To be effective, case studies need to be credible. There are three main ways
to ensure this:
Incorporate the voice of your customer
Include first-person accounts and testimonials of what the company experienced while using your product or service. Make sure you get permission to use any testimonials you want to include, and always attribute them correctly, noting the name and title of the relevant person.
And remember that more often than not, the best way to get testimonials is to ghost write them for your customer, rather than asking them to come up with something on their own. That not only makes the process easier for your customer (who then simply has to edit and approve what you’ve written), it also helps ensure that each testimonial focuses on the
most important points.
Including a testimonial or two from a relevant stakeholder from inside your business can also help further personalize the case study and build credibility.
Create a well-written, clear, and concise document
As with all of your external content, make sure your case study is well-written, clear, and error free. This is especially important with case studies because you’re not only representing your brand, but also your customer’s brand.
And, if that representation contains errors, typos, or other quality issues, you’re associating your company and your customer’s company with that poorly written content. Make sure you have a B2B copywriter system in place to adequately review your content before you publish it, whether that involves human editors or some form of optimization technology.
Show tangible results
We touched on this earlier but it bears repeating. While stating what you did is important, it won’t get you very far unless you can also explain the resulting impact.
While qualitative results are great (we increased sales, customer satisfaction went up, etc.), quantifying those results is even better. By what percentage did sales increase? How much higher is customer satisfaction now than it was before?
Numbers can go a long way toward demonstrating tangible ROI, which in turn builds credibility.
Tell a relatable story
While credibility is certainly a top priority, to really ensure that your case study resonates, it needs to do more than simply relay facts. It has to tell a story. Practically speaking that means:
- Making the case study relatable by putting it into the appropriate context so that your readers identify with it.
- Ensuring that you have a strong narrative and adopt a conversational tone of voice.
- Incorporating the elements of any good story: strong characters trying to overcome a challenge, ups and downs along the way, and a satisfying resolution.
If you can wrap your case study into a compelling and credible story, you’re all but guaranteed to create a highly effective piece of content.
How to Build a Content Engagement Path
With the surge in popularity of interactive content platforms, many a B2B marketer and B2B copywriter are relying on interactive content assets to remedy their engagement problem. However, engagement is a bigger issue than achieving poll responses and quiz completions.
Engagement means establishing a meaningful connection and a long-term relationship with your end-user. While interactive assets can certainly help build these kinds of connections, it’s important to think of your content on a holistic level and focus on building an engagement path.
First, you can’t expect your end-user to take the time to sift through your content and find what they’re looking for (which is why strategic content organization is key to content discoverability). A truly great content experience is ultimately about designing for enduring engagement, content cross-discoverability, and customized content pathways that help keep things personal and relevant for your end-user.
Second, you need to encourage enduring engagement by enabling conversations using certain elements of engagement that will help to build a stronger relationship.
Organizing and managing your content to create tailored content streams that are highly relevant to your end-user is one way to encourage engagement. However, it’s also important to have a few aspects “baked in” to your content experience to facilitate and measure engagement. In all likelihood, you’ve heard of some of these tools before, but it’s important to understand how these elements work to promote engagement in your content experience.
Commenting is one of the best ways to start conversations and, ultimately, understand whether or not your content is providing value to your audience by allowing the opportunity for feedback.
Of course, some brands (like Rainmaker Digital, née Copyblogger) have famously disabled their blog’s comment section to broaden the conversation using other networks and avoid wasting time cleaning out inevitable spam. It’s ultimately up to you and your organization as to whether or not you include comments to meet your goals.
Add social sharing buttons
Social sharing buttons are also a great way to generate engagement because they facilitate seamless sharing on social platforms, thereby allowing greater distribution and greater opportunity for your content to become part of a conversation.
Include exit overlays
Exit overlays are “pop ups” that are triggered by exit intent technology, which monitors visitor behavior on your blog or website. When a visitor shows the intent to exit — e.g., by moving their cursor to their top navigation bar, or to close a window — an overlay pops up to encourage them to stay on the site and take action. Exit overlays can be used to build subscriber lists, or offer exclusive content, or suggest content recommendations — the opportunities are endless.
Provide content recommendations
Part of building an engagement path means always providing a logical and tailored next step to keep your end-user engaged with your brand’s content. One of the easiest ways to do this is by implementing a content discovery engine that provides targeted content recommendations. Think of content recommendations as an automated system that lays the next content “brick” in your end-user’s engagement path. The path will continue as long as there are enough relevant bricks ahead!