The pros and cons of working with a case study copywriter

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When it comes to promoting your business, developing and publishing customer case studies is often one of the last things that gets done.

You know how important it is to create compelling customer testimonials. You also know how effective they are. They demonstrate why potential customers should work with you and tell a story about how your team overcomes client challenges.

But often, a lack of resources, limited time or simply not knowing where to start can put people off making the most of this important marketing tool.

In an effort to publish a regular flow of customer case studies and testimonials, some companies partner with an external copywriter.

By handing over case study development to a professional, they can focus on the day job while ensuring a steady supply of fresh customer stories.

Here, we look at the pros and cons of working with an outside copywriter.

What are some of the challenges of working with a case study copywriter?

Lack of experience. An effective case study will highlight the benefits your customer enjoyed when working with you. It'll also demonstrate why people should choose your company over the competition.

If you work with a copywriter who isn't used to teasing out these benefits, your case study will be less convincing. To reduce this risk, you might ask to see a writer's previous case study work, or set up a phone call to better understand your copywriter's interviewing technique.

Project management. There are a number of moving parts in any case study project: gathering background materials, juggling diaries to fit in customer calls and building in time for colleagues and your client to review your draft case study. When you add an outside writer in to the mix, it can complicate things even more. 

So, if possible, try to find a copywriter who can take charge of the project and manage the process for you. An experienced writer will let you know what they need ahead of time and ensure the project runs smoothly – without requiring your constant involvement.

Cost. Working with an outside copywriter will add to the cost of case study development. If you’re already facing a squeezed marketing budget, it may seem easier and cheaper to develop the case study yourself.

Treating each case study as an investment in your company's marketing strategy will help put this cost into context. Another option, if budgets are low, is to work with an external editor instead, who can develop and improve your own first draft.

Professionalism. When you ask an outside writer to contact your customers, there's always a risk that their interactions with those customers will reflect badly on your business – for example, if your writer's late for a call or sounds bored when speaking to a customer.

Therefore, it’s crucial that you find a copywriter who can suitably represent your firm. This is one time when it can really pay to ask for personal recommendations from your network.

Once you've settled on a copywriter, you might ask about their process for managing each writing project. You could also discuss how they would approach any potential problems, to give you peace of mind that your project will be in safe hands.

What are some of the benefits of working with a case study copywriter?

Objectivity. Because they aren't directly involved in your business, an external copywriter can provide a more objective overview of your services. This outside perspective of the results you delivered will make your case study more compelling to readers.

Your customers may even be more honest about what didn't go so well when they speak to someone outside your business. An experienced copywriter should then be able to weave these challenges into your case study – showing how your team overcomes potential problems while delivering high quality client work.

Experience. A copywriter who has written lots of case studies before will have an innate understanding of the right questions to ask. Their skilful customer questioning will help to tease out the benefits of partnering with your business and identify different ways to show why a customer chose your services.

Interviewing skills. A case study copywriter is likely to have experience in interviewing customers that your staff will not have. If you leave your team to try and develop case studies while they're busy juggling lots of other tasks, it's likely they'll end up without the information they need from customers, resulting in lower quality case studies.

An experienced copywriter will make the most of an interview to gently probe that customer's experiences with your company, while thinking about how best these can built into the final case study. They'll also be used to steering interviewees gently towards the topics that are most useful for a compelling customer story.

Time savings. This one may seem obvious, but by hiring an external copywriter to put together your case studies, you'll save time and energy that can be better spent on other business priorities.

Instead of conducting customer interviews, typing up their answers and drafting your own case studies, you can use that time to develop new leads, look after new customers and grow your business. In the meantime, you can let a writer who does this as their day job focus on developing these compelling pieces of marketing collateral.

A worthwhile investment?

As you can see, there are several potential challenges if you bring in an outside writer to help develop your case studies. To succeed, it's important to find a professional copywriter who'll be able to manage your project and draw on their experience to tease out the benefits of working with your company.

There's also likely to be an upfront cost involved. Each project will require an investment of your time and energy if you want to produce a persuasive case study that demonstrates the benefits your company provides. 

But if that cost allows you to develop a bank of compelling and effective case studies that convert potential buyers into customers, the investment should seem very worthwhile.

What experiences have you had working with an outside copywriter on your case studies? Do you have any other questions about how to partner effectively with a case study writer? Let us know in the comments below.