«Return to Blog List Copywriters: Homework Makes You a Better Case Study Writer


Today’s the first day back to school where I live. Neighborhood kids are donning their new backpacks, books and shoes.

Homework isn’t just for school kids. Now’s the perfect time to talk about the studying you have to do as a case study copywriter.

Say you’ve just signed a new client for case studies. How do you get started?

By being studious. Don’t just jump into the actual case study, no matter how much of an urgency there is for that story.

If you don’t fully understand your new client’s products and services, you’ll be hard-pressed to interview, understand and write well. The risk? Your story may not deliver maximum sales potential.

Simply said, if you know your client’s solutions well, you’ll be a more valuable asset.

Here’s the step-by-step on how to study a new client’s products and services:

1.  Ask your client which products and services will be featured in the case study(ies).

2.  Does the client have current, available marketing materials on these solutions?

3.  Ask about product datasheets, brochures, press releases, white papers, existing case studies, demos, videos and any other materials.

4.  Find out where these materials reside.

5.  Spend 1-2 hours reviewing available information.

6.  Lifesaver! Look up terms and acronyms you don’t know in search engines or www.Wikipedia.org.

7.  Create a “Cheat Sheet” for yourself of terms and key messages. (If your client ever goes a while without doing case studies, and picks back up, consider this Cheat Sheet your way to refresh your memory on solutions.)

8.  As you study, look for answers to questions such as…

  • How does the company refer to its products and services? What product names and industry terms does it use?
  • What do the featured solutions do?
  • Who uses them?
  • When?
  • What problems do they solve?
  • What are the main business benefits that users can expect?

9.  Write down the product/service questions you have for your client, and don’t be afraid to ask them!

10.  Also as you study, start a draft of your customer interview questions for these solutions.

Never forget to stop and do your homework. You’ll make the grade much faster with your new client.

What else is in your ramp-up process with new clients?

7 Responses to Copywriters: Homework Makes You a Better Case Study Writer

  1. Janice King says:

    For finding the definitions of acronyms, I like http://www.acronymfinder.com.

  2. Casey Hibbard says:

    Hi Janice,

    Excellent tip! I’ll add that to my toolbox.


  3. Ryan Malone says:

    Hi Casey,

    I’ve always found that I can get 99% of this information with a solid interview or two. That way I capture the voice much more effectively.

    Ryan Malone
    SmartBug Media
    An inbound marketing agency and Hubspot Partner

    Free reports:
    Elder Care Marketing Industry Report
    7 Tactics to Boosting White Paper Performance

  4. Hi Janice – once thing that always works well is to find out a bit more about the personality of the person you will be interviewing – find out what style of questioning works well for them. And always give the interview a bit of a personal twist: “What were your goals”, “What was the biggest challenge for you”, “What gives you most satisfaction about the results.” It usually results in more powerful quotations.

    In addition, don’t be afraid to ask what went wrong during the project. Explaining how an issue was identified and then resolved gives the piece a lot more credibility.

  5. Casey Hibbard says:

    Hi Ryan, interviews are great too. I like to mix the background study and interviewing someone at the company about the product/service so I am familiar with how they talk about their solutions in other materials.

    Hi Peter, definitely, once you get past the product/service study above, great next steps are learning background on the customers to be featured, and getting insight from marketers about key messaging, etc.

    Thanks for your valuable input!

  6. Hi Casey,

    I like this article very much. Next year, I will start offering case studies to my clients and prospects. Having no previous case study portfolio, this article comes in handy because it shows me exactly how I will approach my first project. I would love for you to write an article instructing copy writers who are new to case studies about where to find prospects. Thanks for your guidance.

  7. Casey Hibbard says:


    Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad this helps. Good suggestion about an article on finding prospects!



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