Ah, client case studies – one of the most tried and tested marketing tools at any business’ disposal.
Oh, client case studies – one of the most tired and testing marketing tools when used incorrectly!
They divide opinion, but it’s not the concept of sharing client case studies that can be problematic – it’s the execution.
With a bit of repurposing magic, you can turn a stuffy old corporate nightmare into a jargon-busting, jaw-dropping, crowd-pleasing piece of storytelling. Okay, that might be overdoing it slightly, but you can definitely make your case studies more effective, compelling, and long-lasting with a repurposing mindset.
If you'd like to listen, hit play on the podcast player below:
What is a case study?
Not every business uses case studies in their marketing, so it’s okay if you’re not sure exactly what I’m talking about here!
Writing a case study is about documenting one of your happy customer’s journeys with you.
They can be anything from a short article to a multi-page report. The basic idea is that you are sharing the story of how your product or service made life better for someone else.
When we talk about a case study we’re talking about something more than a testimonial or a review. We’re talking about turning that review or testimonial into a story.
We shared lots of ideas on how to repurpose client testimonials in Clever Ways to Repurpose Client Testimonials and Reviews.
Why are case studies useful?
Case studies give you the opportunity to share your success and, after all, who doesn’t like the occasional humblebrag?
They also serve as fantastic social proof for your product or service. Think about it – are you more likely to buy something because the person who made it says it’s great, or because a person who used it has said it’s great? That’s a pretty simplistic view, but it’s true. The only way you can get closer to knowing what other customers really think of their purchase or experience is by reading third party reviews.
But as mentioned already, a case study is much more than a review. It’s a story. Reviews and testimonials are great to share, and often they provide concrete factual statements on how a product or service performed.
But the truth is, facts tell. Stories sell.
It’s true that reviews and testimonials often convey more than facts, they are emotive too. Clients may share that they ‘love’ your product or service, that it ‘changed their life’ (isn’t that a great soundbite!) and so on, but taking the time to go one step further and transform a testimonial into a full case study can help others truly understand what you do.
Case studies are also great at showcasing how your product or service works in the ‘real world’, rather than just in words and pictures on a website. If you can bring your product or service to life in a case study, giving your potential customers a real problem to imagine and solution to recognize, making a sale is going to be a lot easier.
Case study example
In my book I share some case studies of clients that we work with. Here is an example:
Mike Richards - The Treasury Recruitment Company
Mike became a trailblazer in his industry by establishing a successful podcast and leveraging the power of repurposing.
Mike Richards is the CEO of The Treasury Recruitment Company, and, thanks to a very smart decision that he made in September 2018, he’s also the host of The Treasury Career Corner podcast!
When I first met Mike he was looking for the perfect way to grow his personal brand and position himself front and center in the treasury industry as the leading authority on recruitment. His business was established in 2002 and whilst his company become the recruitment partner of choice with many large corporate clients, Mike was aware that content marketing was something that they were not doing enough of and they weren't consistent in. He wanted to change that.
We guided Mike through the process of setting up and launching a weekly podcast, where Mike interviews treasury professionals from around the globe about their career. This represented a bold decision to do something different and stand out from his competitors - it was also the first podcast of its kind within his specialist area of recruitment.
Repurposing was part of our strategy from day one. Unsurprisingly, many of Mike’s audience were not already podcast listeners or even familiar with podcasts at all. His audience were mainly on LinkedIn, so repurposing podcast content onto LinkedIn was essential.
We work with Mike to repurpose his podcast into engaging visual content, audiograms/video teasers, short video trailers, and written show notes on his website, LinkedIn and Twitter. We ensured his podcast was available on all main podcast apps and a podcast video trailer goes out onto YouTube and LinkedIn. His podcast also features in his newsletter to his subscribers. We’ve also made the most of video content and repurposed that into podcast episodes, including video footage from events.
Through repurposing, content never dries up on the social media platforms and fresh new content gets posted each week onto his website (good for SEO).
It’s fair to say that The Treasury Career Corner has been a huge hit. This one-of-a-kind podcast created a buzz in the industry - all of a sudden Mike was ‘everywhere’, talking to industry leaders, and still is! Mike’s grown a large audience of avid listeners. As download numbers have grown, so too has Mike’s personal brand. Interest and awareness in Mike’s business also grew - he found even if people didn’t listen to the podcast, they certainly knew about it and this has helped build his authority.
A huge business advantage arising from his podcast has been Mike’s ability to sit down and interview his dream clients who, in turn, through the power of relationship building (and Mike’s charm), have become his clients.
And here is the testimonial we have from Mike Richards, CEO of The Treasury Recruitment Company:
“All the team at Content 10x have been invaluable in getting our first ever podcast up and running. The whole process from onboarding to implementation has been seamless and they have been there throughout to offer advice and tips along the way.
Every week the fantastic team not only professionally edit our podcasts to make them sound 100 times better but they produce the show notes, create high quality imagery and video content, and post the show out to various social media channels on our behalf to ensure that we maximize our audience potential and focus our efforts on finding quality guests. Their hard work has definitely paid off and we have received some amazing download figures and comments from both candidates and clients, so I can’t thank them enough.
If you're looking for a company to help you set up and consistently produce great content then you can’t go wrong with Content 10x.”
As you can see, both help to sell our services in different ways. Mike’s testimonial includes facts and emotion. The case study provided more of a rounded view of what we do and how it’s helped him. Both work well and have their purpose.
What's wrong with case studies?
You may be thinking “case studies are great” after reading everything so far. Unfortunately, they can be executed poorly and can even be quite harmful to a brand.
So far, we’ve discussed what makes case studies effective – because they tell a positive story about solving problems in the real world.
When they’re executed poorly, case studies are corporate and stuffy, too focused on showing off rather than storytelling, and trying to do too much at once.
There are some stories where corporate jargon is the perfect fit. I’ve never fallen asleep quicker than when reading some of the case studies from my management consultancy days! A case study, however, is not the time to discuss your “innovative voice connection and communication technology solutions” when you sell “phones”.
If a prospect is reading one of your case studies, they don’t want to read a rewrite of your sales page. It’s not about showing off and filling up the page with reasons why your product is great, it’s about showing situations where your product has proven itself to be great.
And lastly, your case study is telling the story of a specific customer, in a specific situation, achieving a specific result thanks to you.
How can you make compelling case studies that are fit for repurposing?
By remembering what makes a case study good!
Start with proper storytelling, as the rest will naturally come from that.
Look at some of the classic narrative structures from literature. This explanation of classic story structures, by Kurt Vonnegut, is one of the best explanations of storytelling you can find.
Think how you can turn your case study from a boring factual recounting of events into a story with protagonists (your client), antagonists (their problem), a problem/villain (they had tried lots of things already), and a happy ending (when they started using your product).
Notice how “you” are only involved in one of those stages? That’s how it should be.
Throw some pictures in there as well – show logos and branding, happy customers, and products in the real world. Images break up a longer piece of writing nicely and also add more context for the story you’re telling.
Now that you’ve re-imagined your case study into a case story, it’s likely that it’s got a clear focus on a problem and solution, is easy to understand and relate to, and isn’t just you showing off.
Amazing what storytelling can achieve, eh? Now let’s get to work on repurposing the story you’ve created!
How can you repurpose a case study?
You’ve got a brilliant case study on your hands – what next? Don’t just stick it in a dusty corner of your website, 4 sub-menus deep and destined for one click a month! It’s time to do what Content 10x is all about – making your great content work harder for you and produce more results.
Share on social media
First things first, take to social media! It’s likely that you would have put a link to the case study on your Twitter, but that doesn’t cut it in Content 10x country!
You can break your case study up into separate posts for separate platforms and multiply your reach and real estate.
Share it on your company and personal LinkedIn – but do it as a native LinkedIn post.
Break it up into a Twitter thread – sharing bitesize snippets of the best parts of the story.
Use Instagram posts, stories, and IGTV to tell the story visually.
Use video content
You could go all out and get a properly produced video made of your case study (if you’ve got an in-house videographer or use an agency that has one, you’re probably doing this already!) or you can just have a sit down chat on camera with your customer.
How you do it is up to you, but video content is some of the best-performing on social media, so it’s worth finding a way of putting your case study into video that works for you.
You don’t need to have a client/customer involved to share a case study. As an example, check out any one of Jay Baer’s Talk Triggers videos and you will see Jay sharing case studies in fun and engaging ways on camera (these are case studies from his book).
If you don’t think being in front of the camera will work, think about creating an audiogram. I’ve written a proper explanation of how to create them here, if you’d like to know more.
Record a podcast episode
If you’ve got a podcast, this is the perfect content for it. Thanks to your magical writing skills, you’ve got a story to tell that will flow nicely and keep listeners engaged.
All the pieces are there and, if you’ve been publishing your podcast for a while, you’re probably confident in recording and producing. It should take no time at all, thanks to the hard work you’ve already put in.
Make it part of your sales deck
Turning your case study into tweets will also help you here, as it breaks the story into its most essential parts. Perfect for fitting into your sales deck.
Success sells and proving that your product works in the real world is the definition of success!
You could break your story down into 4 or 5 points and use them as prompts to tell the story in a minute or two. Equally, you could also use some of that video footage you created here.
That’s the magic of content repurposing – the minute you start, it opens more windows of opportunity to continue.
Include it in your email campaigns
If you think it’s strong enough, you can always create a dedicated email campaign for your case study. You could break it up over several emails, starting by introducing the protagonist and villain, setting it all up for a cliffhanger… Then your second email solves the problem.
You do need to be careful not to overdo email campaigns, so if you’d rather play it safe, breaking your case study story up into briefer chunks and using some HTML wizardry, you could create a brilliant piece of visual storytelling.
Another option is to use a compelling snippet from the case study (a great quote or one of the positive results) to entice your subscribers to click and read the full case study.
So you've repurposed your case study - now what?
Firstly, please share your story with us. Comment below and let me know how you got on.
Then, it’s time to look at all of your other content!
Hopefully you’ve got a better grasp on the power of content repurposing. Now it’s time to apply that knowledge to all the other content you’re creating.
You can find tons of ideas on the Content 10x podcast and blog, or if you want a guide you can work through always at hand, you can now get the Content 10x book! It’s got exclusive ideas, templates, and inspiration prompts to help you make your content go further.
Good luck with repurposing your case study! I’d love to see what you end up producing, so make sure to tag @Content10x when you share it!