Since landing my role as a PR and Communications Executive within the Marketing Team, I have been looking into the glorious world of case studies. Over the past few months I have been getting stuck into case studies and trying to get my head around the process that was originally in place. Recently I have been focussing my time on refining and developing a process which ensures all relevant parties within the business are involved to provide greater benefits to both ourselves as an organisation and of course the customer.
What is a case study?
Case studies are a wonderful way for a supplier to work with a customer to build out the story of a project they have recently worked on – highlighting many areas such as business benefits and the solution to the customer’s original challenge.
What is the purpose of case studies?
Case studies provide an opportunity to showcase an organisations products and services. It provides great credibility and opens up new areas for future work, partnerships and relationships. It also provides huge benefits to the customer, showcasing their own story and how they are digitally transforming as an organisation to provide better services to its customers.
What makes a good case study?
I’ve been spending my time doing a little bit of research about what makes a case study amazing and what it actually takes to build a great case study. Throughout my research it’s been very interesting to find that many places all suggest very similar things on how to make your own case studies outstanding. So, after collating my own ideas and researching others here are my top things you can do to ensure you’re producing a case study to its full potential.
Tell the story
Make sure to tell the story from start to finish. To produce a wonderful case study, you want to include where an organisation has come from and what doors they have opened due to a project.
Here’s a few things to remember:
- Talk about the customer, who they are and what their goals are
- What are the customer’s business requirements? What are their needs?
- What challenges was the customer facing?
- How do you surmount the challenges? What solution / service / product did you provide to overcome the problems?
- How did it meet the business requirements?
- The benefits the customer now have or will see in the future
What does it entail to tell a story?
- About the customer
- The challenge
- Business requirements
- The solution
- Partnership between supplier and customer
- Call to action
Don’t forget the stats and facts
Even though reading a well-built case study with all the relevant information on is great, people really want to see proof. If you can, try to show some statistics which really highlights any changes that have happened in the organisation. The audience want to see the difference a solution has made. This doesn’t have to be shown as numbers and figures:
- Infographic style
Easy to read
I’ve been there myself in the past – building a case study about a huge wonderful project ensuring I showcase every detail. I learnt that even though the content I’m writing might be interesting and it might be insightful, it isn’t always right for a case study. People want to understand a project fast, they want to know the challenges, how it was solved and the huge benefits that were made. Here are a few things you can do to make your case study easy to read:
- Include headings, subheadings
- Keep it short and sweet, use bulleted lists
- Don’t forget about using bold and italics throughout the document – it helps showcase the main points
- Use images where you can
Experiment with formats
Telling a story doesn’t always have to be in a written word document, or multiple pages on a PDF. Consider what your target audience is looking for and the factors that may affect them sitting down to read your usual case study format. Why not try:
- YouTube videos
- One pager
Sell your service
When telling a story, you want to make sure that you don’t skim past any important sections. The solution is always a very interesting topic for the public to read, whether they are from a technical background or not.
- Showcase what the solution did for the organisation
- What else can it do
- Further benefits that can be made from that solution
- What was the process with the engagement
Keep on promoting
Old or new case study – promote it. Social media is absolutely huge at the moment, and on Facebook alone almost half the world’s population are currently active on this channel (and that’s just Facebook). As a growing business, using social media is such a powerful way to promote your service or products. You can push a message out to the public and gain a huge reach to new potential customers, partners and more. Here’s a few social channels to try and promote on:
Get the rest of your business involved. Make sure you have others in your organisation onboard with social media, sharing any content to gain an even bigger reach and opening more doors.
If you were a potential customer and went onto your own website as a new user – would you be able to find a case study quick and easy?
- Make sure your case study is easy to access/find
- Visible on your website
Revisit your case studies
Case studies can go out of date quite quickly, but it doesn’t ever mean that the information was wrong? Make sure you go back to your customer after publishing the case study whether that be in a few months, a year, two years maybe even five. Reach out to the customer and get an update on where the organisation is now and how the solution has helped them with long term benefits and the business transformation.
- Bring the story back to life
- Keep it in the latest format
- Updated imagery
- More benefits and outcomes