Turning case studies into blog posts

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One element of a productive content strategy is effectively repurposing your messaging on various platforms. After all, you only have so many stories and only so much expertise, so the trick is to find multiple ways and places where you can tell those stories. That’s what helps keep the content pipeline filled on all fronts.

At Hodges, those fronts run the gamut – from our monthly e-newsletter (Press Box) to our video podcast (Teaming Up) to the Gong Blog, all of which help populate our various social channels. We integrate content across these platforms in ways that amplify our key messages and showcase our areas of expertise.

Another critical component, of course, is our website. It’s the front door for folks who want to learn more about us, and so we cover the various elements of our core competencies and our experience. Analytics tell us that some of the most popular pages on the site are the array of case studies. Through case studies, the rules are a bit different than for other platforms. We have greater liberties to brag a bit on some of the notable work we have done for clients over the years, and we like to talk about them in a problem-solution context. It’s a way to engage prospective clients who may be confronting similar challenges.

When it comes to repurposing content, however, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can simply wave your Harry Potter wand over a case study and – expecto patronum – turn it into a viable blog. Different platforms call for different approaches. Here’s what I mean:

Format

A case study is, in effect, a story, though not really told in traditional storytelling format. For example, we like to segment our case studies into problem-solution scenarios in which we lay out the client problem, then introduce the strategy we employed, explain why and wrap up with the results, including lots of metrics and examples, where appropriate. That format doesn’t necessarily work for a blog where our format preference is to be more conversational and lay out the case not so much in segments but as one broad narrative.

Tone

As I mentioned above, case studies on your website give you the latitude to do some well-earned back-patting. But puffing out your chest on blogs that will reside on social platforms doesn’t sit well with digital audiences. There’s a subtle difference between laying out the scenario in ways that showcase your smarts and telling the story of your success by virtue of the facts alone. I like to think of blogs as a place to celebrate your client’s success, and the implication is that your work helped achieve it.  And speaking of tone, my own view is that blogs give you a chance to be a bit witty and even irreverent as a means of making the topic more interesting and readable.

Context

Case studies focus singularly on one specific experience, whereas the best blogs provide a broader context to the point you are making.  In your blog, you might want to introduce what is happening in the industry as a whole, including related trends. And you could introduce other relevant experiences with other clients or even observations related to other companies altogether. All of that are elements of effective storytelling.

Results

When it comes to bragging about results in your case studies, the sky is pretty much the limit. There’s room for providing an array of metrics as well as a litany of other results, media placements for example. You can list them out in columns if you like and include hyperlinks. But with blogs, you need to be more selective. Yes, include the appropriate analytics that underscore the success, but my own sense is that you’ll want to limit the placement links to no more than three, enough to give readers a flavor of the kinds of stories that you generated. 

What other rules of thumb would you suggest when turning a case study into a blog? 

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Josh Dare

Josh’s career in communications spans more than four decades. In addition to providing strategic counsel and crisis communications direction to clients, he is the resident Writer-In-Chief, regularly writing op-eds and bylines on behalf of clients that have been published in The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Huffington Post, among others.

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