Do you use case studies in your marketing program? If not, maybe you should. They’re battle-tested content marketing tools that make an impact. That’s why they’re a staple of many content marketing programs. Put simply, case studies pack a powerful punch. They also provide a good return on investment—especially if you’re in the B2B space.
Case study articles, also known as applications stories or testimonials, feature real customers talking about how a product or service solved a real problem. When published, they establish a product or service’s ability to provide specific capabilities and benefits. Their credibility is unmatched. Plus, many trade journals are open to publishing them.
Why are they so effective? Because they provide benefits that can drive growth and profitability. They can inform and educate readers. They can boost visibility and awareness. And they can generate high-quality leads. Used over time, they can help you create authority in your space. That’s a big plus. But to reap these benefits, you must avoid the pitfalls that can derail case studies.
Below are six common pitfalls that can sabotage case studies. They can create roadblocks that can stop a case study from getting written and published, and should be avoided at all cost:
Not Pre-qualifying Leads
This can stop a case study project dead in its tracks. No one wants that. So make sure you pre-qualify a lead before you start writing. Also, make sure the customer will let you publish the story—whether online or in print—and that you can use the customer’s name in the article. Many media outlets won’t publish a case study without identifying the customer.
Selecting the Wrong Application
Not every successful application of your products or services makes for good case studies. Many are typical applications. You want something better. So look for an application that significantly impacts a user’s business, provides impressive results, or solves a challenging business issue in your industry.
Not Having a Plan of Attack
Not having a plan of attack can create surprises. No one likes surprises, so make sure you develop a clear plan of attack. Then let everyone involved know about it. That ensures you’re all on the same page and there are no surprises. Plus, it saves you time and money.
Failing to Prioritize the Project
Employees know your products or services better than anyone. But they also wear a lot of hats. Putting together a case study is something that can fall between the cracks if you don’t prioritize it. Choose a reliability employee to champion the effort then put your weight behind the effort. If you need to, hire a freelancer to help out.
Failing to Develop a Story Line Fully
Case study-worthy applications are precious commodities, so don’t hold back when you find one. Develop it fully and include all the key data associated with it. Doing so helps readers see the full benefits of your products or services. It will also help impress editors who may want to publish your case study.
Being Insensitive to a Customer’s Concerns
Every company has things it wants to keep under wraps. Be aware of these concerns when writing a case study. Also, make sure your customer knows it will get a chance to see the article before it’s published. That way, they can edit anything that’s proprietary.
Avoiding these six pitfalls will keep your case study on track. It will also reduce costs, which is important if you have to hire a freelancer to write the case study.
Developing a case study article isn’t a snap. But it is certainly worth the effort you invest. Few content marketing tools pack the wallop case studies do when published. Plus, publishing a series of case studies can help you create authority in your space. So if you’re not using case studies in your content marketing program, maybe you should start.