Why Write a Case Study?
Case studies are strong B2B content marketing pieces that can help your business in several ways, including:
- Seal the deal with clients late in the sales cycles.
- Reel in prospects that are still on the fence and lurking on your website.
- Provide proof that your product or service works.
- Teach prospects how to use your product or best take advantage of your service.
- Strengthen your relationship with the client featured in the case study.
- Provide content for a series of blog posts.
How to Write a Case Study Like a Journalist
Outside of covering breaking news as it happens, much of what journalists do in their jobs is essentially writing case studies — explaining to readers what happened, why and how. For this and for many of the same reasons they’re good at writing white papers, journalists are good at writing case studies.
These five tips will teach you the basics of how to write a case study like a journalist:
Make your client the hero.
The best — and most effective — case studies aren’t the ones that focus on a business and brag about how great it is, they’re the ones that focus on a smart client that improved itself by making the decision to patronize that business. Give the hero a face by referencing real people who were involved in the work you did with the client rather than just referring to the client’s company name. Everyone loves a hero, and you want to make your reader feel like they could be that hero.
Create an interesting narrative.
A good case study has a plot and characters that readers can connect to. Your opener should be an introduction to the problem the client was facing, complete with information about how it was affecting specific people. Readers must understand the difficulty of the situation so later they can feel the satisfaction of the solution, and create an emotional connection to your company. You’re looking to tell a story, not simply document a dry list of facts.
Help your readers stand in your client’s shoes.
Journalists make stories more interesting by conveying how they are significant to everyone. When writing the case study, choose a client whose success story has general appeal and make sure readers can put themselves in your main characters’ shoes and easily recreate their successes.
Use plenty of quotes.
Don’t just tell your client’s story, let them help you tell it by using their exact words. Sit down with two or three of the key players in the project you worked on with the client and take notes on how they describe the experience. Explain to them that your aims are twofold – to make your company look good, and to make their company look good for hiring you. Offer to let them use the content for their own purposes when you’ve finished the case study.
Focus on accuracy.
Journalists know that credibility is everything, so make sure everything you write in your case study is accurate and verifiable. Don’t make anything up and don’t exaggerate. A good way to do this is to decide whether a project you are working on will be the subject of a case study from the start. Then, you can document the entire process start-to-finish and ensure you get it all right.