Case Studies: Respecting the Client Interviewee

Case studies (also called success stories) are a great way to demonstrate your expertise to future clients. They put testimonials in context, explaining your business and showing exactly why clients say such nice things about your product or service.

If you want strong case studies, then you need cooperation from your former clients, most of whom are glad to help. But it pays to reassure clients in the following ways:

  • Let them know that they will be able to review the case study before it is published, to make sure they are happy with the way they and their company are portrayed. You also want to give them an opportunity to edit any words they feel uncomfortable with, once they see them in print.
  • Let clients know that your intent is to celebrate them and their company as much as your own. Your case study will say, “Here is someone who was smart enough to know they needed help, and we were glad to provide it.”
  • Before you use client statements in your case studies, edit them for grammar. When we speak, we are likely to wander from the main point or repeat ourselves or enter meaningless bridge words like “actually.” Without changing the meaning of what clients are saying, make sure they come across as fluent and knowledgeable.
  • Make sure you respect the client’s confidentiality. Many nonprofits help people who would be ashamed, bullied or even endangered if their involvement with the nonprofit became known through a case study. Sometimes a professional client will have moved on from the company where you originally worked together. If you are asking for their story, give them the opportunity to request a pseudonym or to be referred to by only first name or company position (“a vice president in a travel company”).

When you give a face to your clients by telling their story–and your own–you create a connection with future clients. The line between satisfying the needs of your organization and satisfying the needs of the client you are interviewing can be a thin one. Let TWP help you find the right balance in your case study or success story.

Six Truths about Freelance Writers

Among freelance writers, the following truths are self-evident. We like:

Freelance Truth #1. Honesty. You are working with a professional writer. Most of the time, people are happy with my first draft but I never want them to walk away unhappy because they failed to point out something I could correct. Tear my work apart, criticize and question it but please be honest–I can take it.

Freelance Truth #2. Freelancing. True freelancers won’t be taking a job offer and abandoning you mid-project. I’ve been freelancing for 16 years. I’ve experienced the corporate world and I truly like freelancing better. I enjoy my clients and the interesting projects they involve me in whether websites, case studies, blog posts, newsletters, proposals or other marketing collateral.

Freelance Truth #3. Returning clients. Your needs for a professional writer may be intermittent; that’s fine. In fact, I am used to completing a project for clients, not hearing from them for 3 or 4 years and then getting a phone call or email when they have a new project. I keep my records for years, so I quickly come up to speed on the latest project.

Freelance Truth #4. Creativity and confidentiality. Freelance writers work with clients in every industry you can imagine and sometimes with clients in the exact same industry. We love the challenge of creating new content, and we always preserve confidentiality.

Freelance Truth #5. Referrals On behalf of every freelance writer everywhere, thank you for your referrals! Client referrals have broadened the reach of my company from my home base in Peterborough, New Hampshire, all the way to west to California, south to Arizona and Florida, North to Ohio and Vermont and even east to Europe. I’ve worked with sole-proprietors, small- to medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies in almost every B2B and B2C business you can think of.

Freelance Truth #6. Paychecks. Freelance does not mean “free.” We have to eat. Therefore, if I finish your project and you (or your accounting staff) hold up my check for three months, I am not only annoyed, I am hungry. Please: When a freelance writer invoices you for work you’ve approved, pay in a reasonable time. You probably expect the same courtesy from your customers.

Freelance Truth #7. Clear communication. Whether by phone or email, professional freelance writers keep clients informed about progress and help those clients stay on schedule with reminders about providing information or completing reviews. My technical background also means I value clear, concise content. So send me an email or phone me today. I’d love to hear from you about your project.