Creating and repurposing case studies for your small business is a great idea. Not only do case studies explain the value you provide in detailed terms, they present the information in a vividly readable form. You want potential clients to picture themselves working with you and that’s the value of creating rich and meaningful case studies.
But a lot of businesses simply publish their case studies on a page on their websites or shuffle them in among their blog posts. This is a bit like burying the lede in a news story (or writing a really awesome blog article with a really lame title). I encourage you to start thinking about case studies as signature pieces of content and that means repurposing case studies like the sweet little badass you are.
So, let’s talk about what that looks like.
Case Studies are a Valuable Business Asset
If client testimonials are worth their weight in gold, then case studies are worth 10 times their weight (okay, I’m not sure why I chose this idiom. How could you even weigh a client testimonial? The point is if testimonials are valuable, case studies are even more valuable). Why? While testimonials are, by definition, statements taken out of context, case studies provide the context.
Don’t get me wrong. Meaningful, unique testimonials are awesome (not to mention perfect social media content) and you should continue to collect testimonials and reviews from your clients, by any means (okay, not ANY means). But there is no magic number of testimonials and after I’ve read the 19th “Dr. Good Smiles is the most gentle and patient dentist ever to put her fingers in my mouth,” I’m not sure testimonial #20 is going to tip the balance.
What will tip the balance for potential clients are specific answers to their questions or a sense of what your special sauce is as it relates to their particular interests. This might seem like a lot to ask of one small piece of content. But a solid and well-placed case study will meet the challenge. And that, dear reader, is where repurposing case studies can add a TON of value.
What goes into a Case Study?
When I write a case study, I want it to feel like the script of a movie trailer (minus all the stage directions, of course—that would be weird). The tone I’m going for is more documentary than Captain Marvel, but you get the picture. I want the case study to tell a story, rather than simply reporting a sequence of events.
Say I’m writing a case study for Dr. Good Smiles. To gather the information I need, I first interview one of her patients using a set of 5 questions designed to get at the real experience of working with Dr. Good Smiles. Then I choose the best “soundbites” to use as direct quotes. From here I’ll build the case study around the picture the patient is painting for me (hint: some patients / clients / customers are better storytellers than others, so choose wisely).
The case study typically has 3 sections:
- The Situation: Here I add in some background about how the customer came to work with my client (e.g., Patient Zero came into see Dr. Good Smiles when her crown broke).
- The Opportunity: Here I’ll add some details about the customer’s particular pain points and needs that align with my client’s offerings (e.g., Patient Zero hated going to the dentist because it was always a painful, shaming experience). The suspense builds…
- The Result: Then I finish by talking about the outcome in the most specific and vivid terms possible. I make sure to sprinkle in direct quotes in this section whenever possible (e.g., Dr. Good Smiles took the time to listen to Patient Zero’s concerns and answer all of her questions. She even offered to set her up with a home visit through the mobile dentistry program her office offers. “For the first time in my life, I can’t wait for my next dental visit and #winning, I’ll be wearing my pj’s and bunny slippers,” says Patient Zero).
Not only is this method clear and interesting for readers, it really sets you up for repurposing case studies.
How to Repurpose Case Studies
Repurposing great content is always a good idea. Don’t worry about repeating yourself. Remember, no matter how much of a marketing whiz you are, there’s no way everyone will see it the first time around and there’s no harm in anyone seeing it a second time (or third time). Also, if you repurpose case studies in clever ways, no one will care that you’re “recycling” stuff you wrote before.
1. Create videos using the case studies.
If content is king, video content is King Friday XIII (or choose your favorite king). There’s no denying that video can enhance written content. You can use your case studies as inspiration to create an intro video or to explain your process for delivering services.
Even better: any time you can get a customer to agree to go in front of the camera, take advantage of the opportunity. Come up with some questions to ask and interview your customer on camera. Editing video is simple using iMovie (for Mac) or Filmora (for PC).
2. Use case studies as a value-add.
Another way to repurpose case studies is to use them as an add-in, opt-in, or value-add piece. All you have to do is make your case study look presentable, i.e., add a few graphics and turn it into a e-guide PDF (you can use PowerPoint or Canva to do this quickly).
From here, you can:
- Offer a case study as an email opt-in to build your email list
- Include a case study as bonus material for an online course you’re creating
- Use a case study as part of your next business presentation or sales pitch
3. Put case studies together with data to tell a success story.
Data is always useful when you’re trying to influence people to work with you. But you need to be very careful when presenting numbers to non-data geeks. You will want to provide context to make the data more meaningful, but beyond that, turn your numbers into a story.
Case studies can help you to do this. It can help to listen to your clients and look for connections between what they say and the data you’re seeing behind the scenes. If you can’t draw a connection between the data and customer satisfaction, then so what?
4. Add case studies to your business book.
Perhaps the most important way to repurpose case studies is to use them in a business book. If you’re writing a business book now and haven’t included case studies or client success stories yet, then for the LOVE of baby narwhals, stop whatever you’re doing and make some notes about where you can add these in. I’ll have a lot more to say about this topic in my online course—set to launch later this summer!
People love stories about other people solving problems. If you think about it, you can boil down the plot of your favorite book, film, or TV show to the main character’s quest to solve some kind of problem. Seriously, it could be a template. And the same concept works for marketing content.
So, when it comes to creating and repurposing case studies, go with what works. Get more mileage out of the content gold you’ve already taken pains to create. It just makes so much sense.