One of the most important materials you should have ready to go when you’re pitching brand partners is a case study (or several case studies). Case studies should highlight your past work for clients to give your prospect an idea of what kind of work you do and what kinds of results they can expect from you.
A case study is not a promise that you’ll replicate the exact same results for your new client. Every campaign and every brand and every product will be its own unique experience. That said, case studies should be representative of the work you do so that results you deliver for a new partner are on par (or better) with those you presented.
In this guide, we’ll go through how to go about creating case studies, no matter where you’re at in your influencer career, to help you build more partnerships and close sales faster.
Don’t have the material to create a case study, yet?
Ah the good ol’ chicken or egg situation. How do you get a job without experience? How do you make a case study without a campaign under your belt?
This is when it makes sense to work for product, and to over perform like you never have before, to create content to put into a case study.
Speaking from experience here: we have done SO much work for free I’ve lost track. But I wouldn’t change any of it!
If you’re looking to build experience, here’s a great campaign to jump in on.
Crafting your case study
Just like your media kit or your resume, your case study should be tailored to highlight the best parts of your work. If you drove 100 entries for a giveaway, show that! If your sponsored IG post had a 10% engagement rate, lead with that!
Follow these easy steps to build your first case study.
Step 1: Collect your data
Look back at the content you produced for a partner and:
- Screenshot your work, showing # of views / likes / comments if possible.
- Write down the # of engagements. Depending on the type of content, this could include: UMV, comments, shares, likes, views, repins, etc. write down every number relevant to this particular content.
- If it was an Instagram campaign: calculate your engagement rate. Here’s how.
Step 2: Compare your data to the goals for this content
In general, you’ll probably want to lead with the strongest (highest) number(s). That said, it bears looking back at the goals for a campaign and making sure what you’re reporting reflects success on that campaign.
For example, if the goal was to create custom recipes for your client’s website, the most important numbers might be the number of times it was favorited or pinned, not how many likes you got on your IG post.
Or, if you did an Instagram takeover, it may make sense to highlight how many new followers the brand acquired that day, or what the overall engagement rate was during your takeover, even if your personal post announcing your takeover had higher numbers.
As always, use your best judgment. A great case study is a win-win kind of document, and will cast both your work and the overall campaign in the best light possible.
Step 3: Put it all together
There are two formats of case studies we use: a simple, bullet-pointed text option that we’ll send over in an email, and a beautiful, formatted one we’ll include in proposals or for more formal requests.
For the bullet points, here’s an example you can follow (of course update numbers, content, and links!).
Case study: XX Brand
Sponsored blog post and Instagram highlights reel to support new product launch.
- 1.8k unique visitors, 25 comments, 13 shares on blog post
- 10 Instagram stories with combined 500 views
This digestible, concise version is so easy to quickly send over in an email. Your prospect doesn’t have to open attachments or wade through tons of data.
For a pretty formatted version of your case study, we recommend using a template on Canva. We find infographic or presentation designs lend themselves best to case studies.
Here’s a sample template you can use. If you want to make big changes, please duplicate so others can use it, too!
Picking the perfect case study
Now that you’ve made your case study, it’s all about deploying it strategically.
A perfect case study would check all these boxes:
- Show stellar results (comments, likes, views, discount code uses, giveaway entries, whatever)
- Be a similar type of campaign to the one you’re pitching. A blog giveaway is very different from a custom recipe, which is very different from a live video workout. For the numbers to be representative, you’re ideally comparing apples to apples.
- Feature a related or similar product that is not a direct competitor.
- Feature a brand that is of a similar ethos to the brand you’re pitching. For example, an local organic fruit farm might not find a case study from a global food producer like Monsanto compelling, and vice versa. But the fruit farm might be moved by your work for the local mom & pop yogurt company, and Monsanto might be impressed by your work for Nestle.
- If you don’t have a similar / related brand or product to feature, pick a well-known or respected brand. If nothing else, rely on name recognition to help impress your prospect.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that any case study is going to check all those boxes.
That’s ok; it’s exceedingly rare to have the perfect case study in your pocket. Just make do with the best you got: pick the case study that seems to best fit the brand or campaign you are pitching. The bullets above are listed loosely in order of importance, but of course every situation is different.
And if you only have one case study, well, then, your decision is easy!
Keeping your case studies fresh
Everything about influencer marketing is evolving, from campaign types to platform preferences to new algorithms. That means your case studies can look dated quickly, or risk promising results that a social platform just won’t let you achieve anymore. (Anyone remember back when Facebook page content reliably showed up in newsfeeds? I don’t know about you, but our page analytics from a few years back way outperform our current analytics, even though our audience size is significantly bigger now).
Anyway, here’s how to keep it fresh without having to scramble every time a partner asks for a case study:
- After every single partner campaign you finish or content you create, make yourself a new case study. You should have a template, so it’s really very easy: just plop the new numbers in your template.
That’s it. Easy, right? That way it’s ready to go whenever you might need it, and you won’t have to spin your wheels digging up old posts and numbers. The content is fresh in your mind and in your feed so it’s easy to find and track.
Of course, if the campaign wasn’t your strongest, let it go, and turn your attention to the next one.
As always, let us know what we missed, and/or share how you approach case studies so we can all learn from each other.
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