Everybody loves a story — and a case study tells a story. We are seeing a rise in the use of case studies for marketing for several reasons:
- case studies can be shorter than white papers and easier to read
- case studies are flexible so they can be a blog post or one of many formats
- case studies that include visual elements are attention-grabbers
- case studies of people “just like us” successfully using a product/service/process prove the value of that product/service/process for “us”
Case Study Guidelines
Your case study doesn’t have to be a scientific fact-finding mission unless you want it that way. It really is a story — a story of someone who is real and who has experience with what your business offers. The hero of the story is not your company, but your client.
Figure out who you want to reach, and find your hero in that demographic. Look for past customers or clients who might be willing to have their story told. Once you have their permission to tell their story, decide what the goals of your case study interview will be.
The classic “Who, What, Why, How, When” questions are a good start for your interview so the story can be revealed. Do some background research so you have more material, if you can. It is a good idea to do an interview in a format that allows easy interchange and full communication, like video chat, telephone, or in-person. Texting and email just don’t give the complete spontaneous interaction you need.
Case studies improve your credibility because they are testimonies of real people, not actors using a script.
Now that you have the facts, tell the story cohesively and edit ruthlessly. You want the reader to identify with the hero, understand how your product/service/process helped that hero be successful, and visualize how they can be a hero too.