Write a killer case study: Top 10 tips

Case studies are stories describing how a customer’s business has benefitted from using a product (or service). They can be in the written, podcast (audio file), or video format.

Aside from in fact talking to potential customers, case studies are an immense method of showing off what you do well and getting your business noticed. They can be used on your website, newsletter, or brochures, but I want to focus on using written case studies for public or press relations (PR) because getting coverage in places like websites, magazines, and newspapers is an unbelievable way to produce leads and build brand awareness.

1. Ask yourself what point you want to make

Don’t try and tell the whole story of your work with the customer. Focus instead on one particular aspect of your service that you want to highlight – something other prospective clients can relate to and be impressed by. Think about why you’re using case studies.

2. Keep it short and snappy

Most users don’t want to read long case studies – they’ll look at the client name, see if it’s someone they respect or have at least heard of, and then read the quotes and/or final outcome. Edit your case studies down so that people can see the key points quickly.

3. Give the whole picture about what you offer

Use each case study to illustrate a different aspect if your service, a different USP. You may have great customer service, for instance, but having all your case studies making that same point is a waste of valuable content. Instead, focus each case study on a different aspect of what you’re good at, so that the more stories the user reads, the more complete the picture they get of what you offer.

4. Find the benefit

Edit out excessive detail that users without first-hand experience of the project are unlikely to care about. Focus on the highlights, especially the benefits and the client quote.

5. Come up with a repeatable structure

Develop a copy template or case study format, so that all your case studies are laid out in the same way, and the same bit of information is always in the same place. In this way, someone reading through all your case studies quickly learns how the structure works and begins to look for the key bit of information they care about.

6. Ask for a case study every time you finish a job

Whenever a job finishes satisfactorily, get into the habit of asking for a testimonial or case study. Be up-front about where and how you intend to use the content, and put in place a clear and transparent sign-off process.

7. Offer to do the work

Many clients are happy to provide a testimonial but struggle to find the time to do it. Save them a job – offer to draft something for their approval.

8. Make do with a quote if need be

Testimonial quotes on their own are a powerful endorsement of your work. A full case study is useful, but many people just read the quotes. So find a way to make the most of these in your marketing materials, too, and use them to boost your SEO copywriting. And don’t worry if your client just wants to do a quote rather than a full story.

9. Look for stats

Nothing is more powerful in a testimonial or case study – apart from a quote – than a statistic. Real data speaks volumes, so always look out for evidence of the ROI of your work. Did you help your client increase conversions? Boost sales? Reduce waste? Ideally, at the start of the project, you would have looked at such metrics as part of your planned success criteria.

10. Think about how your case studies interlink

If someone read Case study A on your site, which other case studies are likely to appeal to them? Use hyperlinks to connect them to other interesting stories.

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