The future is bright for customer storytellers. However, copywriters who want to be successful in customer story writing need to have a few specific traits. Let’s discover if you would make a good customer storyteller.
Zapier, the well-known workplace automation platform connecting 900+ apps, recently published a vacancy for customer storyteller. In the job ad, the SaaS automation company described the position as ‘someone who’s eager to tell the stories of how Zapier customers use workflow automation to do more with their time.’
Although I’m not looking for a new job right now, the vacancy immediately caught my eye. Customer storyteller: how cool a job title is that.
But in spite of the fancy title, Zapier was not after something completely new. Customer storytelling has been kind of a big deal in B2B marketing for many years. B2B businesses have always told stories of how their customers use their products, because they know that it’s the only unique thing that separates them from the competition.
So, what should a successful customer storyteller look like according to Zapier? You’ll find the answer below. And I threw a bit of my own ideas in the mix as well.
Five traits of a successful customer storyteller
#1 Writing is a pleasure.
A customer storyteller is someone who loves to write. It’s as simple as that. It’s also someone who always likes to sharpen his/her writing skill. You need to understand the basics of storytelling, you need to know what it means to tell a vivid story. And you need to have a knack for making complex things sound simple.
#2 You are curious.
Whether you are writing about a company that makes door handles or one that develops accounting software, you should always be curious about how the business works. If you want to write business stories, you need a healthy dose of curiosity.
You also need to know how to obtain the information you need. Interviewing is one of the hardest parts of the customer story writing process. It’s important to ask the right questions and to listen to the answers to turn them into inspiring pieces.
You have to love research. Who is the customer you are writing about? Who are the competitors? What is the company’s USP? In addition to customer interviews, you will need to delve into web research, look at social media, and read whatever you need to read to get background information on the story you are writing.
#3 You love to work with people.
Relationship-building and working with people is important to obtain a good story. You will need to reach out to customers, hold live interviews, and follow-up persistently in order to get the best narrative possible.
#4 You are persistent.
Persistence is an important trait of the customer storyteller. Anyone who has ever worked on a story together with a customer knows how difficult it can be to get a final story sign-off. Usually, working on a case study or success story is not on a customer’s priority list. Sometimes, obtaining final approval takes weeks or months. So, it’s crucial to keep your cool and be politely persistent.
Persistence is also needed during customer interviews. Especially when you are getting vague answers to your questions or when you need measurable data to back your story up, you may need to be persistent in probing your customer for concrete numbers.
#5 You love project management.
Research, customer interviews, story sign-off, all the while keeping an eye on your deadlines… Customer story writing means keeping different plates spinning. It gets even more challenging when there are multiple customers or interviewees involved in one story. The more people involved, the more you will need to play out your project management skills.
You can be a customer storyteller too.
Customer stories, case studies, success stories, testimonials… Whatever you like to call them, customer storytelling is still BIG in B2B marketing.
Which is cool of course, because it means there’s more work for copywriters like me and you.
The thing is, case study writing is no rocket science. And yet, many copywriters still struggle with the most basic skills you need to make an inspiring customer story:
- Applying storytelling techniques to make a story more compelling
- Interacting with clients
- Asking the right interview questions
- Obtaining story approval
The good news is that you can learn all that in my new online course Case study Writing Expert.
This course has seven modules – the equivalent of a full day live workshop – in which I teach you everything you need to know about customer storytelling.
And the course is especially useful for freelance copywriters, because there are dedicated modules on finding customer story clients, on positioning yourself as a case study writing expert and on making a nice steady income on case studies.
I have more than 15 years of customer story writing under my belt, both as an in-house copywriter and as a freelance copywriter. And I learned a few things along the way that have made my case study writing process a lot more efficient today.
Luckily, you don’t need 15 years to learn all of this. You can do it in the seven modules of my online course called Case study Writing Expert.