When we want to stock our kitchen, our family shops at three different grocery stores. We visit one store for seafood and organics, another for the kind of tortellini my son likes, and another for our favorite brand of salsa.
High maintenance? Probably. We want what we want. But at times it’s exhausting. It’s more stops of the car and more items on the to-do list – and more time out of the day.
That’s why one-stop shopping has become such a marketing buzzword. We’re all looking for every opportunity to cut steps in our daily lives, while still getting what we need.
The business world is no different. If you’re a copywriter, your clients are busy business owners and marketing folks who are looking for time-savers.
Copywriters can help. Consider how you can deliver one-stop shopping for your clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean writing all the marketing materials they need. After all, some of us bring expertise in specific niches (i.e. case studies).
Instead, consider handling more of the process for your clients. For example, I help many of my clients with design and project management. Adding these aspects means I take care of pretty much the entire project and deliver a ready-to-use marketing piece.
Want to be more of a one-stop shop copywriter? Here’s your playbook:
Add Design Services
Most clients publish case studies on their websites AND need an attractive PDF version for printing and distributing via email.
Even large clients or those with in-house designers may need occasional outside help. Clients who choose to engage my help with design fall into two categories:
• Organizations that have designers they work with – in house or contractors – but choose to have me coordinate the entire project to keep things simple.
• Organizations without designers that appreciate not having to find yet another vendor.
Find the right designer – Maybe you have writing AND design skills. If so, awesome. You’re already a one-stop shop. If not, partner with a designer. Choose a designer with work samples that match the type of clients you have. Some have a more whimsical, illustrative look while others are more corporate. A tech company would likely want a different look than a wellness coach. Consider working with a couple of designers to fit the various clients you have.
Ask about turnaround time – What’s the designer’s typical turnaround time? You want to ensure that the person is responsive when you need them. Also, have them let you know whenever they’re going to be out of the office so you can plan for that.
Ask about files – One of my clients likes to have copies of the InDesign (or other) files just in case they want to make changes themselves in the future or change vendors.
Equip the designer – Get your client’s logo, typefaces, color schemes and preferences to the designer, along with other sample marketing materials or the client’s website URL so that the designer can match the look of the client’s other materials.
Create a template – Engage the designer to create the template for case studies (or other collateral), and then to place each case study into the template. I price these separately: a one-time fee for template creation and then each layout.
Proof designs – Review layouts to ensure typos have not crept in.
Send one bill – Create a single invoice for writing and design. Add a little mark-up over what you pay the designer to account for your time in guiding the designer and shuttling versions back and forth.
Add Project Management
With multiple interviews and customer review cycles, case study projects demand more project management than other types of writing assignments. Save your clients all that legwork by handling the pieces.
For case studies, add the following to your writing and editing:
• Schedule and conduct all interviews
• Record interviews and provide transcripts (if requested)
• Manage review and signoff with the featured customer
• Collect graphics such as logos and photos
When you deliver writing, design and project management, it means fewer invoices for clients to process, fewer emails and fewer tasks on their lists. Also, by boosting your value to them, you can charge higher fees as you become the preferred, one-stop provider.
Copywriters: Want to make more money with case studies?
Then your stories HAVE to SELL.
Join me on Wednesday, September 8 at 9 PDT/12 EDT for a no-cost, one-hour teleclass:
For Case Study Copywriters: 8 Secrets for Writing Stories That Sell (More)
In this one-hour call, you’ll take away tips to help you create better case studies and be more valuable to your clients or company:
- The #1 way to "wow" your client or boss – What questions can you ask your client so you deliver more on-target stories?
- How to case your client’s competition – Case studies must sell against the competition. Do you know what to look for and how to write a story that competes?
- “Magic” questions to get featured customers to tell you more – How do you get hesitant interviewees to share more details of their experience?
- How to uncover measurable results – How can you help featured customers measure their results?
- Writing stories that pull prospects in – What tactics make a story more engaging and keep prospects reading?
- How to give executive decision-makers what they want in a case study – With time-pressed decision-makers, how do you help them glean information faster?
- Adding navigational “signposts” to your stories – Do you know how to cater to skim readers?
- Getting the customer’s "tears ‘n fears" – Why is emotion important and how do you weave it into your case studies?
Take away tips to help you write better case studies and be more valuable to your clients. In other words, make more money!
About 10 years ago, I wrote my first customer case study - and it was love at first write.
I found case study writing perfectly suited to my background, skills and interests.
But I know not everyone loves this type of copywriting as much as I do.
If you can relish the great aspects and don't mind a few drawbacks, you just might be cut out for case study writing:
You like journalism-style writing/storytelling
Do you get energized about writing compelling stories? Customer case studies and success stories follow journalism style more than just about any other style of copywriting (except article writing).
That means written without a lot of spin or corporate speak, with an emphasis on customer quotes. It's about recounting true experiences in truly interesting ways.
You have a knack for interviewing
Every customer story requires at least one to two interviews, if not more. You interview internal folks for background and then customers to collect details of their experiences.
The best case study writers know how to ask questions that elicit the desired response, and can respond dynamically during interviews with follow-up questions that go deeper - all while making interview subjects feel at ease.
You enjoy working mostly virtually
Whether you freelance or work for a company, you'll be working virtually much of the time. Even if your client or company is local to you, chances are, their customers are not.
You'll need to be on the phone for much of the information gathering.
You can deal with project delays
Customer case studies aren't like other projects - because they involve customers. With a brochure, white paper or web copy, a company can start whenever they are ready.
Getting case studies done depends on customers' availability and responsiveness, and that can take a while! So, they don't necessarily happen when you expect or want them to. Sometimes you have to wait...
You aren't afraid to write about technology
Customer stories are becoming more and more mainstream. Companies outside the technology industry are adding them to their marketing.
But much of the work is still for technology product and service providers. You don't always need to understand HOW a product works, but you do need to understand the benefits of technology products (a big difference).
You have a working environment without noise or interruptions
This one can be tough, I know. I'm home-based and have a big German shepherd that likes to let me know when any postal/UPS carrier, neighbor or squirrel passes by.
BUT when I'm on a call with clients or their customers, she's outside or tucked away. My clients know that I'm interacting by phone, conducting and recording interviews, and expect nothing less than a quiet, professional environment.
Their customers often assume I'm in the company's offices. When I'm on a call with customers, I know I need to get the information without interruption because it can be hard to reach the customer again.
That's my list.
Case study writers out there, speak up. What would you add?