Good storytelling transports you to a place in time that evokes some kind of feeling. Tender was famously written by Damon Albarn at the time of his long-term relationship break up from Justine Frischmann. It’s raw because it was written when it happened, and the heartbreak sung through the lyrics being real is what makes it more emotive.
Part of evidencing a successful business is in the case studies you have to showcase your work. These stories need to be similarly authentic, have a human touch, reading them should feel like walking around in the customer’s shoes in your relationship with them. Rather than stirring feelings of heartache though, we’re looking for feelings of pure joy!
The features of a common case study include: introducing the scenario, setting out your role, a short / long description of the project and its outcomes, usually boosted by a picture to help tell the story, and a testimonial from the customer.
Whilst your case studies will follow a consistent set of features in format, you need to ditch, ruthlessly ditch, the features in your copy and go for benefits-led wording instead. The quickest way to identify these benefits is to think about the relationship you have and answer this one question: how did you make your customer’s life easier?
Working out the answer to this question will be what to frame your story around: you might have made them money, you might have saved them money or you might have saved them time…perhaps you introduced them to something or someone new, maybe you gave them sound professional advice or a competitive advantage, you might have reduced their stress, you might have been a pleasure to work with, a collaborative lynchpin in a challenging team…There are so many ways working with you might have been a valuable, relationship-affirming experience. This is the content heart.
Just like relationships, all projects have challenges or pressure points, and that’s also an important part of the story not to be glossed over. Explaining challenges and how you overcame them shows resilience, and that you can see through difficult times as well as easy ones in the pursuit of shared project success.
Ending every project you do with a case study write-up is, therefore, a good work habit to live by. Some will be used for marketing and some won’t, but they will form a permanent record of what you did when you did it for your very own case study bank – a handy resource to evidence future projects or meetings and showcase depth and breadth of skills.
Case studies are a core component of your content marketing strategy and, written right first time, can be used flexibly in multiple formats – print, presentations, web, videos etc.
Your project work stories make up your personal portfolio too, and will stand the test of your time, or maybe beyond, in the same way this touchingly tender song has lived 20 years beyond the relationship it was first written about.
What are the case studies you use over and over again to demonstrate your skills and experience? What story do they tell about how you made your customer’s life easier?
Image copyright: Becky Jones, graffiti art, Porto.
Song credit: Blur. Watch the music video here.