Please don’t judge me, but I love a sporting cliche. Here goes… when it comes to your client stories, it really is a ‘game of two halves’. The first half is creation. The second is distribution.
Too often, the investment in case studies and client stories is wasted because they’re treated just like any other piece of content. Businesses add them to their website and leave them to die a lingering death. If that sounds like you, you’re wasting your time and money. To get the real value from your stories and turn them from a cost to an investment, you need to do more with them.
If you’ve got a written client story, here are some suggestions to make the most of your efforts and to make it fly.
1. Create a video version
Every year seems to be the ‘year of video’, but there’s no denying the power of video, so it’s definitely something to consider. When it comes to video, there are a lot of options to consider. You don’t need to have a huge budget, and, yes, you can do it yourself. Of course, if you have a budget to bring in a videographer, then that’s definitely the way to go.
You could interview your subject and tell the story in their own words. You could even do a short animation version. Don’t simply replicate the written version though, look to draw out the core elements. Keep the video version short and snappy.
2. Add it to a presentation/slide deck
Depending on your business, you might have a sales deck or presentation that you use as part of your sales process. If so, create a slide or two for the most relevant stories you want to tell. Make them high-level versions of the full case study. Stick to the core facts. Think of it as a trailer for the main movie.
When you illustrate a feature, function or some detail in your presentation look for opportunities to cement the point your making by adding a real-world story example. It’s a great way of bringing things to life. And, if you don’t have a presentation deck, create one that’s built entirely around your client stories.
3. Conversational Stories
Stories are more powerful when they’re told verbally. Get to know your stories so well that you can rattle them off at any time. The telling of the tale might be different each time and that’s OK, as long as the important elements are in place. Who was the client, what was their problem, what did you do and how was their situation changed as a result of working with you.
Having a bank of different stories up your sleeve gives you the opportunity to present the right story at the right time. Listen carefully and the person you’re having a conversation with will give you signals of exactly what is the right story for them.
4. Audio Version – Podcast of your stories
The idea of starting your own podcast might seem out of reach, but thanks to technology it’s never been easier or cheaper to create your very own radio show. You could create a ‘conversations with series’ where you interview your clients. Or, you can keep it simple and tell a short version of your work with a client in your own words.
And, even if the idea of starting your own podcast is daunting, there is another way. Seek out people within your industry that have a podcast and offer yourself up as a guest on their show. They have the audience, you have the charisma and some awesome stories to tell, it’s a great combination.
5. PDF Version
Creating a professional looking PDF version can serve many purposes. You can leave it with a prospective client, email it out or have it on your stand at a trade show. Creating a nicely designed version also helps make even the longest case study more readable. Hire someone to do it or use a tool like Canva.com if you want to do your own.
Personally, I like the idea of having the PDF as the short summary that invites more questions and follow-up. What you’re looking for from these is another human asking you to ‘tell me more about that.’
A reminder, you’re not everyone
If you’re like most people, you’ll have already dismissed some of the suggestions above. Don’t worry, I’m not offended, it’s human nature. But don’t let your own personal preferences cloud your decision-making process. In other words, remember – you’re not everyone. Have an appreciation that everyone has their own content preferences, some prefer video, some like to read, others like to listen.
In an ideal world, we’d do everything. That way, our client stories have the best chance of being consumed by more people. That can feel overwhelming, so make a judgement based on your knowledge of your industry and your customers to start with one of the ideas I’ve shared. Which one is right for your customers? Start there.
Creating a story culture
I’ve shared five ways for you to reuse your client stories, hopefully, it’s sparked some ideas for you. Here’s what I really want, I want you to embed stories into the culture of your business. I want you to see them less as a ‘thing we have’ and more as a ‘way we communicate’.
Your stories can be your greatest assets but simply throwing them up on your site isn’t enough. Work them hard, get them out there and make sure that you spend as much effort sharing them as you did creating them.