"The Ten Biggest Mistakes Case Study Writers Make" by Casey Hibbard

Before you write case studies for your wealth management or financial planning business, read “The Ten Biggest Mistakes Case Study Writers Make” by Casey Hibbard (registration required). You can learn from her tips, even though her article is geared to professionals writing for technology companies.

“Ignoring the Audience,” Hibbard’s number one “don’t,” is also the most common mistake that financial advisors–and all business people–make when they write. Gear your case study to the issues that most concern your potential clients.

“#5 Not Digging for Results Data” is another mistake. A case study typically includes a problem, a solution, and results. A case study saying the client “saved $1 million in taxes” will be more powerful than a similar case study that doesn’t quantify the results.

“#9 Not Catering to Readers or Skimmers” afflicts many of the marketing materials I read. People have short attention spans. So you’ve got to cater to skimmers in addition to the folks who’ll plow through every word you write. As Hibbard says, you can make your writing easier to scan using:

  • A headline that conveys “your number one idea”
  • Subheads that convey your main points
  • Pull quotes that highlight engaging customer quotes
  • Sidebar summaries

A case study is a great way to show that you’ve solved problems for people like your prospective client. However, step carefully around investment management issues. Remember the SEC’s prohibition on testimonials for registered investment advisors.