The Art of the Case Study
It’s widely known that word of mouth and recommendations from peers are among the most powerful marketing tools in marketing. And for good reason: a compelling case study talks about your product from a customer’s perspective, which helps prospects create a vision of how your product can help them meet their objectives as well.
However, case studies can be challenging to write, particularly if you have busy customers with little time for interviews and approvals. That’s why it’s important to have a well-honed approach to case study development.
At Zer0 to 5ive, we’ve written hundreds of case studies over the years, and from that experience, we’re offering up 5 of our favorite writing tips that will help you make your next case study a work of art.
1. Tell a Story: Think about how you want your case study to flow. The best case studies tell an interesting story and have a clear structure: Challenge, Solution, Results. Develop your list of questions in advance so that you are clearly addressing each one of these categories. It is sometimes helpful to send the questions in advance to your case study subject so that he/she has time to formulate answers prior to your conversation.
2. Be Authentic: When you interview your case study subject, the discussion should be conversational. You want the story to be authentic and told from the customer’s point of view. This makes the details very important, so always extract and then utilize as many details as you can in order to make the story more compelling and believable. It’s important to take good notes so that you can record quotable statements to use throughout your case study as well.
3. Solve a Problem: While this seems obvious, it’s important that case studies provide a look into your customers’ specific challenges and how they solved them. Give as many points as you can on how your product or service impacted your customer’s business, including statistics, numbers and quotes from the client. When you can show measureable results, it increases the chances that the case study will elicit that “aha” moment to motivate a prospect to act, and either email you, call you or visit your website to learn more.
4. Make it Visual: Long blocks of copy will bore the reader. Make your case study more compelling by breaking up the copy and making it more visual. One simple way to do this is to use bulleted lists where possible. Whether on a web page or in print, it also helps to create a design template that highlights key story elements, such as call out boxes for important quotes or metrics. Use photos and video alongside the copy. If you have room, include a sidebar that summarizes the case study and immediately lets readers know if the piece is relevant to them.
5. Promote it: Once your case study is complete, you’ll want to promote it. If you’re going to be pitching it to the media, sharing it to key editors is the first step. Otherwise, you would begin by posting the case study on your website and linking to it from your Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to expand visibility. Also, encourage case study subjects to link to the case study from their site or promote using their social media channels. If you have a blog, write a blog that references the case study. Last but not least, be sure to send it to clients and prospects to illustrate the great work you’re doing.
Post by Jennifer Moritz
Zer0 to 5ive Principal