Case studies are not advertising. (And that’s good!)


Take a deep breath and say it with me:

Case studies are not advertising.

An advertisement tells people how great your business is. Case studies show people how great your business is. It’s a very big difference.

Still not convinced? I don’t blame you. There’s a special sort of fear inherent in doing a case study: “What if our customer says something bad about us? What if it makes us look like schmoes? What if it reveals something our competitors can use against us?” Every business is concerned about what people think of them. Nobody wants bad press.

Advertisements are carefully crafted, precisely planned, and meticulously executed. They feel safe. We can review and edit and tweak to our hearts’ content, exercising total control over the entire process. Case studies are messy, challenging, and all-too-human for our comfort. They’re scary. They can reveal our missteps, not just our elegant pivots and twirls.

And that’s why they’re so powerful. Continue reading

Do you have the content your audience wants?


Here’s a story.

Back when I wrote for EContent magazine, I worked on a yearly feature called the EC100. It’s a rundown of the 100 most influential companies in digital content, complete with key info (location, size, chief executive, major products, etc). If you want a bird’s-eye view of the companies you should know about as a content professional, it’s a great place to start.

Part of my job was ensuring that all this info (and more) was correct. In fact, not just correct — confirmed via e-mail or phone by a named person at the company in question. We took it seriously, too. I spent many an hour e-mailing, calling, and otherwise nagging PR folk, marketing directors, and anyone else who would go on record to confirm. Continue reading