What’s Involved in Writing a Good Case Study?
Writing a good case study goes beyond just a simple testimonial. They showcase how a real-life customer used your product or service to solve a genuine problem. They highlight how you helped them accomplish their goal.
A good case study is written with your potential customer in mind as the audience. The main objective is to show that you’ve helped others with similar problems, and you can help them, too. One saying often thrown around in writing is “Show, don’t tell.” A case study shows your audience what your company can do.
Writing a good case study involves including key components that will resonate with your audience. Below are a few basic steps to consider.
8 Steps to Writing a Good Case Study
Consider Your Audience — What type of customer are you going after? The subject of the case study should be someone that they can relate to. If not, they won’t draw the connection that you want them to make. When the subject matter is about someone in your target market, potential customers are more likely to identify with the subject, and walk away ready to take action.
Do Thorough Research — Case studies require accurate and specific data. You can go through an interview process with the subject, or you can ask them to fill out a form. Remember, at that point, they are going above and beyond for you. It helps to be flexible and go with a process that meets their comfort level. It may help to remind them that participating in the case study can increase brand awareness and offer additional publicity.
Make it Easy to Digest — It’s critical to provide something that your audience can identify with. If you are in a complex field, this means talking to your reader in terms they can understand. Your case study, just like your other marketing materials, shouldn’t sound like the engineering department wrote it.
It’s also important to make it more scannable for people looking for fast solutions. Here are some suggestions:
- Provide subheads to break up long sections of text. These can be inserted naturally wherever there is a transition in the copy.
- Images make the document more visually friendly.
- Bulleted lists highlight the most important subject matter in an easy-to-read fashion.
- Bolded text and pull quotes can be used to highlight important concepts and points.
Your reader may be interested in one important aspect of your case study. Using the strategies above can help them to locate exactly what they’re looking for.
Provide a Complete Picture — The problem that your subject in the case study faces needs to feel real. It needs to be something that a reader can identify with. The reader needs to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the subject and understand what their objectives were, and how you helped them to meet their needs.
One benefit of the internet is that a case study can become a living document. Once their needs are met, you can follow up with them periodically to see how your products and services are still working.
Use Specific Data — There’s a difference between “Doubled sales” and went from $80,000 in income to $160,000. Going from $500 to $1,000 is also doubling sales, but it may not be the strongest result. When you specify, you are painting a clear picture — something that your reader will benefit from.
This specificity can help build trust in your brand and give your reader a precise idea of how you can help.
Talk About Your Process — What solution did you decide on and why? Were there other solutions that could have been applied? Get specific with exactly what you did to achieve results. That way your potential customers gain a more precise understanding of how you can help them.
One common objection to this point is that you might be giving away your secrets. A case study should demonstrate your industry expertise, in order to build trust. Think about a blog post from a plumber on how to fix a leaky faucet. Most homeowners (myself included) would be on the phone with that plumber by step 2.
He may have given away a bit of industry knowledge to write that post, but he’s the one who’s able to execute on it the best. And who do you think that reader is going to call when they determine it’s beyond their pay grade?
Repurpose the Content — Some of your audience may be readers. Others may want the same information through podcast or video. The good news is once you’ve created a written case study, the same information can be repurposed to fit other content formats. This will help make sure that you’re reaching your entire audience.
Make it Accessible — Writing a good case study means that you’ll have valuable content for your audience to make a purchasing decision. Those case studies can be placed prominently on your website in order to achieve maximum visibility. Once you have a completed case study in hand, you can also share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms. If you are involved in social media groups, make sure to share them there, too.
Hire a Case Study Copywriter
Writing a good case study takes work. It’s a process that may need to be refined and worked through over time. If it is more than you are able to take on at the moment, hiring a professional case study copywriter may be the right choice. Hiring this task out has the benefit of allowing you to focus on more core aspects of running your business.
If you are ready to showcase some of your successes for potential customers, contact me today!