is there one clear point per paragraph?
🧁Do your links work?
🧁Have you used a consistent tone (1st vs. 3rd person, corporate vs. personal)?
🧁Have you used a consistent tense?
🧁Have you overused punctuation (em dash, exclamation marks, ellipsis…)?
🧁Have you checked products/services/companies/names/brands are spelt correctly?
🧁Have you checked for SEO?
🧁Have you removed uncertainty (delete ‘possibly’, ‘probably’, ‘might’…)?
🧁Did you delete nothing words (‘that’) and change horrible words (‘solutions’)?
🧁If you only read the headings, do you still get the key message?
🧁Have you read it aloud to check it sounds right?
Case study writing services
If you’re looking for a freelance case study writer I can help. Case study copywriting is one of my specialist subjects because I have been writing them for a looong time – my first one was back in 2006! I know how to tell a compelling story, write copy that converts, and will help you tell your story.