Most marketing communications strategies require both thought leadership and credibility materials. To that end they produce opinion articles and blogs, case studies and testimonials. But there is one document that combines both thought leadership and credibility – the evangelical case study, says Paul Ayling, MD of Writing Machine.
Human beings are a vain bunch. What we most like to hear – whether it’s in our personal or professional lives – is something about ourselves. If you want to grab someone’s attention at a noisy party, don’t just shout ‘hello’ but bellow their name. In just the same way, when marketers need to communicate with someone, the journey begins by grabbing their attention.
That’s what we call ‘evangelical marketing’. Evangelists who stand on a box with a megaphone face the same issue. They’re trying to talk to people passing them by, but until they start talking less about their cause and more about the people walking past, they don’t get any takers. A good evangelist can get people to stop and listen.
An ‘evangelical case study’ – a term that we created here at Writing Machine – is used to grab a reader’s attention in the same way as that person standing on the box. The reader doesn’t necessarily know anything about you or your company. They aren’t going to be interested if you start talking about yourself, your products, or your existing clients. So in order to grab their attention, you need to talk about them and their problems; shout their name at the party, and then maybe they will start to listen to what you have to say.
An evangelical case study functions as both a thought leadership piece and a piece of credibility material. You begin by writing an opinion piece, which offers something of real value to your readers, and then halfway through you illustrate the thought leadership with a real life example taken from one of your clients. We recently helped a large security company to create an evangelical case study that focused on the wider problems associated with replacing old wiring in very large apartment blocks in South East Asia. Only half way through the article did we bring in their own client and the solution they had created for them. The important thing was still the relatable problem of replacing old wiring, and the evidence their client provided supported what they were saying.
Grab yourself a bargain
Case studies on their own are an important part of your marketing strategy, but they are sometimes not the most exciting or interesting material to read. In terms of grabbing attention and drawing in readers, case studies can lack sparkle. Evangelical case studies, on the other hand, are hard working documents that do the usual case study job of providing credibility for your company, but also demonstrate your thought leadership in an interesting and relatable way.
The good news is that there are many opportunities in most communications strategies to deploy them with great effect. They fit right into relationship marketing campaigns such as newsletters, as well as inbound marketing campaigns designed to drive traffic to your site. And because the same content can be used multiple times in different channels, they’re not only powerful campaign tools – they’re also great value for money.