Savvy Speaks: Case Study Writing Best Practices

Savvy Speaks: Case Study Writing Best Practices
Savvy Sisters - Wed Jun 01, 2011 @ 12:33AM
Comments: 71

Whether you call it a case study, a success story, or something else, these little action-packed workhorses go a long way toward helping your buyers down the sales cycle. This week the Savvy Sisters share their best tips on making them more effective.

Heather

Heather

Consider Video

Like all B2B marketers I struggle to get the attention of busy decision makers and influencers.  I have found video case studies that can be segmented into "mini-testimonials" is a great way to be able to create on-demand content that can be inserted into newsletters, powerpoint presentations, tradeshow displays that make case studies more powerful than a bunch of text on a page.

If your organization still needs that two page double column width case study with the head shot of the customer you interviewed and the client logo along side yours the work you do creating the video can still fill that void as well.  You can lift quotes directly from the client and write up a traditional case study.

Wendy Thomas

Wendy

Give it value 

How often have we done something in our lives where we've wondered how the information will apply going forward (college algebra). A case study is only as good as the information and application it imparts.

Make sure that you not only use relevant information but write the story (and it must be a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end) in such a way that your audience will be able to say "Aha - you know, I could do something like this in my situation." 

Stephanie

Stephanie

Find the unique angle

Don't rely on a standard set of questions for every customer interview. If you do, all your case studies will sound alike (and probably be more product- than customer-focused).

Conduct your research: talk to the account manager, partner and whoever else knows the behind-the-scenes details and research the customer online to uncover an interesting slant. Then pull together a set of interview questions that helps you gather the details to support that story line.

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Jamie

Tell an actual story

Go beyond the data to deliver a story that the reader can really relate to. Get inside their heads so you can depict their worst nightmare (and how you solved it for client X) in language that will draw them into the drama of the project and your triumphant success. 

Think about your story arc - about the "hook" that will draw your readers in, the mounting tension as you describe the seemingly hopeless situation, and then the climactic resolution.

Bring "gritty reality" into your story with real world quotes from your client - not those stuffy, pre-scripted sound bytes, but emotional accounts of the problem, the process, and the euphoria of working with you to implement the solution. 

Craft your story the way you might craft an action-packed screenplay. Give it some life and your readers will get the full impact of how fabulous you are.

Kate

Kate

Help the reader see herself in the story

While you are telling a story about a specific success for a specific company, don't forget that the reader needs to be able to draw parallels to her own situation. Getting TOO specific about the nitty gritty details will cause most readers to tune out. Remember it's not a reference architecture or technical white paper, it's a tool to show how your product solves a particualr business problem. Focus on the problem and solution benefits, and leave the installation details to the imagination.


 

What are your best practices for case studies?

Share them here!

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