Case Study: How I Helped My Client Earn 10K in Ad Revenue With One Document.


Ever had a vision in your head of how something would turn out, then end up with less than ideal results?

So had my client.

When starting out in business this can feel like the norm as you vainly attempt to do everything yourself. I’ve certainly been there, and I’m sure you have too. 

But when you reach the point where you’ve done the testing and you know your idea has legs, it’s time to invest in bringing your full vision to life. 

Let’s take a deep dive into how I helped my client, Chris Cloney design the Combustible Dust Incident Report and make more than $10,000 in ad revenue.

Meet The Client

Chris is Managing Director and Lead Researcher at Dust Safety Science. They have a world-wide focus on increasing awareness of combustible dust hazards and reducing personal and financial loss from fire and explosion incidents.

Company Background

Dust Safety Science began as part of a research project. Author, Chris Cloney gathered info and blogged about dust explosion incidents around the world. Providing the only resource for international dust explosion data in the world. 

Twice a year he gathered the explosion data together in an industry report. Highlighting industries where incidents are heavy, where regulations are lacking, and best practices for improving safety. 

The goal: to drive awareness, knowledge, connection, and change around the safe handling of combustible dust. And ultimately reach a year with zero fatalities worldwide.

The Challenges


Chris had created two reports himself before coming to me to get help with the design. 

The report was funded by selling ad space. In the most recent issue, he’d sold 4 ads bringing in revenue in the low 4-figures. He knew this wasn’t enough to sustain and grow his business. 


In order to get buy-in from the top industry providers, Chris needed a report that was equal parts professional, scientific, easy to digest, and visually appealing. And he knew his own design skills weren’t going to take him where he wanted to be. 


Designing the report was taking Chris 3 full weeks. This was just the time he was spending on design. It didn’t include all the time spent on content creation and sponsorship dealings. He had even more valuable content to share with his audience but didn’t have time to include it. 

Which is what led him to working with me.

It was time-consuming doing it myself. It took about 3 weeks designing it in Canva. So it just made good sense timewise to outsource the design.

The Process


As with all clients, Chris and I started with some discovery work. This was a short meeting where we established the basics of what he was looking for and that we were a good fit. 


First, Chris completed an in-depth questionnaire about his business. While he was filling out his questionnaire, I spent time researching how he was showing up online. 

I combed through getting a feel for the brand and the content being created. Then I reviewed their social media profiles and researched their member companies.

Next we hopped on a call to solidify the foundational elements of the report design. 

During our call, we went over the business discovery questionnaire and Chris walked me through previous reports. We dug into what was working, what wasn’t and where we could make improvements. 

The key elements we established were:

  • To help improve ad sales, it was important for advertisers to see the new report format before they made their buying decision. (we dubbed this the Advertisers Report)
  • In addition to the Advertisers Report we also made the decision to create a spec sheet. This would be a one page PDF showing the advertising options and their costs. 
  • Previous reports were lacking brand consistency. We committed to a colour scheme and typography style that complemented the Dust Safety Science logo and lent itself to the modern and analytical feel we wanted to project. 

With the research complete, it was time to move onto the design.


Starting with the cover, I spent time sketching layout ideas for each section of the report. 

Then I moved over to InDesign to start laying the groundwork for the report. A couple of cover concepts were sent to the client for review. We settled on one with a few minor changes.

During our initial meeting, the client shared that it was important for the Advertisers Report to showcase the design, while also clearly showing that the current data was incomplete. We wanted something more appealing than a line through each page saying draft. So for the Advertisers Report, we used grayed out placeholder content to achieve the desired effect.

I presented a draft page for the three main sections of the report to get feedback on the design direction. The feedback was very positive and I was given the green light to proceed.


The Results


The final report was a hit! 

We created a report that was equal parts professional, modern, easy to consume, and visually appealing. A well laid out Advertisers Report saved Chris a ton of time by making it easier for potential advertisers to see the reports value and advertising options. This made getting to yes so much quicker! 

Chris sold a whopping 15 ad placements. With this one report he increased his ad revenue to more than $10,000. This was a 185% revenue increase. And he saw a dramatic decrease in the time spent emailing back and forth with potential buyers. I call that a win-win situation! 

“First off, I wanted to say that the advertisers really liked the draft report and cut sheet. They helped cut down on the back and forth emails by half the time. It helped elevate the publication to a more professional level, and I was able to bring on even more sponsors!”


Working in a scientific field, it was important for the data to shine. The ability for it to be visually pleasing without detracting from the numbers is something Chris still receives compliments on to this day. The data representation has been of huge value to Chris and his audience.

“The ability for the data to be visually pleasing and still focused on the numbers is of huge value to myself and my audience.”


With the design being taken care of, Chris was able to focus on the content. He’d been wanting to beef up the content for a while and had several ideas on how he could do that. Outsourcing the design allowed him to include several pieces of content that added even more value for his readers. 

“I was able to rely on Stacy for the design and visual representation of the report, which allowed me to focus on the content. The extra time allowed me to add some pieces I’ve been wanting to add for awhile, but just couldn’t squeeze into my schedule.” 

What’s Happening Now.

In addition to his success in 2018, Chris has continued to see success with his bi-annual report.

  • He’s turned his report into more of a magazine-style piece of content. Highlighting high-profile explosion incidents, interviewing industry experts, and sharing new safety technologies. 
  • The report has become one of the most sought after advertising mediums in his industry. He has a waitlist of companies who are dying to get in front of his audience. 

Used the income generated from the report to launch the Digital Dust Safety Conference and The Dust Safety Academy. Platforms that allow him to amplify awareness, knowledge, connection, and change around the safe handling of combustible dust.

Of course, Chris was thrilled with the results and we’ve since worked on several more projects together. 

So, if you find yourself staring at your latest report or printed asset and realize you’re NOT showing up the way you want — let’s connect and get your project scheduled.