How to Choose and Construct a Killer Case Study
Storytelling is the natural but often overlooked element in corporate website copy. From childhood, we are fascinated and drawn in by stories, and our human condition naturally responds to and remembers stories better than mere facts. There are recognizable patterns to stories, they involve positive and negative forces at play, and of course there are conclusions, whether satisfying or frustrating. Storytelling is the natural way for humans to convey complex structures, share ideas, and find meaning in situations around us.
Why does this matter for your business? Because your organization, and the people within it, have stories to tell. These stories not only make up the fabric and history of your organization, they give a glimpse into your company’s personality that will be more readable and more memorable to anyone visiting your website.
The easiest way to begin implementing storytelling into your website is through Case Studies.
These are the medium-length stories that go beyond testimonials and buzzwords, showing real examples of how your company works. In a recent study of buyers of B2B products and services, case studies were cited as the most sought-after type of content among those making purchasing decisions.
Case Studies are incredibly useful to your audience because they provide:
- Social Proof of Your Competence
- Specific, Real Life Problems that You’ve Faced
- Evidence of Your Breadth of Problem-solving
- A Personality to Your Company and a Way to Bring Your Staff to Life
- More Authenticity Than Most Mission Statements and Overly-used Phrases
What makes a good case study?
Choosing the right topics for your Case Studies is key. Ask yourself and your team the following questions to brainstorm and pull out the best stories. Start with many possibilities, and then choose 3-10 that balance each other and show off your strengths.
- Think of cases when a customer presented you with an unusual, unprecedented, or new type of challenge.
- Were you able to address the needs of the customer, surpass expectations, and/or surprise the customer (or yourselves)?
- When did you show innovation, foresight, problem-solving, or great teamwork? Or other attributes you want to illustrate?
- When were you an industry leader? Do something new? Try something different?
- Did you solve a problem for a customer when no one else could?
- Did the customer sing your praises?
How do you construct a case study?
Writing your case study well, and getting that story told effectively, is just as important as choosing the right topic. Make sure you are clear on your brand’s voice and how you want to be perceived (i.e., thought-leaders, timeless and classy, clever and sassy, formal and no-nonsense, etc.). Use a professional copywriter and get your case study out there! Follow these 4 steps to build out your case study.
- Present the challenge
- What is the context? What is the industry or nature of the customer?
- What was the singular problem in the situation?
- Why was this challenging?
- How did you respond?
- What specific steps did you take to solve the problem and find a solution?
- Who got involved?
- What are you proud of?
- What secondary challenges came up or had to be solved through the process?
- It may be helpful to draw this out, and later edit it down if needed. Don’t be afraid of boasting a bit here!
- What about this story makes it special?
- What made you think of this case in particular?
- Conclude with how can this story or these attributes can be extrapolated to other customers.
Here are some examples of Case Studies that show different approaches to the practice.
Case studies vary in length, they can highlight a product or internal processes, and they can serve as a platform to highlight your work as well as your client’s products:
- Shake, Rattle and Robot: Unity Precision Manufacturing’s robotic equipment
- Pandora Opens the Box on Data for Improved Revenue and Relationships
- Brewing a Strategic Partnership
The art of corporate storytelling is one that offers potential and current clients unique insights into how you approach problem solving as an organization. Implementing case studies into your content library will help convert prospects into customers by showcasing your creativity, ability to adapt, and willingness to go the extra mile for your clients.