Are there any Christopher Nolan fans out there? If so, hold on tight, because I’m about to take you on the B2B Content Marketing version of “Inception” — the 2010 film, directed by Nolan, that explores the idea of extracting information from within pre-existing information from within (yet more) pre-existing information. Whew!

So, what does that have to do with content repurposing?

In a recent meeting with our founder, Jaclyn Schiff, an idea emerged: Why not use the PodReacher process on ourselves? Why not extract new content from our pre-existing content, using the very process we offer to our B2B customers?

Queue glass shattering.

In hindsight, it’s such an obvious strategy. One that has transformed our own marketing efforts, allowing us to push out new content at a faster pace while also reducing our internal marketing workload.

Since then, we’ve transformed blog posts into LinkedIn Live events (and back again).

Not only did it generate quick, quality content marketing assets for us, but it also became a learning experience. It gave us the experience of walking in our customers’ shoes and therefore provided new ways of talking about our business to prospects.

We were hooked. As a result, we asked the next logical question:

We’ve experienced the PodReacher process through our customers’ eyes. But what about our customers’ customers?

See what I mean when I say it gets “Inception-y”?

Taking A Closer Look at Case Studies

No B2B marketing operation is complete without robust case studies. As more clients turn to us to help them maximize their customer interviews, we’ve built out our offerings and even developed some resources to help our clients collect the information they need so that we can produce the highest quality pieces to help turn prospects into customers.

But what does it feel like to be on the receiving end of one of these projects? That’s what we wanted to explore next.

To tackle this experiment, we enlisted a friend of ours: Matt Bourn, founder of fivexfive. Fivexfive is a no-code automation consulting company that we hired to improve and increase efficiency in our behind-the-scenes workflow.

Here was our pitch:

We loved what you did for us and we think we’d make a great case study for your website. Let’s work together on that, documenting every step along the way. It will give us an end-to-end inside view of the PodReacher case study process and it’ll result in a case study that you can use for your own marketing purposes. 

Matt, always up for trying something new, was in.

How To Conduct Client Interviews for Case Studies

We sent him our Case Study Interview Cheat Sheet and scheduled a time for him to interview us.

Matt went through the same process we encourage all PodReacher clients follow when looking to develop a case study:

  • He reviewed our Case Study Cheat Sheet.
  • He prepped his interviewee (yours truly!) with a short but sweet email.
  • He hit record at the beginning of our interview, warmed up the conversation with five minutes of small talk and proceeded to ask tough, but open ended questions.
  • He also asked follow up questions to draw out additional information.
  • Finally, he sent the recording to PodReacher through the portal and let our team take the reins from there.

Seven days later, he had a draft of a case study waiting for him in his inbox. Voilà.

Here’s what Matt had to say about the experience:

“Having notes from [the cheat sheet] to help me outline what I wanted to uncover and what I wanted to highlight was very helpful. Being able to follow up with those additional questions expanded the conversation to reveal new, interesting benefits [of my services] … The final outcome surprised me — it’s so much more valuable than what I expected.”

4 Key Strategies To Optimize Your Customer Interviews

 

Not only was it fun to experience another angle of our process, but it was also illuminating.

Here are a few things I learned by being on the other side of this process that will help you conduct better interviews, resulting in stronger case studies and customer success stories:

1. The client you’re interviewing is probably nervous.

I know I was! Often the best person to talk to when collecting information for a case study isn’t someone who is used to being in the spotlight — and that was definitely the case here. Making time to answer questions and helping your customer loosen up will go a long way.

Remind your interviewee that the recording itself isn’t getting published, it’s just a tool used to collect information. If they say something that they don’t want included in the final piece, they can just say so! No need to be perfect.

2. A little bit of prep (but not too much) goes a long way.

Too much upfront information about the interview and you may overwhelm your customer. But not enough information may leave them feeling unprepared. Instead of providing a list of every question you plan to ask them, we suggest offering up some high level talking points you hope to cover.

3. Push for more information.

I can’t stress enough how often I realized I had more to say about a talking point after Matt asked me to “tell him more.” Sometimes we just need a gentle nudge to go deeper or expand on an idea to really draw out the gems.

As the interviewer, it’s important to push for more details, asking them to provide some examples or to explain the “why” behind a statement. I was amazed by how much more Matt drew out of me in the interview simply by encouraging me to keep talking.

4. End with an invitation to speak candidly.

Matt’s final question was my favorite: Is there anything else you’d like to share that I didn’t ask you about?

The question drew out not only something that was important to me, the customer, but also something that Matt didn’t even think to ask about. His work optimized our processes, which made room for us to focus on tasks that historically never made it off our to-do lists. When Matt and I debriefed about this experiment he shared how surprised he was by that. “It seems obvious,” he said, “but I’d never connected the dots that way with my customers about how time savings can become something even more important to my clients. It’s changed the way I talk about what I do on sales calls.”

The Case Study Consensus?

Case studies can help accelerate decision-making in the buying process — they’re an integral part of any B2B marketing strategy. The best part is, so long as you have a few happy customers and are able to commit to a bit of preparation, they’re not that hard to put together.

Ready to start collecting your own customer interviews? Get started with our Case Study Interview Cheat Sheet.


Kira Hinkle is the Managing Editor for PodReacher. Her experience as a classroom teacher has informed her philosophy as a writer and editor: Words matter. When she’s not thinking about the best ways to repurpose recordings, she’s making music with her rambunctious toddler and advocating for the Down syndrome community.