If you saw a freelance writing job ad like this, you’d probably look at it. But, you’d probably bypass it, thinking it was some kind of scam. But, it’s not. Welcome to the world of case studies.
What is a Case Study?
A case study is really an elongated client testimonial. They are frequently referred to as success stories. What makes case studies different from normal testimonials is how they’re presented. They’re written in a semi in-depth, journalistic style.
Case studies can vary in length, but they are usually 3-4 pages; 1,500-2,000 words. They consist of 3-4 parts, depending on the layout you use. The one I like is the following. Note: New Media Words, my new SEO writing company, is the firm profiled in the following faux case study.
Part I: Company Profile. This is where you’d write the client profile, eg, type of business. Remember, case studies are short, so you don’t need a lot of info.
Example: New Media Words is an SEO writing and internet marketing outsource firm.
The company partners with web design firms, advertising agencies, internet marketing firms, and other new media enterprises to provide affordable SEO writing, social media marketing and internet marketing solutions to their clients.
Part II: Problem. Here is where you’d list the problem that the client product/service solved.
Example: XYZ Widget Company's problem was how to drive traffic to its new website. It had recently been redesigned with an eye towards increasing online sales.
Part III: Solution. This is the proposed solution.
Example: New Media Words’ solution was three-fold.
i) The first was an in-depth consultation. The purpose of the consultation was two-fold: (a) to gather all the necessary information to provide effective short- and long-term internet marketing solutions; and (b) to assist clients in gaining a better understanding of how online marketing works, and the results to expect.
ii) The second part of the solution was to implement a short-term plan of action: A social media marketing campaign was recommended to start gaining some immediate web traffic.
iii) The third part of the solution was to implement a long-term plan of action. An ongoing article marketing campaign was recommended to sustain – and continually grow – web traffic.
Part IV: Results Achieved. This is where you spell out how using the company’s product/service helped their customer. This is the real “selling portion” of the case study. It’s where the company gets to shine.
Example: During the first 90 days, XYZ Widget Company’s tripled its web traffic. As a result, online sales increased by 22% -- more than 10% over XYZ Widget Company's projections.
To gain the most traction from the social media marketing campaign, New Media Words authored an industry report, which went viral and accounted for the bulk of this traffic.
The report continues to generate buzz, and XYZ Widget Company has decided to have New Media Words write this report every year. This allows XYZ to set itself up as an industry authority, giving it a competitive edge over its competition. The report will be a free giveaway every year.
After six months, XYZ Widget Company had achieved front-page Google results for three of its most profitable keyword phrases, all due to the aggressive article marketing campaign implemented by New Media Words. After six months, online sales had increased by 37%.
John Doe, the marketing manager said of New Media Words:
We didn’t know a lot about internet marketing. Most of our marketing efforts have been concentrated offline. But luckily the New Media Words team did. Their command of online marketing strategies like social media marketing and SEO article writing achieved results we didn’t expect to see for two years. They did it in six months. We couldn’t be more thrilled!
And that, people, is the power of a case study. After reading that, wouldn’t you want to hire New Media Words to handle your online marketing needs?
The 3 Elements of a Good Case Study
A case study is only as good as the information presented. You need three elements primarily, ie:
a) You have to present the problem in a way that others can relate to. Eg, “Yeah, how do you drive traffic to a newly designed website if you know very little about online marketing?”
b) You must present concrete solutions. This means explaining how the solution was approached (eg, New Media Words’ three-pronged attack). You want potential clients to think, “Wow, now I see why they chose to go that route. Maybe they can help me put together an online marketing strategy for my business.”
c) You must provide real, tangible results: This means using numbers, (eg, increased online sales by 37%, tripled web traffic in 90 days). This not only makes it believable, it starts client minds to churning with thoughts like, “If they can do that for that business, even if they only achieved half the results for mine, I’d be happy. Let me give them a call.”
How Much Should Freelance Writers Charge to Write Case Studies?
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, case studies start at a low of $1,500, and can go on up to $20,000 or $30,000. Most fall in the $1,500 to $5,000 range.
At New Media Words, we charge $750. Why less? Because most of our clients are online businesses. Hence, they tend to want short, sweet case studies that don’t require as much interviewing and research as a traditional, offline business for example.
The Rest of the Week: That's it for this week's posts. Enjoy the following old favorite. I wrote it a couple of years ago, and it's one of the most popular articles I've ever written: The Freelance Writer's Thanksgiving Prayer.
To my American counterparts, here's to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. To my friends in the rest of the world, wish us Americans good luck as we try to squeeze back into our pre-Thanksgiving Levi's!
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