Six steps for writing a case study
Are you good at what you do? Do you have lots of happy customers? Perhaps you should write a case study.
As a freelance writer, I am often asked to write case studies as part of my clients’ content strategies. Case studies are powerful. While many other forms of marketing will trumpet how great you are, case studies describe real-life scenarios that demonstrate why.
In this post I will explain why case studies are so effective and what they should include.
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People remember case studies
In essence, a case study is a story and we all love stories. In fact, stories have been used as a means of sharing ideas ever since the first cave paintings.
A story provides context and enables us to imagine ourselves in a particular situation. It also helps us retain information and studies have shown that if you load people with facts and figures they’ll probably only remember 5 to 10%. Tell them a story, however, and 65 to 70% of the information will stick.
Case studies are great sales tools
Case studies are wonderful for explaining how you can help your clients in real-life situations. Ideally you should describe scenarios that your prospects can closely relate to so that they think,”That sounds like me. I should give these guys a call.”
Their uses are endless: your sales people can use them on calls, you can email them to clients, they can be included in newsletters or you can post them on your website for download (a great way to capture information).
So, now that I’ve explained some of the benefits, here are six steps for writing a case study:
1: A case study should read like a story
Take the reader on a journey. Start by describing a problem and how it affected your client. Get your reader to feel the pain and imagine themselves in the same situation.
2: Explain the challenges
Every good story needs drama, so outline the challenges you faced along the way. Maybe there was resistance from some of your client’s employees, or perhaps there were risks you needed to mitigate.
3: The solution
This is where you explain the solution provided. Outline the benefits and features and why you felt your solution was the best option.
4: Include testimonials
Testimonials from the happy client are essential and make the case study that much more authentic. Don’t limit yourself to just one. Include client statements explaining the initial problem, the challenges as well as the happy ending.
5: Describe the result
This is where you describe the happy ending. Here you can include statistics, graphs — anything that illustrates the benefits achieved.
6: Call to action
Though case studies are certainly not about hard sell, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a call to action. At the end, make sure you ask the reader to contact you if they too want to enjoy the same benefits.