The “Storytelling” Niche for Barefoot Writers

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“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

I love this quote from Rudyard Kipling, because it rings true for virtually everything we read, listen to, or watch on television.

Wherever a good story is involved, we’re more likely to enjoy what we’re hearing or reading, and (importantly), we’re much more likely to remember it.

That’s why the business world is so big on stories. Because when it comes to attracting new customers and letting those customers know about the quality of their products or services, stories rank among the most effective types of communication.

So if you enjoy writing stories, but you want to get paid significantly well to do so (as much as $200 to $300 an hour), you’ll love this month’s Barefoot Writing Opportunity on case studies…

Make a Steady Income Just by Sharing Your Client’s Stories

A case study is basically a “success story” about a company’s product or service. Think of it like a longer, professionally-written testimonial or a “customer review” presented and crafted as a story.

But a case study does more than just talk about the product or service. Typically, it involves taking a problem that a customer might be having and then presenting the product or service as the key to solving that problem.

Instead of just saying, “We can solve your problem,” the case study presents the piece as a “before and after” story.

Case studies are typically short — just one or two pages. Putting one together usually just requires an interview to get the facts, then some time spent massaging out the details into a simple-to-follow formula.

The B2B world is one of the biggest sources for case study writing projects. And because B2B copy is mainly educational, case studies tend to be as well. Overall, they’re meant to entertain and provide the reader with a solution to their problem — not to sell.

The Power of Case Studies

To understand just how powerful case studies can be, imagine that you’re a purchasing manager at a manufacturing company …

Last week, one of your floor managers stopped by your office to voice concern about the quality of the supplies you purchased.

You decide to see if there are better products for what you need. While you’re reading up on options, you come across a compelling story. It’s about a company similar to yours … and they had a similar problem.

At the end of the story, they find the solution to their problem …

That solution was “ABC Material Supplies” — a company with great quality supplies at a better price than what they were paying!

At this point, you’re likely to give “ABC Material Supplies” a call to find out how they can help you.

Even if you only get a quote, you’ve become a lead in their sales process.

What just happened?

You had a problem. You were presented with a compelling story — also known as a “case study,” and you found the solution to your problem.

“ABC Material Supplies” (the company behind the story) captured your attention and generated a lead.

If you go on to become a repeat customer — which you surely will, if their claims are true — their case study was well worth the investment.

But, think of all the other purchasing managers with the same issue …
 
They are also likely to find the case study from “ABC Material Supplies” and become a customer.

That’s the power of a good case study! More leads, more customers, more sales!

So … what can you expect to make when you write a case study?

The Upside of Case Studies: Excellent Pay!

Because case studies help influence potential customers’ beliefs and decisions, they are very valuable to clients.

How valuable?

Well, let’s take a look at Ed Gandia’s experience with case studies to find out …

Ed is a successful B2B copywriter. One of his specialties is writing case studies for his clients.

Ed typically charges — and gets paid — $1,500-$2,000 per case study. With his storytelling formula (which I’ll share with you in just a moment), he can easily complete each case study in just 5-7 hours …

When you break that down, Ed is pulling in $200-$300 dollars per hour … every time he helps a company tell their story!

Ed is able to make so much with case studies because case studies play a huge role in a company’s sales process. Also, since clients need a lot of these stories, case studies are a reliable way to create a predictable income as a Barefoot Writer.

The Case Study Formula

The process for writing a winning case study is as easy as following a basic template. In other words, they follow a proven formula that doesn’t change very much. Here it is:  

1. Client Background

First, you introduce the client.

This could include their location, what they manufacture or supply, high-profile client names, or how long they’ve been in business. This information will vary depending on the target audience and the problem you’re solving.

2. The Challenge

Next, introduce the problem the client was facing. The best case studies stick to just one problem at a time. (If your client has multiple solutions, you can propose multiple case studies — and further increase your rate.)

The “challenge” in a case study is essentially the “conflict” of the plot. This is what makes readers relate to the case study. The conflict stirs their emotions.

By the time you finish this part, your reader will be eager for a solution …

3. The Solution

Now it’s time to introduce the solution to the problem — which is your client’s product or service.

Keep in mind that case studies are stories. If there are details of the journey the client took to find the solution, include them. It makes the solution more desirable!  

“After all, the solution didn’t just fall from the sky. There was work involved in finding the right product or service,” as Ed says.

Also, don’t forget: a case study is NOT a sales letter.

Your job as a case study writer is to educate and teach the reader what the product is, how it works, the problems it solves, and why it’s better.

4. The Results

Finally, explain the results of the client finding the solution. In other words, what did the solution deliver? Ideally, it didn’t just fix the problem — it fixed it in a BIG way!

Maybe the solution made them “four times more profitable” or maybe it “allowed them to operate with 10% fewer employees” (saving money and management time).

The case study should focus on the results that are both specific and relevant to the target audience. Include tangible information and numbers because providing strong proof makes the case study more effective.

For instance, instead of saying “Product X saved Company Y money on every transaction” …

Present the information as specifically as possible:

“Product X saved Company Y $0.55 cents per every transaction.”

But, don’t stop there … if they average 124,567 transactions a month, say so.

That’s over $68,000 per month — an important figure that will make the case study work better. In fact, that result could be featured in the headline!

Pretty simple formula, right? Let’s recap:

  1. Share the client’s background.
  2. Explain the challenge they faced.
  3. Expose the solution they found.
  4. Reveal the results of the solution.

Sounds simple enough, but that doesn’t mean writing case studies is for every Barefoot Writer …

Are Case Studies Right for You?

To help you decide if writing case studies is something you would enjoy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you rather tackle shorter writing projects over lengthy sales letters or technical white papers?
  • Is completing a project and moving on to a new one enjoyable and exciting to you?
  • Can you perform a simple phone interview to gather information?
  • Does finding a unique benefit in a customer story — and highlighting it — sound like something you could do?

If you said “yes” to one or more of these, writing case studies — and the $200-$300/hour income they provide — is likely a good fit for you.

The quickest way to get up and running as a case study writer is to actually write a case study …

How to Get Started

1. Gather your facts

A case study involving an experience you had with one of your clients — or a previous employer — is a great way to show prospective clients the impact you can have on their business. Plus, you’ll show off your writing skills at the same time.

Here’s how an example case study for a case study writer might look:

  1. Share the client’s background — “Before I worked with Company A, they were spending $1,500 per month on Facebook Advertising and generating just 15 leads per month.”
  2. Explain the challenge they faced — “People were clicking on their ads, but leaving their site without opting in to their list.”
  3. Expose the solution they found — “I helped them create a Case Study about their service to capture attention and get more leads.”
  4. Reveal the results of the solution — “Now they are generating 398 leads per month from Facebook Advertising. Because each lead is worth an average of $58, Company A is now profiting $21,584 per month!”

This is just a brief outline, but see how a sample case study can serve as a marketing tool for your own case study services?

2. Get it reviewed

Once your case study is finished, reach out to a fellow writer for feedback. Then, incorporate the edits and put the final touches on your case study.

3. Market your new service

Reach out to potential clients using all the marketing lessons you’ve learned from past issues of Barefoot Writer. You could connect with them via email, social media, direct mail, or even a phone call.

Once you secure a few clients, you’ll likely have all the work you can handle. As Ed Gandia says:

“Once you become your clients’ ‘go-to’ case study writer, they won’t want to work with anyone else. And you’ll often be the first person they approach about other lucrative projects such as white papers, articles for trade journals, web copy, and many others. It’s one of the best ways to get in the door with a client … and keep them for the long-run.”

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4 Comments

  1. Ed:

    I think it would be very beneficial to put one of your finished products out for someone like me to read. You know like, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” I could learn a lot from reading “your solution story.”

    Best,

    Larry Rodammer

  2. Great article, Rebecca!

    I’m bolstering Larry’s request as to adding a “case study” on the “case study”- it would be most beneficial to check one out.

    I’ve written similar pieces for free before, but think a move towards an income-based approach looks promising.

    Thanks!

  3. I would lhave be to read a finished case study to understand exactly what it is and why it’s so necessary for a business. Is there one you’ve done we could google, maybe?

  4. Jeya Carmichael Carmichael on

    Thank-you, this was a great article which explained case study articles to where I understood it well. Now I’ll have to write a sample to learn, get feedback, and grow. Thanks!

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